Southern Utah News Articles
What is visitor capacity at Zion National Park?
Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybough and Park Concessions staff member Jack Burn announced they are working on a Visitor Use Management Plan at the November 9 Kane County Commission meeting. Park visitation at Zion is up 17 percent, and they have had to extend the shuttle season. Springdale is overloaded with parking. Waiting times for the busy shuttles have become an issue. Visitor congestion and the impact on resources is unknown. They want to be proactive and the question is, “How many people the park can handle?”
Commissioner Doug Heaton commented that the east side of the park is underused, and asked if there are any plans for the east side. Bradybough said they are including that option in the study, but they are in the cross hairs with visitation up 17 percent and a reduced budget of six percent. There is overcrowding and not enough parking, so they need to determine,what capacity the park can handle. “We want a win/win for everyone, so the visitor can have a quality experience and we can handle the visitor’s needs,” said Bradybough.
The commissioners indicated they appreciate working with the park and also appreciate the many volunteers who helped during the recent flash flood tragedy there. Superintendent Bradybough also expressed appreciation to the Kane County Search and Rescue.
A public hearing was held to abandon two Kane County roads. There were no comments. Back in the regular session, the commissioners approved the abandonment. It was a win/win situation. Commissioner Dirk Clayson explained the property owner was happy not to have the roads in the middle of his property and the trade-off allows access to more than 1100 acres on the top of Diana’s Throne, including State Trust Land and BLM land. “It is better for recreation,” said Clayson. The new road is in place with signage.
The Kane County Court system is moving from Secondary to a Primary Court system, which brings changes in county staffing. Holly Ramsay’s position of Kane County Court Clerk will close, and the District Court will handle all of its employees. The county will provide space, but not any of the labor. The commissioners voted to pay Ramsay as if she retired from the county. She has been hired by the District Court.
Two Rural Unimproved Subdivisions were approved; the Lazy J Ranch, which is located east by Vermilion Cliffs, and the Birch Retreat, located southeast of Todd’s Junction. There was no public input.