October 25, 2011
Ray O'Neal, 435-772-7823
Marc Neidig, 435-772-0164
Zion National Park is seeking public comment on the park's wilderness permitting procedures (formerly called backcountry permitting) and the demands placed on the public by the current
system. The park is exploring possible adjustments to the permitting procedures to improve visitor services and experiences. Public comments will be considered during the development of
an updated permitting plan scheduled for release by February 1, 2012.
Areas and activities within the park that require wilderness permits continue to grow in popularity. Wilderness permits are required for all overnight trips, as well as day trips into many of the park's slot canyons. As the demand for a limited number of wilderness permits has increased, so has the competition. Many visitors wait for hours or, in some cases, overnight to obtain wilderness permits for activities within Zion National Park. The current wilderness permitting system allows visitors to secure permits through a reservation system for roughly 75% of all areas. Reservations for permits in the most popular sections of the park are often booked two to three months in advance. The remaining permits are issued up to one day in advance on a first come-first served basis at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The demand for the first come-first served permits results in long lines and significant waits. The park is seeking to resolve these issues and improve operations.
The public is invited to provide comments through December 15, 2011. Please visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/zion to review the document and submit comments. Comments can also be mailed to Zion National Park, Zion Wilderness Permits, Springdale, UT 84767.
For additional information, please contact Ray O'Neil at 435-772-7823 or Annette Werderich at 435-772-7611.