Private landowner selling land around Zion’s Narrow
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Zion National Park visitors are no longer allowed to experience a popular, 16-mile (26-kilometer), one-way hike through the Virgin River Narrows.
Park officials began discontinuing permits for the hike from north to south (or top to down) Tuesday after a private landowner posted “no trespassing” signs in the popular canyon, the Salt Lake Tribune reported .
The signs, which rangers first saw over the weekend, invite buyers to purchase over 1 mile of the Zion Narrow. It advertises 1 square mile (3 sq. kilometer) with water resort potential.
″... Zion National Park hopes to work with the landowner to resolve this situation,” the statement read.
The hike begins at the Chamberlain Ranch trailhead and cuts between towering cliff walls to the Temple of Sinewava trailhead at the end of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
The north part of the route cuts through private land, park officials said. The landowner had previously allowed access to hikers under a verbal agreement with the National Park Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .
The park had not received any complaints before the arrival of the signs.
“It’s unfortunate, but we don’t really know why,” Cindy Purcell, management assistant for Zion, told the Review-Journal. “We didn’t have a heads-up from the landowner or a reason.”
Zion National Park used to allow up to 90 hikers —40 day-hikers and 50 overnight hikers — to enter the Narrows from the north per day.
The national park had permits reserved through early November and is trying let visitors know they will no longer be able to do the hike, Purcell said.
“Even for tomorrow, some are international visitors,” Purcell said. “We may not be successful at getting ahold of all of those.”
Kim Hermann, the business administrator of the Zion Adventure Company, plans to dispute the decision if the park is unable to reach an understanding with the landowner. Zion Adventure Company relies on clients heading to the north trailhead at Chamberlain Ranch.
“It’s one of the main reasons why people come to Zion,” Hermann said of the popular hike. “We think that after so many years of being a public access that you cannot all of a sudden close it and make it private.”
The Zion Narrows still can be accessed through the Temple of Sinewava trailhead.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com