Zion National Park Completes Backcountry Management Plan
Contact: Ray O'Neil, 435-772-7823
Contact: Kezia Nielsen, 435-772-0211
Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced the completion of the park’s Backcountry Management Plan. This plan provides direction for the National Park Service to manage over 145,000 acres of backcountry within the park. The plan incorporates standards to measure the health of natural and cultural resources as well as visitor wilderness experience and creates a framework that allows the park to adjust use limits and other management actions as the condition of park resources change. The following are the highlights of the plan.
- Use limits will increase by 50% in many backcountry areas including the Left Fork of North Creek (the Subway).
- Use limits in areas with nesting Mexican spotted owls will vary by season with higher use limits allowed outside the nesting season.
- Use limits could increase in canyons, such as Spry Canyon, when efforts to curtail erosion have been successful.
- Use limit for through day hikes through the length of the Zion Narrows will be reduced from 80 to 40 people per day. The number of permitted overnight groups in the Narrows will remain at 12.
- Group size limits for remote canyoneering routes will be reduced to 6.
- Group size limits elsewhere in the backcountry will remain at 12.
- On-line permits will be available three days prior to the trip date.
- Campsites will be designated in the Coalpits Wash area.
- The popular alcove campsite in the Zion Narrows will be closed and relocated nearby to reduce flash flood danger.
Changes to use limits and the permit system went into effect on January 1, 2008. Please refer to the park webpage at www.nps.gov/zion for specific information concerning backcountry management, reservations and permits.