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Archive for March, 2014

Trail Closures on East Rim, Observation Point and Hidden Canyon Trails in Summer, 2014

Posted at March 28th, 2014
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Trail work will begin in early June.

http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/trail-closures-2014.htm

Zion National Park BASE Jumper Recovered and Identified

Posted at March 26th, 2014
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At approximately 11:00 am, March 25, 2014, a Search and Rescue (SAR) team consisting of members from Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and several volunteer climbers recovered a BASE jumper’s body from the West Temple area. http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/basejumperrecovered.htm

Second BASE Jumping Fatality at Zion National Park

Posted at March 24th, 2014
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This is the second BASE jumping fatality in Zion in just over a month. http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/secondbasejump.htm

Trails Update – date posted Mar 21, 2014

Posted at March 21st, 2014
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South Rim trails are mostly snow and ice free. On the Tanner Trail there are still a couple of small icy patches in the Kaibab and Toroweap.

North Kaibab Trail: A small section of the North Kaibab Trail below Supai Tunnel was damaged in September 2013 due to heavy rain. The North Kaibab Trail is currently open to hikers but not to stock below Supai Tunnel. Hikers should use caution. The damaged section is very narrow, but passable. The trail crew has installed a handline to assist hikers when crossing the narrow section. The handline stretches across the length of the washout, and then some (about 15 to 16 feet). The Grand Canyon Trail Crew hopes to have the damaged section repaired by mid-May 2014.

Hikers without a permit can stop by the Backcountry Information Center to request a last minute permit. Last minute permits and waitlist numbers are issued by the Backcountry Information Center, located inside the park. The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily, year round, for walk-in visitors from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time. The North Rim Backcountry Information Center is open daily from mid-May to October 31 for walk-in visitors from 8 am to noon and 1-5 pm Mountain Standard Time.

Road Conditions for Remote Trailheads – date posted Mar 21 2014

Posted at March 21st, 2014
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After heavy summer rain (July and August) or winter snow (December through March), expect impassable backcountry roads. If clear skies abound after the rain or snow, then it is often just a matter of days until the sun dries everything out. Sometimes, heavy rain or melting snow can lead to flooding, which can cause erosion of the roadbed and can delay access. Snow accumulations have been very low in 2013/2014, so lower elevation dirt roads may be accessible.

Other considerations for visitors travelling on remote backcountry roads include high clearance, such as may be needed on Forest Road 328 to South Bass Trailhead (limestone ledges) and on the final approach to Toroweap overlook (sandstone knobs and ledges).

Finally, consider elevation of the road that you will be travelling on, especially during the winter months. Roads in the 6,500 to 8,000 foot range may be impassable due to a snowpack, where lower elevations roads (below 6,000 feet) will see deteriorated road conditions due to rain.

Always check road conditions with the Backcountry Information Center before heading out to remote trailheads, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, and be adaptable and prepared for the worst. High clearance, four-wheel drive is usually recommended for roads to remote trailheads.

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It is not uncommon for trees to fall and block access to remote trailheads. When you encounter a road blocked by fallen trees, what should you do?

  • Report the location and diameter of the tree to Grand Canyon park dispatch (928-638-7805) as soon as possible. The park will assign staff to clear the road.
  • If an appropriate (not blocking the road and not damaging vegetation) place to park is available, park your vehicle and continue to the trailhead on foot.
  • Do not drive off-road attempting to bypass the obstacle, doing so can cause resource damage.

Spring / Summer 2014 Backpacking Season – date posted Mar 21, 2014

Posted at March 21st, 2014
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If you would like to make an advance reservation to camp in the Grand Canyon, we need at least three weeks’ notice. If your planned hike is less than three weeks away, come in person to the Backcountry Information Center and request a walk-in permit. Availability of last minute permits is dependent on the season. The South Rim Backcountry Information Center is open year-round. The North Rim office is closed until mid-May.

Be prepared for winter hiking and expect icy trail conditions January, February, and March! Plan accordingly and prepare for winter conditions. Some trails are more difficult than others to navigate in the winter. Access to all dirt backcountry roads to remote trailheads on both canyon rims will range from difficult to impossible depending on recent snow or rain and daytime high temperature. Changing conditions make it impossible to generalize about the condition of specific roads or trails. Hikers considering traveling dirt roads to remote trailheads should contact the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest at 928-643-7395, the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest on the South Rim at 928-635-4061, or the Backcountry Information Center for current conditions.

March: Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campgrounds are full the last three weeks.

April: Spring is a delightful time of year for overnight hiking, and consequently most corridor and threshold use areas are at capacity.

May: Corridor campgrounds are full. Hiking outside the Corridor becomes inherently more risky, especially later in the month as temperatures start to climb above 100°F (38°C) at the Colorado River.

June, July, and August: Hiking outside the Corridor is not recommended due to extreme heat.

WARNING FOR JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST: Elevated hiking risk due to extreme summer heat. High temperatures at the bottom of the canyon in the shade range from 100°F to 115°F (35°C – 42°C). Low temperatures at the bottom of the canyon range from 70°F to 80°F (20°C – 25°C). Hikers entering the canyon in the middle of summer do so at their own risk. Keep hikes short and rest in the shade between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Better yet, start hikes early and plan on reaching your destination or exiting the canyon no later than 10 am. Flash flood and lightning risks remain elevated until the end of the monsoon season, usually in early September. Hike Smart! Visit www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-smart.htm for more info.

Options for hikers who are unable to obtain a backcountry permit in advance:

  • Get a permit at the park. A limited number of last minute walk-up permits are available for Corridor Campgrounds (Indian Garden, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood Campgrounds) at the Backcountry Information Center. These permits are issued in person only, are for one or two consecutive nights, and cannot be purchased more than one day prior to the start of a hike. Review information on our website (www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm) or contact us at (928) 638-7875 between 1 pm and 5 pm Monday through Friday
  • Day Hike: No permit needed to day hike. Weather and trail conditions are variable and can change dramatically from one hour to the next. Plan Ahead and Prepare. (more info)

North Rim (Kaibab Plateau / Highway 67 / North Kaibab Trailhead):The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is closed to vehicles for the winter season until May 15. The park’s group campsite and a yurt can be reserved until April 15. You must obtain your backcountry permit prior to arrival. Backcountry permits for North Rim winter hikes can be obtained from the South Rim Backcountry Information Center, at Pipe Springs National Monument, or at the BLM Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah. Locations near the 8,000 foot level such as Pt. Sublime, high elevation access to Nankoweap, and the North Bass Trailhead will not be accessible until road beds have dried and downed trees have been removed, often in late May, but possibly as late as mid-June.

Zion Canyon Scenic Drive Traffic Control during the Last Three Weekends of March

Posted at March 14th, 2014
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Zion National Park’s shuttle bus system does not begin operation until April 1, 2014. http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/traffic-control-march.htm

Zion NP, Cedar Breaks NM and Pipe Spring NM Tourism Creates $193 Million in Local Economic Benefit

Posted at March 4th, 2014
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Report shows visitor spending supports 2,394 jobs in local economy http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/parks-economic-benefit.htm