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Springdale, UT- Zion National Park is hosting a series of public scoping meetings as part of a Visitor Use Management (VUM) planning process. Park managers are looking for ways to improve visitor experiences at Zion while protecting the park's fundamental resources and values.
Visitation to Zion National Park in 2010 was 2.68 million, rose to 3.66 million in 2015, and may exceed 4 million visitors for 2016. This increased visitation has resulted in over-capacity issues on park shuttle buses, on frontcountry trails, and at key destinations and facilities, particularly in the narrow Zion Canyon corridor.
"Park visitor capacity issues are not new to Zion National Park," says Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. "In 2000, the park implemented the current shuttle bus system to help protect park resources and to manage parking and traffic congestion issues in Zion Canyon. A variety of other site-specific measures have been implemented recently to help manage visitor use levels while protecting resources;however, park visitation continues to grow and peak periods are expanding. With increasingly concentrated use and overwhelmed facilities, we are concerned with health and safety issues;diminishing quality of visitor experiences;and associated impacts to soils, vegetation, water, wildlife habitat, soundscapes, and cultural resources."
In May, the park held a series of public listening sessions in local communities to gather observations and suggestions on issues related to park visitation. Those observations were used to develop possible management strategies that the park could potentially use to help balance visitor use and resource protection. Now, during the project scoping phase of the NPS planning process, again the public will be encouraged to comment on the Proposed Action and potential management strategies for the Zion VUM Plan. As the planning process continues, public input and strategies considered during scoping may be incorporated into alternatives that eventually will be included in the draft Zion VUM Plan. The draft Zion VUM Plan will then be presented for additional public review and comment in the future.
How to Get Involved
1.Participate in one of the upcoming open house events:
·Monday, October 24, 2016 5-7 pm(Pacific Time) University of Nevada, Las Vegas Student Union Building, Room 205, 4505 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV
·Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5-7 pm(Mountain Time) Hurricane Community Center, Meeting Room 107, 63 South 100 West, Hurricane, UT
·Wednesday, October 26, 201612-2 pm(Mountain Time) Zion Lodge Auditorium, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park, UT
·Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5-7 pm(Mountain Time) Canyon Community Center 126 Lion Blvd. Springdale, UT
·Thursday, October 27, 2016 5-7 pm(Mountain Time) Southern Utah University Sharwan Smith Student Center, Cedar Breaks Room 141, Cedar City, UTNote: Park in Lot A10 on 200 South, between 500 and 700 West
·Friday, October 28, 2016 5-7 pm(Mountain Time) Salt Lake City Marriott University Park Hotel Aspen Meeting Room –5th Floor, 480 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT
·Tuesday, November 1, 2016 5-7 pm (Mountain Time) Kanab City Library, Multipurpose Room, 374 North Main, Kanab, UT
2.Comment on the proposed action from October 23 to November 23, 2016.
During this period, the public is encouraged to comment on the Proposed Action and potential management strategies that are being considered and identify other potential strategies, issues or concerns you see should be addressed. Please keep in mind when you are commenting that your rationale or reasoning is the most valuable information we can receive, so please be specific.
You may submit your comments at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/
3.Join online webinar:
The National Park Service will also be hosting a webinar on Monday, October 31 from 12:00 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. (MDT). The live webinar will be open to the first 100 participants that register and will include a formal presentation describing the plan and possible management strategies followed by a question and answer session. Register for the webinar through the following web link:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.
Zion National Park thanks you for your interest in proactive visitor use planning and we look forward to receiving your comments.