Flooding and Rescues at National Parks in Southeast Utah
Contact: Diane Allen, (435) 719-2240
Heavy rains over the past seven days at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Hovenweep National Monument have saturated the ground and caused flash flooding, significant mud deposits and associated rescues and closures. The weather-related damage is expected to take weeks to months to repair.
Arches National Park
Heavy rain and flash flooding stranded 24 people and a 62 year old man with a broken ankle in separate incidents. On the evening of Friday Oct. 6th a 62 year old man who had broken his ankle at Double O Arch, two miles from the Devils Garden trailhead was transported by litter through heavy thunderstorms, with lightning, hail and wind, over rough terrain and washed out trails. During the initial response to that incident, an additional report was received of 20 adults and four children stranded on the far side of a 15 to 20 foot wide “river” that dissected the Delicate Arch trail near the trailhead. The stranded hikers were eventually ferried across the water by a large diesel truck, with assistance from a track-hoe. The incidents involved 18 NPS employees and volunteers, and 12 partner agency representatives.
Current Arches closures: Delicate Arch Road: (Wolfe Ranch Parking Lot, Delicate Arch trail, Delicate Arch View Point trail and parking lot, Cache Valley access road); Willow Springs Road to park boundary (impassable at Courthouse Wash); Salt Valley Road; 4-Wheel Drive Road. It is hoped that the Delicate Arch Road and re-routed trail will be re-opened on Wednesday Oct. 11th (weather-dependent).
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.