Superintendent's Directive N1 Pack and Saddle Stock Use

March 20, 1995


To: All Employees, Southeast Utah Group
From: Superintendent, Southeast Utah Group
Subject: Pack and Saddle Stock Use, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Pack and saddle stock use is considered a valid means of viewing and experiencing Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. "Pack and saddle stock," as designated by the Superintendent, includes horses, burros or mules.

Park management must protect the resources and, at the same time, provide for their use and enjoyment. Due to the possibility of disease transmission from livestock to native animals, especially desert bighorn sheep, certain restrictions are presently considered necessary but are subject to change as specific problems or solutions arise.

Pack and saddle stock use in any part of the parks may be prohibited when, at the discretion of the Superintendent, such action is necessary to protect park values or visitors. Any such closure will be published and posted. The availability of water is a limiting factor in the use of pack and saddle animals; therefore, all users should contact the parks prior to arriving in order to determine current conditions and any possible policy changes.

Conditions applying to pack and saddle stock use are separated by park and enclosed as part of this directive.

/s/ Walter D. Dabney



  1. Pack and saddle stock include horses, burros or mules.
  2. All pack and saddle stock users must obtain a backcountry use permit, either for day use or camping. Day use permits are unlimited and free of charge, except in Salt Creek, Horse Canyon and Lavender Canyon in the Needles District. In these areas of limited day use, and for all overnight stays in the backcountry, permits are available through the reservation system, and there is a fee associated.
  3. Group sizes are limited to 10 people and 10 animals for day use, except in the following areas. In Salt Creek, Horse Canyon and Lavender Canyon, day use is limited to seven (7) animals per day.
  4. Group size for overnight use is seven (7) people and 10 animals in the Needles and Island in the Sky Districts, and five (5) people and eight (8) animals in the Maze District.
  5. Day use of pack and saddle stock is allowed on all backcountry roads.
  6. Overnight use by pack and saddle stock is allowed at all backcountry vehicle campsites. If sanitation or safety problems develop, this policy may be modified.
  7. At-large camping with pack and saddle stock is not permitted.
  8. Cross country travel is not permitted.
  9. All pack and saddle stock are required to be fed pelletized feed for 48 hours in advance of and for the duration of the trip to prevent the spread of exotic plant species. Park vegetation may not be consumed.
  10. All manure and feed must be removed from the campsite and packed out.
  11. Pack and saddle stock animals may not be left unattended. They must be staked away from water sources (at least 300 feet) and away from vegetation where possible, and may not be unstaked and hobbled.
  12. Commercial use of pack and saddle stock is not allowed.
  13. The west side hiking trail in Horseshoe Canyon (Maze District) is open to pack and saddle stock day use. A backcountry use permit is required. The maximum group size is 10 animals per party. Pack and saddle stock must remain in the wash and are limited to the area from the bottom of the road and foot trail, to one-half mile south of the Great Gallery. Upstream from there, where the wash bottom is impassable in places, pack and saddle stock users will be permitted to travel on the foot trail. To reduce the potential for damage from dust and silica particles, pack and saddle stock may not approach the rock art. Hitching posts will be provided at locations that allow visitors access to viewing the rock art. If pack and saddle stock use increases to the point of threatening the rock art or creating safety problems, this activity will be curtailed in the canyon.
  14. Accidents resulting in personal injury which occur in the parks must be reported to a park ranger as soon as possible.

Last updated: December 1, 2017

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