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Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
The final phase of the waste removal project at Scouts Lookout in Zion National Park has been rescheduled due to predicted weather conditions. The original plan was to remove the waste barrels on Thursday, September 22, but the project will be rescheduled for Tuesday, September 27.
On Monday, September 19, the park began the first phase of the annual waste removal project by flying empty barrels up to the Scouts Lookout composting toilets using a contracted helicopter. These barrels will be filled and flown back down to the Big Bend turnout on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive on Tuesday, September 27. During this time, the park will temporarily close access to Scouts Lookout and Angels Landing between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Flaggers will be stationed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.for periodic closures. All traffic should expect delays. Hikers expecting to do Scouts Lookout and Angels Landing should plan an alternative activity during these times.
The waste removal from Scouts Lookout is a regularly scheduled operation. Loading and hauling the waste away requires use of a helicopter. Due to the helicopter presence, greater safety precautions will be taken in the form of trail and road closures to protect visitors and staff. The helicopter will haul between 10 and 15 barrels each day. Each barrel weighs approximately 500 pounds when full.
The work, fondly referred to by park staff as the heli-poo operation, reveals a growing challenge to park management. Two evaporative toilets located at Scouts Lookout were installed and designed to see use rates of 50 people per day. The toilets are now overused with use rates closer to 400 people per day. To help the park address this problem, visitors are asked use the restrooms located at the Grotto parking and shuttle stop area before they start hiking up to Scout Lookout.