October 23, 2014
Therese Picard, 435-772-0852
Springdale Utah- With the fall colors starting to spread down from the plateaus at Zion National Park, more and more photographers and commercial photography guiding companies also descend on the park. The staff at Zion would like to remind guiding companies that they need a Commercial Use Authorization to lead groups into the park and that under no circumstances can commercial businesses lead groups into the park's Wilderness.
Last year, The Lough Road, Inc. was issued a citation for engaging in a business operation in Zion National Park without a permit. The company paid a $500 fine for illegal guiding in the park and may be denied a Commercial Use Authorization in the future.
Rangers initiated an investigation after receiving a tip about a potential permit violation by The Lough Road, Inc. in 2012. In October 2013, Rodney Lough, an employee of the company The Lough Road, Inc., was contacted by law enforcement rangers as he was bringing a group of photography students on an advertised and scheduled hike into the popular wilderness canyon route "The Subway."
Mr. Lough initially denied that he was operating in a commercial capacity and insisted that he was traveling with friends. The investigation revealed that the participants had either received the workshop as a gift or had paid for the trip including instruction and hikes into Zion National Park. "The Subway" is located within the Zion Wilderness. Commercial guiding and other business operations in wilderness are prohibited by federal law. 84% of Zion National Park is designated wilderness. Certain commercial activities, including photography workshops, are permitted in some areas of the park that are not designated as wilderness, but all commercial activities require a Commercial Use Authorization from Zion National Park. Information about Commercial Use Authorizations can be found on the Zion National Park website at https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/permits.htm.
"The red rocks mixed with the fall colors are gorgeous here in Zion and we want people to come out and enjoy them," said Chief Ranger Cindy Purcell, "If people are paying for a guided service or a class in the park, they should ask if the company has a permit to conduct business in the park. Businesses that use the park for commercial gain are required to follow strict regulations and preservation ethics and we encourage honest and legitimate business operations."