06/17/2007

Zion National Park Asks for Public Comment on Backcountry Management Policies, UT

6/18/2007

In 2005 the National Park Service at Zion completed public scoping on a plan to manage of backcountry in Zion that includes vast climbing opportunities, including some of the countrys most significant adventure big wall climbing. In May the park released its draft alternatives for managing 145,060 acres in Zion, which include recommended and potential wilderness and any technical rock climbing areas regardless of where they occur in the park.

The draft BMP identifies opportunities for a variety of backcountry experiences while recognizing and protecting the wilderness resources values of Zion National Park. For more information, see AFs 2005 scoping comments www.accessfund.org/pdf/AFscopZion.pdf and the draft plan http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?.... The Access Fund generally supports the parks Proposed Action/Preferred Alternative B which continues existing policies (including seasonal closures to protect raptors and other protected resources) and will also encourage . . . access to climbs on established and marked routes. The NPS plan would not seek to monitor or otherwise limit the number of new climbs, but because of the wilderness management at Zion, the NPS will prohibit power drills and discourage excess bolting. Various other provisions in the draft BMP address overnight bivouacs, human waste, fixed ropes, access trails, and canyoneering in the backcountry.

The NPS at Zion will take comments to its proposed Backcountry Management Plan through July 29 at:

Zion National Park
Attn: Backcountry Management Plan/EA
Springdale, UT 84767< br>

Or online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.