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Contact: Aly Baltrus
Springdale, UT- Zion National Park will issue a Special Use Permit (SUP) to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to allow its participants to ride through the park on , in recognition of the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial anniversary. The Zion - Mount Carmel Highway and Tunnel in the park will be closed for a short period of time early in the morning to accommodate the cyclists with the least amount of disruption to park visitors.
This will be a one-time only event that will promote the NPS Centennial goal of connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. The Tour of Utah ride through the park is a unique opportunity for the NPS to connect with a large multi-national audience that follows this and other cycling events. Tour of Utah cyclists will not be racing through the park. They will be following a pace car as a cycling demonstration to highlight alternative transportation opportunities and promote exercise and outdoor recreation.
The NPS is approving this once-in-a-lifetime cycling demonstration event through its SUP process. A SUP authorizes activities that benefit an individual, group or organization, rather than the public at large; and requires written authorization and management controls to protect park resources and the public interest. The NPS’s decision to approve the request allowing the Tour of Utah as a cycling demonstration through the park does not provide blanket approval or consideration for future permit requests, as this event is associated with the NPS Centennial only.
The park worked closely with the Tour of Utah on anticipated permit conditions to eliminate or substantially reduce potential environmental impacts, safety concerns and effects on visitor use. For example:
▪ Proposed use of a helicopter for filming was eliminated to protect nesting activity and habitat for federally threatened and endangered animals, as well as protect NPS and wilderness values.
▪ Event start time has been set for early morning, when visitation is historically low and roadway closures would have the least effect on visitor access to the park.
▪ For safety and to protect park resources, event staging areas are not permitted inside the park as these would be unsuitable along the steep and curving roadway.
Duration of the demonstration ride within the park from the South Entrance to the East Entrance is expected to be less than one hour beginning in the hour on the morning of . Race spectator and staging areas will not be allowed in the park, due to safety concerns with managing traffic, cyclists and pedestrians given the nature of the steep and sharply curving roadway and tunnels in the park. Spectators are welcome at Zion Canyon Village for the race start and east of the park along State Route 9 between the park’s East Entrance and soundscape. Carmel Junction.