Zion National Park closed down public access to a popular hiking section.
Effectively immediately, Zion National Park will discontinue issuing wilderness permits to hike the Zion Narrows top-down (North-to-South).
The national park took to Twitter to inform its followers that a landowner of a portion of the trail closed off the trail with “No Trespassing” signs outside the park’s boundaries.
Effective immediately, Zion National Park has stopped issuing Wilderness permits to hike the Zion Narrows from North to South (“top-down”). This includes the 16-mile one-way day hike and all overnight use. The bottom-up route is still open. Read more here: https://t.co/JPb0m2Jip9
— Zion National Park (@ZionNPS) September 26, 2018
The route follows Chamberlain Ranch, two miles away from the northeast section of the park, is the common entry point to the “top-down” hike through the Narrows. This path is one of Zion’s favored attractions.
The twisty trail traverses the Virgin River as it slices its way into 2,000-foot deep slot canyons. Sometimes these slot canyons only spread 20-30 feet across. The 16-mile journey ends inside the park’s main canyon.
The signs that read “Private Property, No Trespassing,” were accompanied by “Property For Sale” signs. The national park’s staff released a succinct statement “Zion National Park hopes to work with the landowner to resolve this situation.”
“Day-hiking from the Temple of Sinawava at the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (accessible by park shuttle) is open to hiking north to Big Springs within the Narrows. Upstream travel from Big Springs is not allowed,” the National Park said.
The 258-acre ranch was planned by private developers to be established into a 20-lot subdivision in the 2000s. However, the project was hindered during the Great Recession. In 2013, the Trust of Public Land negotiated a conservation easement on the property, according to the Trust’s website.
A park spokesperson said early Wednesday that the park had only decided to stop issuing permits in response to the signs, and they are still working on details as to why the property owners may have posted the signs. Several unanswered calls were made to the phone number listed on the “Property For Sale” sign. This story continues to develop; it’s unclear of that exact reason who posted these signs and why they were posted. Whatever happened to Pack it in, Pack it out?