It won't be quite so crowded in Zion Narrows under the new backcountry management plan adopted by Zion National Park. And, group sizes for remote canyoneering permits also have been cut.
The revised plan for the park's 145,000 acres of backcountry took effect January 1. According to Zion Superintendent Jock Whitworth, the plan "incorporates standards to measure the health of natural and cultural resources as well as visitor wilderness experience and creates a framework that allows the park to adjust use limits and other management actions as the condition of park resources change."
Here's a glimpse at the plan's highlights:
* Use limits will increase by 50 percent in many backcountry areas, including the Left Fork of North
> Creek (the Subway);
* Use limits in areas with nesting Mexican spotted owls will vary by season, with higher use limits allowed outside the nesting season;
* Use limits could increase in canyons, such as Spry Canyon, when efforts to curtail erosion have been successful;
* Use limit for through day hikes through the length of the Zion Narrows will be reduced from 80 to 40 people per day. The number of permitted overnight groups in the Narrows will remain at 12;
* Group size limits for remote canyoneering routes will be reduced to 6;
* Group size limits elsewhere in the backcountry will remain at 12;
* On-line permits will be available three days prior to the trip date;
* Campsites will be designated in the Coalpits Wash area;
* The popular alcove campsite in the Zion Narrows will be closed and relocated nearby to reduce flash flood danger.
For additional information on backcountry travel in Zion, check out this site.