Popular Swimming Area At Capitol Reef National Park Closed Due To Dangerous Conditions

Capitol Reef officials have closed the Fremont Falls area to swimming due to the dangerous conditions created by this year's tumultuous runoff. Julie Trevelyan photo.

A popular swimming hole in Capitol Reef National Park has been closed for the rest of the summer due to torrential runoff that has created extremely dangerous conditions for swimmers.

Fremont Falls, located about six miles east of the park's visitor center on Highway 24, has witnessed three-near fatalities already this summer, according to park officials. As a result, several area agencies, as well as the Capitol Reef superintendent and the Wayne County (Utah) sheriff, have deemed the falls and their pool too great of a risk to public safety to remain open to swimming.

Created in 1962 by diverting the Fremont River from its natural bed, the original Fremont Falls stretched out approximately 100 feet wide as a thin skiff of water flowing over an underlying sandstone rock formation.

But after decades of erosion caused by natural water action, the Fremont Falls of today channels rapidly through a markedly narrower crevice. As with many waterfalls, the sections immediately above and below the fall itself pose serious threats to swimmers due to the strength of the water's pull.

Three recent near drownings -- on June 20 and July 15 -- prompted the official closure of the falls. Two of the victims were children, and one an adult who jumped in to save one of the children. None of three was breathing, nor did they have a pulse, upon being removed from the water. They were flown to hospitals in northern Utah and, somehow, all three survived with no apparent lasting effects.

“While we certainly want to provide an enjoyable visitor experience in the park, our highest responsibility is to ensure a safe visitor experience," says Capitol Reef Superintendent Al Hendricks. "The three recent near-drownings make it clear that there are serious, life-threatening conditions present at the waterfall for even strong swimmers.”

The extended closure will be lifted when the weather is too cold for swimming. Looking down the road, park officials are looking to reroute the river back to its original streambed next year.

Comments

wow, all three back from the dead... this seem to be becoming more and more common these days.

The waterfall was not closed "due to torrential runoff that has created
extremely dangerous conditions for swimmers." It was closed because conditions there are
dangerous, even at normal flows. There's no doubt that conditions there
are hazardous during flash floods (as shown in the photo in your
article), and there's no doubt that the presence of people at the falls
during floods is a concern. The flow rate at the time of the three
near-drowning incidents was above average, but was nothing approaching
torrential.

Anon is correct. While the heavy water flow following spring runoff and the flash floods added to the problem, it was a dangerous area even on calm days. So many people broke their legs, arms, or even their necks while illegally jumping off the falls. It became a law enforcement nightmare and many rangers spent hours down there just making sure people were following the rules and as a result they weren't able to focus on the rest of the park. Below is the official press release:
Following three recent near-drownings, the National Park Service has closed the Fremont River Waterfall to public use and access.

The waterfall located near mile marker 86 on State Highway 24 in Capitol Reef National Park was created in 1962 when the river was rerouted to accommodate the construction of Highway 24. This water feature has historically been an attractive site to swimmers and recreationists. The dynamics of the waterfall have changed over the years, and the river has cut a narrow channel in the soft sandstone. This has increased the velocity of the river and created a hazardous water filled slot above, and a dangerous plunge pool beneath, the falls.

On June 20, 2011, a six year old boy visiting with his family from Wisconsin entered the water, was drawn under the falls, and was quickly pulled under the surface and held there by currents. The boy was under the water for several minutes before his father found him under the surface. When pulled to the shore the boy was not breathing and had no pulse. By incredibly slim odds, there were two highly trained medical professionals at the waterfall and they rendered assistance. After about one minute of CPR, the boy was revived. An air ambulance helicopter was summoned and he was flown to Salt Lake City and has recovered.

On July 15, 2011 a twelve year old girl from California was pulled by the strong currents under the surface while swimming and remained under the water for approximately three minutes. Noticing the emergency, a thirty two year old male bystander from Utah entered the water to assist. He was quickly overcome by the flow as well and was under the water for nearly two minutes. Both the girl and the man eventually floated to the surface where additional bystanders pulled them to shore. Both were breathless and pulseless. In this instance, CPR was initiated by a physician who happened to be on scene. Both victims eventually regained consciousness and, once again, both were flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City where they recovered.

Among the circumstances that create hazardous swimming conditions near the waterfall are the aerated water and the strong currents in the plunge pool. The water at the base of the falls is highly mixed with air causing it to lose the buoyancy of non-aerated water, causing even strong swimmers to sink. In addition, strong currents in the pool pull swimmers into the falls.

Mindful of the recent serious incidents, as well as numerous additional incidents over the past several years, the park Superintendent, the Wayne County Sheriff, the Wayne County Emergency Services Director, and the Wayne County Commissioners have arrived at a consensus concerning the wisdom of closing the waterfall area to use. Park Superintendent Al Hendricks said: "While we certainly want to provide an enjoyable visitor experience in the park, our highest responsibility is to ensure a safe visitor experience. The three recent near-drownings make it clear that there are serious, life-threatening conditions present at the waterfall for even strong swimmers."

The Superintendent has determined that the closure area shall extend from one hundred yards upstream to one hundred and twenty five yards downstream of the waterfall and includes the waterfall parking area. The closure is intended to be seasonal and lifted when the weather is too cold for swimming.

I would like to know of the dates and exact incedents the Lady Ranger is refering to. I don't believe a word she is saying. For example I live in this Community and there has NEVER been a report of anything other than slight injuries, no broken necks. There were they few incidents this past summer 2011 that made Statewide news of new drowning. However that happens in every water area in the State... If there were MANY issues there should have been reports and notifications to Wayne County Residence and Tourist visiting the Park. I would appreciate the details on said Many Broken necks, date, and times would be helpful.
Thank You,
Taralyn Howard

Taralyn, I'm sorry you don't believe me, but what I wrote is true. There were cases of 3 broken bones in one summer alone. One young boy broke both his ankles jumping off the water fall. I do not have the authority to give any dates or times but you can contact the park if you would like more information and you can be directed to the person who does have authority.

Haven't visited Capitol Reef but do know half a dozen (or more) hikers die in the Grand Canyon every year and no one's asking to close it to hikers. BTW, in 105 years of mule rides into the Canyon there has never been a mule related death of a visitor on a commercial mule ride yet the rides were cut back by 75%. Just saying...

Natural areas within National Parks usually are not closed, but the waterfall at Capitol Reef is man-made. It doesn't belong in the first place and, besides being dangerous, is causing a lot of ecological issues.

I just found out why this article is suddenly getting attention after 3 months. It was mentioned in a Letter to the Editor in the local paper that was against the waterfall closure.

Anonymous:
Natural areas within National Parks usually are not closed, but the waterfall at Capitol Reef is man-made. It doesn't belong in the first place and, besides being dangerous, is causing a lot of ecological issues.
A lot of natural areas get closed. There's a research area within Haleakala. Yellowstone NP closes off direct access to geothermal areas for safety reasons. Swimming or wading above certain waterfalls is prohibited; anyone remember what happed above Vernal Fall last summer? If you add NPS units with other designations, there are periodic closures due to wildlife behavior.

There's a whole lot of man-made areas too which theoretically don't belong. Some of them (especially dams) make some NPS units desirable for recreation. One of them might be the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, but boating and swimming there is prohibited.

RangerLady - just curious as to why you don't have the authority, or why you even need the authority, to give out the dates of the accidents mentioned in your Comment.

Here's a second to Dottie's question - why does one need "authority" to give out dates of accidents in the park? I can understand not releasing names of those involved, but I don't see the harm in saying when they happened.

Yes, Matt and Dottie, transparency has taken a back seat across the board in this environment. The public message is pretty much all produced in ways that most of us haven't imagined. A wrong word can ruin a career.

Because I do not have the dates memorized, I would have to read files that I do not have the authority to access. After seeing no less than 4 accidents at that waterfall ever summer, it's a little hard to remember all the dates.

Opps...I was anon@9:33pm. I didn't notice I had been logged out.

And that's a simple and understandable real world answer, Ranger Lady. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists.

Rick B, how many times is policy changed with supportive PR wording masking ulterior motives to arrive at the "preferred alternative?" When one's seen it in action it's easy to affirm the paranoid's getting it right enough to question. There are many cases involving misconduct by Teflon Bureaucrats (It's all around us) that the odor does stick to many that are forthright and trapped in their positions. It's a challenging test of faith/character in today's environment. Kudos to those that endure.

I would like to tell you about swimming at the falls. This year on July 4, 2011 I went to the waterfall with four kids one 11,13, 14 and one 16 years old. We were there from 1:00 - 4:30. While we were there there were aout 40 - 50 people that came and went. They were jumping and swimming for about 2 hours when a ranger came. A ten year old boy jumped and the ranger said who is your dad and the boy looked at his dad. The ranger said come here I'm going to give you a ticket, the dad said your not going to give me a ticket. Ranger said yes I am. Finally the dad said how much is a ticket? The ranger said $75.00. The dad said I'll pay that it would cost me alot more than that to take my kids to a water park is Salt Lake. The ranger said well just don't jump any more. When he left we went rignt back to having fun like we have been having for fifty years.
Ranger lady you said many broken legs, arms and necks you still stand by that? I at least will tell you who I am. RangerLady
Just so you know the Fremont River is not were it was before man decided to move highway 24. Man moved the river and one of the good things we got out of that was a waterfall where we can go and have fun. The Fremont River doesn't have a heart, brain or feelings it doesn't care were you move it. but it will take over when it rains like it has this year that is why you see so much sand by the road that had to be graded off the road.
The park should put up signs that say DANGER, SWIM AT YUOUR OWN RISK, THE PARK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU ARE INJURED OR DIE!!! The park has never been responsible for anyone that is hurt in the park. Don't take away the most enjoyed spot in the park.
How many people have been hurt on hikes in the park? Way don't you mention that, Ranger Lady?

"...and one of the good things we got out of that was a waterfall where we can go and have fun." Right...because the rest of the park isn't fun. You apparently can only have fun in water highly contaminated with fecal matter and other agricultural waste. If that's the only way you can have fun in a national park, then stay at home.
One (or two or three) of the bad thing to come out of that waterfall is the loss of several species, including an orchid and a frog. Those species have not been seen in about 20 years and it is due to the re-routing of the river.
The National Park Service is not here to create fun little swimming holes, it is here to "preserve and protect for future generations"
It was also against the law to jump at the waterfall and was clearly marked when I was there. That would be why the man got a ticket. You ignore the rules, you get fined. And I was also there when one person jumped and broke their ankle, so yes, it has really happened. RangerLady is telling the truth

A bit strident, Anon. Wonder if it comes out when you are among the commoners:).

Yes it is getting attention because of that - however - how about not hiding your name and tell us who you are??? When people are discussing issues it's nice to know who you are dealing with..
Taralyn Howard

Are all the Anonymous comments coming from people of the Park???? No one seems to want to let anyone know who they are talking to.... I'm not afraid of my name looks like you are???

Taralyn Howard, so, let's say I am a "peep of the Park" and did tack my name up. What would be your guess as to how my career would go after voicing some concerns about Park Policy? Do you really believe that ALL NPS are pure as the wind driven snow and not more concerned with making their own needs, desires and politics, a priority?
I do understand quite well the tendency to look at citizens as the masses instead of individuals who are looking for experiences that are, at best, transformational and at least an escape from torments of the culture. I'm just trying to add something to the conversation that holds on to the "individual" experience. Challenging and rewarding job Park Peeps have walking the line with protecting the resource and allowing that resource to truly be experienced. Just saying.

This has turned into an interesting line of comments. But one thing is being missed here -- no matter how many warning signs a park may install -- and no matter how hard they try to advise visitors to be careful -- someone will get hurt and sue.

And speaking from experience, it is never a pleasant experience to be one of those who must provide medical care or body recovery when things go wrong. Some things I dealt with 40 or more years ago still haunt my sleep.

So if rangers get a bit testy sometimes, try walking their shoes for while.

I was Anon @8:55am. I do not work for Capitol Reef, but I do visit often as it is one of my favorite parks. My name is Rachel White and I live in Virginia. I spend 2-3 weeks every summer visiting national parks and cherish the most beautiful places our country has to offer.

And Lee, you are so very right. People seem to love suing the NPS because they ignored signs and got hurt.

So much of this (sue happy) and so much of everything else rolls back to todays culture, I believe. I mean really, so much of what people think today our grandparents, if they knew, would have drowned them and told everybody they died. Interesting times, lol! I am hopeful:).

Rachel:
And Lee, you are so very right. People seem to love suing the NPS because they ignored signs and got hurt.
The families of the three who waded in the Merced River above Vernal Fall hired a "consultant" to determine if the NPS employed adequate warnings and safeguards. I mean - this sign isn't clear enough on its meaning?

Of course they were somewhat out of touch with reality, given that their kin just fell down over 200 feet onto jagged rocks. They even criticized the NPS for not continuing the search efforts in case one of them might have survived.

This (I heard it was raging even more than this that day) should be a pretty good indicator of the inherent dangers:

Well, I am not afraid to use my full name, nor am I a conspiracy theorist. (Did I spell that correctly?) I asked RangerLady about the "authority" as it seemed a strange word to use in the context she was using. In her second response, she was more clear about not having the "authority" to look up old records, and that makes sense. However, those types of injuries, accidents, etc. are usually in the local newspaper or in the NPS Digest, etc., made accessible to the general public with everything being online these days. So how someone could jump to "conspiracy theory" from talking about accidents in parks eludes me.

Would someone provide a link to the letter to the editor that spawned this discussion?
(Someone indicated this discussion was the result of a letter to the editor... I'm going off of that.) Thanks

There is no link for that article. The local paper here is not online. I'm going to type it out...it's long...sorry!
I have made many phone calls written many letters and emails this last month. I am very concerned about the Capitol Reef National Park closing it's waterfall. This waterfall is the most enjoyed spot in the Capitol Reef National Park in June, July, August, and September. To fix the waterfall would cost several thousands of dollars to put in a cement dam so the waterfall will cascade over the sandstone. We could have safety devices, like they have in swimming pools and other public recreation areas so if someone is struggling in the water someone can extend help and pull them to safety. Signs that say DANGER, SWIM AT OUR OWN RISK, THE PARK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU ARE INJURED OR DIE. Put in a register at the waterfall for comments I'm sure we would have some awesome comments. My family has been swimming here for 50 years. I think if we had a meeting and put all our heads together we could fix the waterfall so it would be safer. However, you know in the past fifty years we have never had anyone die at the waterfall. I would say that is a pretty good record.

It seems that Al's (the Park's superintendent) only solution to fixing the waterfall is to get rid of it by putting in two bridges. They would be very dangerous in the winter because everyone knows bridges get icy in the winter. In 2005 the cost was approximately $10,000,000.00. Six years later I'm sure that would be closer to $15,000,000.00 to $20,000,000.00. TO me as a tax payer, I say let's fix the waterfall. If we put this to a vote to the people that come to the park in the summer, when the temperature is 80-100 I'm sure they would agree with me. Al tried to have the two bridges put in in 2005 but the Senators, Congressman, and the State Road were able to stop the project.

The letter...Part 2...

I recently talked to Al and he willing told me that his annual salary was $120,000.00 plus government benefits, so I guess after spending $3,000,000.00 plus on the Scenic Drive, perhaps the amount for the two bridges does not seem to be very much to him, but it sure seems like a lot to me.
You need to know that if the bridges were to be built the jobs would not go to local people but rather to out of county, out of state, or even out of country, like the Hanksville dam, and the Scenic Drive.

The waterfall is not the real issue here. It has been Al Hendricks goal since he arrived here in Wayne Co. I believe his goal is to have the two bridges as his personal legacy. His words to Keither Durfey before his death was that he would not retire until the two bridges were completed.
I have contacted Congreeman Jim Matheson, Utah Department of Transportation, State Road over highway 24, Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Utah State Representative Mike Noel, Utah State Senator Nathan Lee, AOG 6 county Association, Russ Cowley, Utah Senator Ralph Okerlan, Fremon River Soil Conservation District, David Pace, and Wayne County Commisioners. All of the above are against these two bridges being built and for fixing the waterfall and keeping the waterfall open.

And finally...part 3...

If you would like to help save the waterfall and stop the bridges from being built, call, or write Al Hendricks, Superintendent of Capitol Reef National Park, 52 Scenic Dr. Torrey, UT 84775 or 435-425-3791 ext. 2. If you think this will land on deaf ears, contact his boss Laura joss 1-303-969-2856, email laura_joss@nps.gov. I have called her and she will listen to you. You could also call the same people I have. Call me if you want a number I can find it for you. Al told me that I was the only one that had called him and was against the two bridges and the waterfall being closed. It is time to stand up and be counted. I know I'm not the only one!

One your computer go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBXf--B1h01 and see how much fun they are having. The go to http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/07/popular-swimming-area-capitol-reef-national-park-closed-due-dangerous-conditions8482 See in his own workds that park officials are looking to reroute the river to its original streambed next year.

Roma D. Roderick
Notom, UT

Just to clarify some of the things Roma mentioned in her letter to the editor:
The park does want to reroute the river to its original route. It used to swing to the south and then back north in an oxbow. When hwy24 was built, instead of building bridges to go over the river, they simply moved the river. This led to the loss of that oxbow and several plant and animal species that lived in that area. The park is not planning on doing this next year as it takes a lot longer than a year to do soemthing this major. Or at least I think so...I've never moved a river so I don't know. It owuld also be up to the state (since they own the highway) to build the bridges.

The park did recently redo the Scenic Drive. It did cost a lot, but it came out of federal highway funds, not the park's budget. Local help was also used. I talked to several of the guys and they came from just the next county. Wayne County doens't have a lot of people skilled in road construction (heck..it doens't have a lot of people period) so workers from Sevier County were used.

And techinically, three people died last summer. They were without pulses or breath for several minutes, but were revived. I know that's splitting hairs, but does someone have to stay dead for people to realize this waterfall isn't safe? I've been there often, drive past it almost daily, but I will never ever go in. I would much rather go into Sulphur Creek and enjoy the 3 safer waterfalls there.

You don't read very well!!! Where did you get the idea that was the only place I have fun? I have fun every day. I'm glad you don't go swimming at the falls if that in what you do in water!!! but let the rest of us have fun!!! I drive through the park 4 or 5 times a week I used to travel up the old highway 24 when people owned the land and lived in Fruita. That was before the goverment made them sell their houses and land. I rode my horse all over the park. I knew the people that lived in Fruita. That was when the fruit trees looked like someone cared for the fruit trees, because they had to make a living. There was a lodge there, motel between the Gifford house and the barn and a cafe/store I shopped at them all.
To get rid of the waterfall you would have to put in two bridges that in the wintertime would be very dangerous. They would cost Millions of dollare IF YOU DON'T KNOW WE ARE OUT OF MONEY!!! BUT PEOPLE IN THE GOVERMENT JUST THINK WE CAN JUST KEEP SPENDING!!! My brother died on highway 24 Dec.22, 2009 on slick road just about one mile from the waterfall. I'm sure you know that bridges are slicker than pavement. His family didn't sue the Park, and they didn't close the road because someone died. I would like to know how many people have broken bones on the man made trails in the park. Has anyone ever sued the Park? I do know that Clair Bird did because he was so mad when the goverment made him move. I went to the court house and he lived in the Park until Dec. 1977 that is when the goverment won the law case against him. I will be finding this out if anyone else has sued the park and lost or won.
I thought parks were for the people to enjoy all of it like Paradise Flates????? I have seen more of the park than you have I'm sure. However I don't know who you are????

Roma I'm not sure who you're directing those comments to. If you refering to me, you do know how I am. That is why I'm not putting my name. The last thing I need is for my neighbors to start harassing me for supporting the park in this decision.

Dear Local Resident I'm really sorry you feel this way. I like and even love a lot of people that don't think the same way I do. What you are saying is you don't like me because I think different from you???? I feel sorry for you!!!!

Let's get back to the REAL reason this issue came about. Because there are a few and there seems to be tangent after tangent going on.
1 - It has been Al Hendricks goal to move the Fremont River to go around the Ox Bow since the day he came to the park. At a Tax Payer cost of MILLIONS of Dollars. Millions of Dollars no matter what account people say it's coming from.."WE THE PEOPLE OF THE USA DO NOT HAVE" Remember " WE THE PEOPLE ARE BROKE" This area of Hwy 24 was also just this summer repaved.
2 - The Orchid that someone mentioned that has not been seen in the last 10-15 years IS NOT AND WAS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN NATIVE TO THIS AREA OF UTAH. How do I know this you ask??? Well, My Father, Grandfather and Uncle all employees of the Capital Reef National Monument at the time were there when people PLANTED IT THERE!!!! Something similar to the Buffalo on the Henry Mtns. Are they Native to this are are UTAH?? NO they were Planted there by the Federal Gov. THEY ARE NOT NATIVE... EITHER IS THAT ORCHID OR THE FROG.
3 - The lies that have been told or maybe a nicer way to put this. The Error in words that Rangers have spoken to tourist and natives all throughout the Park, but at the Waterfall Continuely. I personally have heard 2/4 different stories of places in the park by different Rangers... UMMM What ones are true??? I have Family Histories that tell the EXACT things that happened in the Captial Reef area and Fruita during the 60's and early 70's. The Park DOES NOT want these things told to the general public and tourist because basicly "They aren't NICE". It shows how the Federal Gov. Forced at all expense to rid the area of People that settled, planted, made livings in this area.
4 - There have been times when Al Hendricks has spoken in Written word and then been questioned on the validity of the statements. The truth was then brought up and the articles suddenly changed to the ACTUAL truth of the matter.
ALL OF THESE REASONS ARE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE CLOSING OF THE WATERFALL. Lady Ranger DOES have the ability as do I to research and find the answers to the questions I asked. Broken, ankles, legs, arms, wrists happen ALL OVER the park on MANY trails(man made) throughout the park every year. So if this is the reason for the closing of the falls then those "MAN MADE" trails should also be closed. If it's good for one MAN MADE area isn't it good for ALL?? That seems to be the theme of the good ole' USA these days.
So lets get back to the REAL reason this issue was brought to EVERYONE's attention. THE COST OF TAX PAYER MONEY THAT WE DO NOT HAVE, THE 1/2 TRUTHS AND OUTRIGHT LIES THAT HAVE BEEN TOLD, AND AGENDAS THAT WANT TO BE MET BY RETIREMENT TIME. THESE ARE THE TRUE REASONS FOR STARTING THIS ISSUES. THE BENEFIT..... THE WATERFALL SHOULD REMAIN OPEN FOR THE PUBLIC TO USE AND ENJOY BECAUSE THEIR IS NO REASON FOR IT NOT TO BE!!!

Taralyn,
You brought up something important in point 1, but I think you're incorrect.
"We the people" aren't broke...we're just wasting our money and other resources on two oil wars, tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations in the world, subsidised energy extraction on public land, etc. We have plenty of resources to devote towards re-establishing damaged ecosystems (which would also create useful jobs), its just not what we've priotitized.
Your other points are much more interesting (to me). I just don't think it makes sense to rant about the relatively minor costs associated with ecosystem restoration (which I understand that for other reasons, in this particualr case, you don't think is justified) when we finance exponentially more costly and destructive activities without question.

The interesting thing about re-establishing damaged ecosystems is that Nature on it's own takes away and give to our ecosystems. I do not condone lying about Plants, animals, trails, accidents just to provide ammunition for ones own cause. That has been my biggest complaint other than the money. And we could go round and round about our country and the money.. We all know that our Country has no more money to spread around. Where thoses in power have chosen to spend it we could debate forever, for I have a feeling that is something you and I would never agree on and I respect that. But don't tell me you want to do something to save a flower that is native to an area or ecosystem, that I know for a fact IS NOT NATIVE and know for a fact WHEN and WHERE it was planted. And in order to save "said native plant" it could cost millions of dollars. I don't agree with that line of thinking...

I got a letter from the Park letting me know that the waterfall as of Oct. 24 is now open so you can walk down and take nice, beautiful pictures of the waterfall. I hope that we can swim there next year.

Have a great winter, I hope we don't have any accidents on the road or in the park.

I know Torrey is no bustling metropolis, but there has got to be more to do in the summer than swim in this contaminated waterfall.
Are most locals fired up about this or just this one person?

Let me see if I have this figured out? The Park doesn't care about the waterfall. They just want to spend millions of tax dollars to put in 2 bridges so they can put the river back in the only place in the river that man hasn't changed. However the river hasn't been there for 50 years???
The people that Roma has talked to don't want to spend millions. They just want to have the waterfall so they can have fun? Is that about it!!!

http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/plants/uteladiestress/
Here is a link to the orchid that the park is trying to save by routing the river back through the ox-bow. It is indeed native, no matter what Taralyn thinks, and is listed a a threatened species. It has not been seen for 15-20 years due to the Fremont river being rerouted. According to the FWS, the Northern Leopard Frog numbers seem to be declining, and that is another species lost in Capitol Reef due to the loss of the ox-bow. Returning the river back to its original state (even though it is heavily polluted) is the reason why the park wants it to flow back through the ox-bow. That is what the NPS is all about. But the waterfall was closed and will remain closed during the summer months due to the dangers. The park really didn't want to wait until someone died (and wasn't revived) to take action. The loss of even one life would be too much.

I didn't see Capitol Reef or any place in Southern Utah mentioned on your link about your orchid????

has a 6th Generation Wayne County Resident... I would like to know where you got your info on the Orchid being native to the Oxbow??? Please reply with info on this. My Grandfather, Uncle, and Father were all working for the Capitol Reef National Monument when they PLANTED that flower. If the water flowing down the Fremont in Contaminated were it is currently located it will be contaminated flowing around the Oxbow. So the comment there makes no sense at all.. Roma is not the ONLY one that cares about the closing of the Waterfall or the HUGE UN-NEEDED Tax dollars wanting to be spent to put in the bridges to re-route the river. They just re-black topped the area of HWY 24 that they now want to replace with the Multi Million Dollar Bridges. Really???? Can you say WASTE??? This as become a "ONLY WATERFALL ISSUE" and it is not!!! It's a US TAX DOLLARE ISSUE. Leave the things ALONE!!! NO MORE TAX DOLLARS need to be spent!!! Closing of the Waterfall does not need to be done!! The waterfall is now back open. The signage in appropriate and now people can enjoy this beautiful area of the park... It take 1 person to get the word out to the multitude that may not know or understand what is happening right under there noses. Thank You Roma for making the County and surrounding Counties that could be next on the list of Un Needed Gov. Spending.... We will now all take our voices and use them to get our points across. If WE THE PEOPLE DON'T stand up for what we Believe in.. WHO WILL??? The GOV. will walk right over us and use our tax dollars however they see fit without any notice to those it is affecting. Thank You again Roma... More Power to you and to EVERYONE else out there that has a VOICE and the ability say what you feel and stand up for your Rights as a Citizen of this Country!!!!

Maybe your father and grandfather planted the flower because it was an endangered native species. If they planted something that wasn't native in a National Monument then they were breaking laws.
Here is more info on that orchid from the FWS:
Ute ladies'-tresses is found in three separate geographic areas of the interior western United States.

The second area is along the Colorado River drainage in eastern Utah. Populations are found along: Green River, Daggett County; Dinosaur National Monument's Cub Creek drainage, Uintah County; Uinta and Whiterocks Rivers, Duchesne and Uintah Counties; Duchesne River, Duchesne County; Fremont River in Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County; Deer Creek, Garfield County.

Less than 6,000 individual plants of Ute ladies'-tresses are known (as of 1992) in the 10 remaining populations. The Boulder County population is the largest of the known populations. In 1986 this site contained 5,500 plants.

Modifications to and losses of riparian habitat have adversely affected Ute ladies'-tresses
, especially along the Wasatch Mountain foothills in Utah. These areas have been affected by urbanization, stream channelization, and construction projects in and adjacent to the Jordan and Weber Rivers and their tributaries, and in wetlands and wet meadows adjacent to Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake.

All riparian plant species are vulnerable to alterations in stream flow and water table levels.

Recovery of Ute ladies'-tresses will depend on the protection and restoration of the riparian habitats inhabited by this plant.

Thanks, Local Resident. Some facts are refreshing here.

Dear Lady Ranger I have in my hands a letter from the Park it says that there has not been a broken bone at the waterfall since 7/19/2007 case #07/0062 broken ankle. The Park records only have on record 7 broken boons at the waterfall since 1996-2011. So I think you can do your work and not worry about the waterfall. Not one of the people that broke a bone sued the Park so you can sleep better. It was not hard to get this information I just wrote a letter and I got it, so I'm sure you could??? If you need help just call Me 435-456-9153.