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101

Freitag, 18. Oktober 2019, 20:03

Lower Emerald Pool Trail Closing for Trail Repairs

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Zion National Park will be closing Lower Emerald Pool Trail Monday through Thursday and reopen Friday through Sunday for the next few weeks starting Monday, October 21, 2019. A full closure for major trail repairs will commence on Lower Emerald Pool Trail in November lasting until spring 2020 and will remain closed during the upcoming holiday season.
Middle Emerald Pool Trail is situated above Lower Emerald Pool Trail and will connect hikers to the Sand Bench Trail and Upper Emerald Pool Trail when reopened. This moderate trail has been closed since January 2011. The work on Middle and Lower Emerald Pools Trails are not connected to recent rockslides in the park.
Upper Emerald Pool Trail will remain accessible from the Kayenta Trail which begins from Shuttle Stop 6, The Grotto.
We appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation as we continue to work on reopening trails damaged by landslides and precipitation events.

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102

Sonntag, 27. Oktober 2019, 22:36

Zion National Park officials making progress in assessing stability of area damaged by rockfall

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Zion National Park officials are making progress in assessing the stability of an area damaged by a large rockfall earlier this summer.
“A large rockfall occurred on the East Rim Trail on Aug. 24,” said a Facebook post from the park Sunday. “These photos are of the Weeping Rock Trail, which was also damaged by the debris flow. The source of the rockfall was a location on Cable Mountain, high above the trail.
“As the large chunks of Navajo sandstone tumbled down and broke apart, they created a wind gust that knocked down trees and branches. The rocks and sand ended up covering a large part of the Weeping Rock Trail.”
Now, two months later, with the help of state geologists, the park is making progress assessing the stability of this area, the post said.
“This is necessary before work to clear and repair the trail can begin,” the post said. “We still don’t know what we may find under the debris. Perhaps the trail will be unscathed or perhaps it will require significant repairs.”
The post added: “The size and scope of this event means that we shouldn’t expect these trails to open in the near future. We may not know how long to expect this area to be closed, but you can always check the current conditions on our website.”
Currently, the Weeping Rock shuttle stop and all trails that start there are closed, including Observation Point, Hidden Canyon, and Weeping Rock Trails.
Park officials said they will update the website as well as social media as more information is received.

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103

Dienstag, 5. November 2019, 21:14

How to celebrate Zion National Park’s 100th birthday

Nov. 19 marks a “century of sanctuary” for this beloved park known for its natural wonders

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On Nov. 19, people will have been flocking from far and wide to see the high plateaus, soaring sandstone cliffs, desert wilderness and slot canyons in Zion National Park for 100 years.

And now, it is time to celebrate.
In the 1860s, Latter-day Saint settlers began to populate the area, calling it “Zion,” a biblical term meaning “a place of peace and refuge or sanctuary.”
“To them, Zion meant a place of safety, a place of sanctuary, and Zion is truly a sanctuary,” Mike Large, a park ranger at Zion, said in an interview with the Deseret News. “It’s a sanctuary for geology, for wildlife, for human history; it’s a sanctuary for people seeking to get away from the outside world and find a nice, quiet place.”
The park became Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909 after the Paiute word for “straight canyon,” and in 1919, the area officially became Zion National Park.
Since then, Zion has become the fourth-most visited national park in America with over 4 million American and foreign visitors a year. With these growing numbers, Zion and its partners strive to preserve its natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.
“With our historic visitation this last year, we’ve seen an increase in trash and human waste and graffiti,” Large said, “so it is becoming increasingly more on the public to help us kind of keep an eye on those things and protect the resource.”
Zion Forever, the park’s official nonprofit partner, is continuing its “We the Keepers” centennial campaign and celebration as part of this ongoing preservation effort with the public.
In August, music icon Sting collaborated with the Utah Symphony in a benefit concert, which was “an extraordinary way to celebrate Zion National Park’s centennial anniversary and bring attention to preserving the park for generations to come,” according to a press release from Lyman Hafen, executive director for Zion Forever Project.
Hafen also emphasized the importance of volunteers, who he called the “lifeblood,” who maintain the projects and programs that have kept the park alive for the last 100 years and will hopefully do the same for the next 100.
In the same vein of awareness and conservation, Zion Forever, in collaboration with officials at Zion National Park and Draper producer Local Studio, is releasing a new film to be shown at the park. The film will replace its current decades-old visitors center film.
The new 23-minute film, which will premiere at a centennial event on Nov. 19 at Dixie State University, will “better meet the needs of today’s visitors by emphasizing conservation and telling the story of Zion through the eyes of its people,” according to St. George News.
Later, an extended, 50-minute version of the film will be available for purchase at the park bookstore, which will include even more dazzling footage and compelling stories from Zion.
Rather than orienting visitors to the park as the current film does, the newest production will reflect a more interactive, dynamic vision of Zion and its future. It includes the stories of 10 people who give a voice to the often-overlooked human history that contributes to the enduring legacy of the park.
The geological aspect of the film even transforms water into an equally important character in telling the park’s story.
“We hope this film will be inspiring and help connect people on a deeper level to the resources protected by the park,” Amy Baltrus, park spokeswoman, said to St. George News.
This inspiration and connection, park officials hope, will encourage a sense of stewardship in visitors to the park, which is so vital in the effort to preserve it, according to St. George News. Film information and tickets can be found online at Dixie State University’s ticket office.
Among the exciting events at Zion National Park this year was the birth of the 1,000th condor chick in the park since the California Condor Reintroduction Program was implemented in 1992.
Local artists are also expressing their love for the park through the Zion Forever Project Centennial Celebration of Art. Eleven selected plein air artists will be doing public painting demonstrations in the park during the week of Nov. 5.
Additionally, the artists have submitted artwork for an online and physical exhibit and sale, which features the natural wonders of Zion through art. Dates and information about this event can be found at zionpark.org.
The museum curation staff at Zion also put on an exhibit called “Keepers of Sanctuary,” which started in May and will run through Dec. 1. The exhibit “pays tribute to the park’s history and changes over the last century,” according to the exhibit website.
The website also includes a slideshow and photo gallery of historic photographs of old park programs, the clothes rangers and visitors wore, 1930s and 1940s era cars in the park and more.
Finally, Zion’s birthday celebrations will continue with “America’s Wonders in 3D With the Utah Symphony” which will take place at Abravanel Hall on Nov. 19. The show will present various wonders of the American landscape, including Zion National Park, in “cutting-edge LED 3D” with accompanying pieces like Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” and “Shenandoah.” Tickets and event information can be found at utahsymphony.org.

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104

Sonntag, 17. November 2019, 19:33

Angels Landing Closed due to Rockfall

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he park received reports of a rockfall late Saturday afternoon, November 16, on the chains section of the Angels Landing Trail. No one was injured or trapped. As a precaution, park officials closed the entirety of the trail, from Scout Lookout to Angels Landing.
The trail will be assessed by Zion National Park’s trail crew on Sunday morning to determine what impacts the rockfall had on the trail and what steps need to be taken to reopen Angels Landing. The park urges visitors to comply with the closure to ensure their safety and to allow park officials to focus on the assessment and repairs.

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105

Freitag, 6. Dezember 2019, 22:03

Proposed RV Park Outside Zion National Park Rejected

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Officials in southern Utah have rejected a proposal to build an RV park, hotel and gas station near the northwest entrance to Zion National Park. The Spectrum newspaper in St. George reports that Washington County commissioners unanimously voted down the proposal Tuesday despite a earlier approval from a planning commission. A company called Juniper Investors was asking the commission to rezone land near the town of New Harmony off Interstate 15. Zion's chief ranger says the park opposed the project because it worried the development would affect views from the canyon and overwhelm the limited staff that work the entrance. Juniper Investors declined to comment after the vote.

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106

Freitag, 20. Dezember 2019, 18:24

Collaboration Brings Lasting Protection To Zion Narrows Trail

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A collaboration between state, federal, and local officials, along with private landowners and the National Park Foundation, has gained permanent protection for the entire 16-mile-long Zion Narrows Trail that winds through a deep slot canyon in Zion National Park.
The news was announced by the Trust for Public Land, which long has worked to protect lands in and around the red-rock jewel of the National Park System. Joining with the Trust to achieve protection of the entire trail were the State of Utah, Washington (Utah) County, U.S. Forest Service, private landowners, the National Park Foundation, and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
Known for its slot canyons and towering walls that are 1,000 feet tall in places, hiking this iconic trail is considered the quintessential Zion experience, and is one of the most famous hikes in the world.
The groups' effort brought protection to the last unprotected mile along the trail, a section that runs through Simon Gulch on the northern boundary of the park (see map below). Along with ensuring that Zion hikers will have uninterrupted access to the world-famous Zion Narrows Trail, the development means that the encompassing 880 acres of upland on the edge of the park will remain undeveloped.
“Our iconic national parks, like Zion, represent this country at our best,” said Diane Regas, CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “It took extraordinary commitment from many partners with diverse views to protect this majestic place for people, and shows we can do tremendous things when we work together. The permanent protection of the Zion Narrows Trail will give people the opportunity to experience this special place, in perpetuity.”
The Trust for Public Land has a long history of working with partners to protect and expand the park. The Trust was responsible for protecting a 35-acre inholding along the popular Hop Valley Trail in 2018 in partnership with the National Park Foundation and the National Park Trust. In 2013, The Trust for Public Land and the National Parks Conservation Association combined efforts to protect Tabernacle Dome, and the Trust helped protect the 300-acre Chamberlin Ranch, which includes the trailhead by which the Zion Narrows Trail is accessed.
The Trust for Public Land ensures access to the Narrows Trail into Zion National Park from theTrustforPublicLand on Vimeo.
“To experience the Zion Narrows Trail is to experience something out of this world,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation commends the State of Utah, Washington County, U.S. Forest Service, the Trust for Public Land, and the Eccles Foundation for their leadership in protecting this trail in its entirety and increasing access to it.”
This project protects not only the one-mile segment of trail in the Zion Narrows, but it also protects 880 acres of land adjacent to the national park through a conservation easement. The landowner has voluntarily entered into a perpetual conservation easement with the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Funding for the acquisition was provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, Washington County, LeRay McAllister Critical Lands Conservation Fund administered by the Quality Growth Commission of Utah, National Park Foundation, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation and Federal Highway Administration's, Recreational Trails Program and others.
Across the country, there is a significant amount of privately-owned land in and around national parks that is at risk of development, raising concerns about preserving the sanctity of these special places. Known as inholdings and edgeholdings, these properties can also make management challenging and impact visitor experience by creating unsuitable development or blocking public access.
According to recent research from The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, 9.52 million acres of public land are “landlocked,” including 264,000 acres in Utah. In recent years, The Trust for Public Land has also protected land for the public inside and around many other popular national parks around the country including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and Saguaro national parks. This project is the 206th project The Trust for Public Land has completed within or at the boundaries of a national park.
“Our family is pleased to work with The Trust for Public Land and partners from Utah and beyond to share and protect this unique place for future generations,” said the Bulloch family, the sellers of the newly protected property, in a statement. “The Zion Narrows Trail attracts visitors from around the world, and we are happy that it will now be properly protected and managed in its entirety. We are proud to formally share this area with the world both now and into the future.”

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107

Sonntag, 5. Januar 2020, 16:38

The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

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Zion National Park has become one of the busiest, most popular parks in the country. But that wasn’t the case in 1919 when it became Utah’s first national park. Back then, the challenge was how to promote tourism in the remote area.

One of the biggest efforts was road construction, in particular, the completion of the Grand Loop connecting Zion with Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. That meant linking the west side of the park to the east side via the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway and Tunnel.
Crews began digging into the sandstone in 1927. The first step was blasting five gallery windows into the cliff face above Pine Creek Canyon. Narrow-gauge railcars were loaded with rock debris that was dumped out through the window openings, letting in light and air as the workers continued to widen and lengthen the tunnel. Eventually, it was extended in both directions, connecting the east and west ends of the new road. At just over a mile long, the tunnel was - and still is - the longest vehicle tunnel in the national park system.
At a dedication ceremony on July 4th, 1930, Utah Governor George Dern said, “I take off my hat to the men who conceived this almost impossible project and carried it through…”
Now each year millions of travelers pass through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel and emerge on the far end to marvel at the engineering feat and at Zion’s dazzling scenery, glimpsed through the carefully placed windows.

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108

Sonntag, 19. Januar 2020, 23:41

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Trail Closures
The Weeping Rock Trail, Hidden Canyon Trail, and Observation Point Trail (East Rim from Weeping Rock) are closed due to rockfall damage. These closures are indefinite at this time. Lower Emerald Pools Trail is closed for trail repairs until Spring 2020

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109

Sonntag, 19. Juli 2020, 21:05

Zion's deadly algae at extreme levels, threat raised to "dangerous"

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Zion National Park officials received results back from the deadly algae which killed a puppy over the Fourth of July weekend, indicating dangerous levels.
They are extremely high for Utah, especially for a river.
Park officials are now putting up “danger” warning signs, asking visitors to avoid contact with the water. In an “abundance of caution” these signs will be posted everywhere there is water in the park.
“With this toxin, there’s a lot of unknowns,” Zion spokesperson Jeff Axel said. “It’s such an unusual thing.”
This more resolved figure comes after the EPA in Denver studied the algae and found it to be much higher than the regulatory threshold.
The cyanobacteria can be ingested through your eyes, nose and mouth.
“Even very small pieces of the cyanobacterial growth may contain enough cyanotoxin to cause harm and these pieces may be invisible, Zion spokesperson Jeff Axel said.
Previously, officials found a cyanotoxin concentration greater than 95 micrograms per liter in the North Fork of the Virgin River, nearly four times the state threshold, in the affected area. Friday's test results indicated it is actually 550 micrograms per liter, which is "extremely high."
While scientists are still trying to figure out how this happened, they are warning the public to stay out of the Virgin River, and to not allow animals in. Don't drink it (even with a purifier,) don't swim in it, don't wade in it.
On the Fourth of July weekend, Vanessa Weichberger and her son Francis were wading and splashing through the Virgin River on the Pa'rus Trail with hundreds of people.
Suddenly Keanna, a 10th birthday present for Francis who only joined the family two months ago, started looking and acting strange.
Her eyes were developing something that looked like a cat's second eyelids, and within minutes she could no longer walk. She began to seize and was visibly in pain.
Vanessa carried her as they tried to get down back to the parking lot while calling for help. Keanna nuzzled both Vanessa and Francis, and then the pain started.
"It was like she was saying goodbye," Vanessa said.
Keanna died within 20 minutes of encountering toxic algae blooms new to the river and dangerous to humans on July 3.
Vanessa has started a GoFundMe to cover Keanna's final expenses, as well as to help find a new dog for 10-year-old Francis.
The North Fork and the Diversion Dam area are the most affected by this algal bloom, though officials are testing all parts of the river. The popular Narrows hike is affected.
The Virgin River is a source of drinking water for many, though Washington County Water Conservancy District, Zion National Park and the Towns of Virgin and Rockville are not using the North Fork as a drinking water source.
Springdale, however, does use water from the North Fork for drinking. While water treatment technologies can remove this toxin, a press release said they have not yet detected cyanotoxins in Springdale's water.
Signs have been posted around affected areas warning visitors not to swim, submerge themselves or let their pets be in the water.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food also suggests livestock be led to a different drinking source and avoid irrigation water. Officials say to clean fish well and discard guts.
People who use culinary water to supplement secondary water should take measures to avoid substantial demand on the system and empty animal watering troughs. More information on this can be found in the press release.
Quail Creek Reservoir, Sand Hollow Reservoir and the Santa Clara River basin are not affected.
The only two ways this bloom will die is if it reaches the end of its life cycle or a monsoon flash floods the area.
If you see suspected algal blooms or see any signs, the public is asked to report them to the 24-hour Division of Water Quality tip line at 801-536-4123. Sampling updates can be found at the Department of Environmental Quality website.

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110

Samstag, 15. August 2020, 19:51

Zion shuttles are old, but there's no money to replace them

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Every day, packed shuttles chug through Zion National Park carrying thousands of hikers, bikers, tourists and locals into the country’s third most visited National Park.
The nearly 40 buses they have on hand have carried passengers since 2000, and haven’t been replaced since, much to the dismay of visitors and park officials alike, the Spectrum newspaper reports.
Between the upkeep and many repairs, 79% of all park entrance fees go toward just keeping the shuttles running, totaling to about $5 million a year. Though, new estimates suggest that number is nearing closer to 65%.
These buses are not even manufactured anymore, forcing the rangers to cannibalize broken down buses for parts, or even buy them off of eBay.
Not to mention the noise and emissions caused by running that many propane buses up and down a scenic, serene canyon, which disturbs wildlife.
Zion is not ignorant of these problems. They’ve been desperately trying to secure federal funding to replace the shuttles since 2017.
But Zion has been repeatedly denied this urgent funding by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Zion’s partners don’t know why.
The replacement project even has letters of support from Governor Gary Herbert, former Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Mike Lee, and Representative Chris Stewart called it a “top priority” for the region.
Advocacy organizations continue to be perplexed on why this funding hasn’t been awarded.
“This is such a high priority and such a need, why isn’t it being addressed? Why isn’t it one of the priority projects that get picked?” Emily Douce, Director of Operations and Park Funding for the National Parks Conservation Association said. “It’s just a disaster waiting to happen. People are not going to be happy when they aren’t running.”
When Zion started using the shuttle service in 2000, they never were supposed to last this long.
The buses, manufactured and run by French-owned company RaptDev, are only supposed to drive for 15,000 hours in their lifetime.
The Zion shuttles have run well over double that.
For the popular park, who saw 4.5 million visitors in 2019, they have no choice but to run these buses to the ground. Zion says they move around 6.6 million people annually, including those in the gateway town of Springdale.
In 2000, the shuttles were a pioneering effort of collaboration between the National Park and Springdale. It was an answer to the problems then of noise in the canyon, over-parking and limited visitation.
But now, this fix seems temporary as the shuttles threaten to break down sooner rather than later.
As has been seen with the coronavirus pandemic, the shuttles are essential to getting people into and around Zion. When they were closed as a safety precaution, hundreds of cars lined up around midnight the night before just to potentially have the chance to go up the canyon.
“What the Park Service does really well is they create an excellent visitor experience, but in doing that they mask the issues underneath. As long as they’re running, everything is OK, but they are going to stop running. We are going to be scrambling,” Cory MacNulty, Southwest Region Associate Director of the National Parks Conservation Association said. “If we lose the shuttle we lose the whole way that people experience Zion Canyon.”
There are 39 “power engines,” or a bus with the engine, and 23 trailers, cars that attach to the power engines for extra capacity.
To replace them all, it’s going to take $47 million, plus $1.5 million for charging stations and up to 14 years.
In 2015, park officials started looking into replacing the shuttles, including doing studies to find the best options. After three years of study, the park, with $250,000 from Utah Clean Cities, bought two 35 foot Proterra battery-electric buses for trial.
This year, the National Park Service Washington Office approved the replacement of the whole fleet with battery-electric buses in order to cut emissions, become more cost-efficient and get in on the ground floor of an advancing technology quickly gaining market share.
The only problem? The money.
In 2017, the Utah Department of Transportation, on behalf of the park, submitted an application to the Federal Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants program, (formerly known as TIGER,) for an award of $25 million, about half of what they need to fund the project.
Even with Washington County pledging a $100,000 match fund and the Zion Forever Foundation pledging a $300,000 match, the answer was no.
Again in 2018, UDOT submitted another application for the $25 million, but it was denied once more.
Last year, the park tried a different approach and applied for $35 million from the Federal Highway Administration’s Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects Program, which was again unsuccessful.
The BUILD grant is now advertised as $1 billion for “planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact.”
A U.S. DOT spokesperson said the grant program had a limited amount of funding in 2017 and 2018, and is highly competitive with about one out of every 10 project applicants awarded funds.
“The BUILD program enables DOT to examine these projects on their merits to help ensure that taxpayers are getting the highest value for every dollar invested,” they said.
They explained that BUILD applications are evaluated on criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental sustainability, state of good repair, innovation, cost-benefit analysis, project readiness and partnership.
While this is all true, advocates are still frustrated at the lack of explanation of exactly why the applications were denied while there is so desperate a need.
“They had all the right pieces in place,” MacNulty with the NPCA said. “They’re piecing it together with bandaids and a whole lot of skill. Someday in the not-so-distant future, the system is going to fail. What has happened and continues to happen during COVID-19 really should be an eyeopener for us, just about how critical it is.”
The park is operating buses at limited capacity to ensure social distancing but is still moving thousands of people through the canyon every day.
Jack Burns, Chief of Commercial Services and Partnerships at Zion, said there’s a lot of need out there and they will be patiently persistent.
“While we feel that our needs are a priority, I think in the bigger spectrum, we need to recognize how great the needs are and we are just one of many,” he said. “I have full confidence that if there’s a financial ability to support us, they’ll try to do so.”
Even with the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which could bring $220 million to Utah national parks and monuments, will most likely not cover the cost of replacing the shuttles.
Zion National Park alone has around $70 million in deferred maintenance without the shuttle cost. And technically, replacing the shuttles does not count as deferred maintenance, the NPCA said.
UDOT, while aware of the need like Burns, also do not know why these applications have been denied. They continue to push for ways to solve the shuttle problem.
“The transportation system is part of the experience of the park. Something to be enjoyed, not just as a means to an end,” Jeff Sanders, UDOT Regional Transportation Planner said. “If Zion can get shuttles at all, how come other national parks with integrated systems outside the park cannot? We’re just frustrated.”
The Federal Highway Administration did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Read the 2017 BUILD application, the 2018 BUILD application and the 2019 NSFLTP application with appendices. Also, read Zion Forever’s proposal for new shuttles here.
This year, pending the application call, Zion will reapply to the FHA’s grant, asking for nearly the full $45 million including match funding.
While the park and UDOT will continue to apply, other ways to travel in, out and around Springdale have been emerging over the past few years.
Washington County has been making progress on an electric
Kane County, in partnership with Utah Clean Cities, is moving forward with plans to bring more tourism to the remote east side Zion and connecting it to Kanab with state-of-the-art electric shuttles.
Mt. Carmel Tunnel, the historic pass which is often a bottleneck because of oversized vehicles, is in desperate need of new transportation solutions. With 33,000 vehicle escorts through the tunnel in 2019, Utah Clean Cities is hoping to also alleviate traffic with their shuttle proposals.
There are even studies and conversations happening about utilizing already laid rail track from Salt Lake City to Moab to increase transportation to the east side of the state.
Vicki Varela, Managing Director of the Utah Office of Tourism, said all this cooperation to solve a huge problem in the southern part of the state is the “the most inspiring national parks project in the country right now.”
But to get to the regional shuttle system dream so many want to be realized, they have to first confront the problems of rural, remote, tourist country.

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Sonntag, 13. September 2020, 21:31

Visitors reminded to ‘look up’ following landslide in Zion National Park

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A large landslide on the east side of the West Temple in Zion National Park Friday morning didn’t cause any injuries or damage to property but was a reminder that nature is not static when it comes to the landscape of the picturesque park.
The landslide, which took place around 10:30 a.m., was recorded by an onlooker and posted on Instagram.
What looked like a tan-colored, dusty smokescreen of debris could be seen descending down the rockface like an avalanche of dirt and rock.
Springdale police confirmed there were no calls reporting injuries, and the area where the landslide hit is not one with any existing trails.
Nevertheless, Zion Forever Project Communications Manager Zachary Almaguer said the area, with its vertical faces, is still one used by rock climbers, and the traditional rock climbing season just began.

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Bei wahrscheinlich USA-Stammtisch Treffen dabei gewesen
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