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Archive for July, 2013

Virgin River Management Plan Open for Public Comment

Posted at July 29th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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The plan addresses management and protection of those river segments that were added to the National Wild and Scenic River System in 2009. http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/vr_mngt_plan_comment.htm

Road Conditions for Remote Trailheads – date posted Jul 24, 2013

Posted at July 24th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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The North Rim has received almost 4 inches of rain in the past eight days and as a result the Basin Road (N-1) and the Kanabownits Road (N-4) to Point Sublime and Swamp Point are really muddy. Travel on these roads is not advised at this time due to deep mud and heavy erosion. With more rain in the forecast, the situation may not improve anytime soon. Check with the North Rim Backcountry Information Center before heading out to a remote trailhead. Always be prepared for emergency situations, and carry extra food and water.

After heavy rains, usually during the summer (July and August) and winter (December through March) months, expect impassable backcountry roads. If clear skies abound after the rain, then it is often just a matter of days until the sun dries everything out. Sometimes, heavy rain can lead to flooding, which can cause erosion of the roadbed and can delay access.

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.

Report from the North Rim – date posted Jul 24, 2013

Posted at July 24th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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The North Rim has received almost 4 inches of rain in the past eight days and as a result the Basin Road (N-1) and the Kanabownits Road (N-4) to Point Sublime and Swamp Point are really muddy. Travel on these roads is not advised at this time due to deep mud and heavy erosion. With more rain in the forecast, the situation may not improve anytime soon. Check with the North Rim Backcountry Information Center before heading out to a remote trailhead. Always be prepared for emergency situations, and carry extra food and water.

The last day for most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2013. The National Park Service will continue its operations including the North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore, as well as the Backcountry Permits Office through October 31. November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use (no overnight parking) only unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. From November 1 through December 1 pay-at-the-pump gas and diesel will still be available and visitors will continue to have access to Point Imperial and Bright Angel viewpoints, as well as the North Kaibab Trailhead. Camping will be available to those that walk or hike in (no car camping) at the North Rim Campground and Yurt, provided a backcountry use permit has been obtained – these permits will continue to be available through the South Rim Backcountry Information Center, and at the visitor Center at Pipe Spring National Monument located in Fredonia, Arizona.

Hiking Podcast Updated – date posted Jul 24, 2013

Posted at July 24th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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The Backcountry Information Center has updated the Hiking Podcast. The most recent podcast covers some tips for hiking in the extreme heat of the inner canyon; tips that can mean the difference between an enjoyable hike and a potentially fatal one. Visit the Grand Canyon Podcast Directory (www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/podcasts.htm) for more information or to subscribe. Additionally the update can be heard on the Backcountry Audiocast page (www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/bc_audiocasts.htm). A transcript of the update is posted on the Backcountry Audiocast page.

Summer and Fall 2013 Backpacking Season – date posted Jul 22, 2013

Posted at July 22nd, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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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 open from mid-May to October 31. Permits for the North Rim and the Arizona Strip are also available at Pipe Springs National Monument or the BLM Interagency Visitor Center in St. George, Utah.

August: Permits are easily obtained last minute at the park. There are very few hikers in remote areas. Most summer use occurs at the inner canyon campgrounds (Indian Garden, Bright Angel, and Cottonwood). Warning: 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). Flash flood and lightning risks remain high until the end of the monsoon, usually in early September.

September: This month marks the traditional start to the busy fall hiking season even though the average temperature is still near 100°F (38°C) at the canyon floor. Thunderstorms are possible the first half of the month with the second half trending towards dry. Bright Angel Campground is full, no advance reservations available.

October: One of the most desirable months to hike in the canyon, often dry with temperatures usually in the 80s F (27°C) at the canyon floor. Be prepared to share the trail. Bright Angel Campground is full, no advance reservations available.

November: A pleasant month to hike. Chance of precipitation increases, but still more dry than wet with temperatures often in the 70s F (21°C) at the bottom of the canyon. Cottonwood trees turn brilliant yellow along inner canyon stream corridors. Short-lived ice may cover roads and trails after an early winter storm passes over. Bright Angel Campground is full the first week of the month.

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 (more info)
  • 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 last day for most concessioner services and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs will be October 15, 2013. The National Park Service will continue its operations, including the Backcountry Permits Office, through October 31. November 1 through December 1 the North Rim will be open for day use only (no overnight parking) unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. Starting November 1, camping will be available to those that walk or hike in (no car camping) at the North Rim Campground, provided a backcountry use permit has been obtained prior to arrival.

Be Aware of Lightning Danger – date posted Jul 22, 2013

Posted at July 22nd, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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Summer storms in the southwest are often accompanied by potentially deadly lightning. Visitors walking and hiking in the park are reminded that if they can hear thunder, they should consider ending outdoor activities. If the sound of thunder follows a lightning flash within 30 seconds, seek shelter inside a building or vehicle. If this is not possible, move well away from high points such as ridges and the edge of the canyon. Do not seek shelter beneath tall trees.

For more on how to be “lightning smart” read the Lightning Danger Site Bulletin.

Hiking Podcast Updated – date posted Jul 10, 2013

Posted at July 11th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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The Backcountry Information Center has updated the Hiking Podcast. The most recent podcast covers all you need to know about Grand Canyon’s Backcountry Information Center and how to obtain a backcountry permit. Visit the Grand Canyon Podcast Directory (www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/podcasts.htm) for more information or to subscribe. Additionally the update can be heard on the Backcountry Audiocast page (www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/bc_audiocasts.htm). A transcript of the update is posted on the Backcountry Audiocast page.

Warning: Inner Canyon is Hot – date posted Jul 8, 2013

Posted at July 8th, 2013
Posted by Zion National Park Motel
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Temperatures are over 100 F (38 C) at the bottom of the canyon. Plan ahead and prepare. Read the Summer Hiking page.

For weather information visit http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=36.1000&lon=-112.0900

Interagency SAR Team Responds to Two Accidents in the Same Canyon over Three Days

Posted at July 8th, 2013
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The rescue was a success due to the resources and cooperation of all agencies involved. http://www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/sar_respondstwice_7_5_13.htm