Category Archives: In the News

Government Shutdown Closes Zion National Park

Article Written By Laura Dahl Dateline: October 7, Springdale, UT National Parks around the country closed their gates to visitors on October 1, 2013 as a result of the Federal Government Shutdown. Government Shutdown…what does that mean for Zion? Zion National Park is closed to all recreation and visitation for the duration of the government shutdown. All services, including the shuttle system, visitors center, human history museum, bathrooms, parking lots and campgrounds have been suspended during this time as well. Zion Lodge is also closed. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive from Canyon Junction to Zion Lodge is also closed. How long will the Shutdown last? There is really no way to know how long this round of government shutdown will last. Historically, shutdowns have lasted anywhere from hours to days, with the longest federal government shutdown lasting 21 days in 1995. Can I drive through Zion National Park? Utah State Route 9 (Mount Carmel Highway) will remain open to automobiles and motorcycles driving through the Park. This route is closed to large vehicles including recreational vehicles, large trailers, and buses. Enjoy the scenery as you drive through the Park. Please be respectful of closure rules. Do not use pullouts, or … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Grand Canyon, Guided Events, In the News, Lake Powell, Local Events, Zion | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

American Canyoneers Elects New Official Board

American Canyoneers, a non-profit canyoneering organization promoting canyon access, environmental protection, and safety, transitioned from its initial Interim Board of Directors to its first regular Board of Directors after its the membership voted in July. You can meet the new American Canyoneers Board of Directors on their website… or maybe you’ll bump into one of them in a canyon somewhere. Thanks to the outgoing interim Board for their initiative and leadership over the last nine months. It is incredibly difficult to get a non-profit going starting with zero budget or staff, but this group made it happen, and they seem to be doing it the right way with 501c3 status, good transparency, and member support. Joining American Canyoneers is a great way to support canyoneering, and it only costs $5! If you’re interested, join American Canyoneers and get involved.

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Landslide Closes Hidden Canyon Trail

A teenager recently asked me, “Do big rocks fall ever fall down here?” Looking around most anyplace in Zion, and you can see that MANY big rocks have fallen from the canyon walls over time. Because we seldom see rockfall, however, it’s easy to forget where all the boulders on the ground came from. When the Hidden Canyon slide happened last week, it was a great reminder that geology happens all the time… even on actively used trails, in the middle of the day. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Thanks to Zion’s rangers for helping the stranded hikers out, and for the inevitable work that will need to be done to restore the Hidden Canyon Trail. Until then… it’s a good thing there are lots of other 5-star trail to hike around here. Here’s the news release from the Park Service: Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth announced today that the Hidden Canyon Trail is currently closed due to a rockslide that occurred on Wednesday evening, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. The rockslide covered a narrow section of the trail with debris trapping 11 park visitors behind it for approximately three hours. Once the debris movement settled down, park rangers set … Continue reading

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American Canyoneers Now Open to New Members (Take Two)

A few weeks ago, I posted an appeal for new members from American Canyoneers, a fairly new organization founded to take positive, progressie action on access and education issues in the U.S. canyoneering sphere. Just as American Canyoneers issued their membership appeal, however, their PayPal payment gateway stopped working, turning away many folks excited to join. I’m pleased to say the payment gateway problems have been resolved, and anybody interested can now join American Canyoneers via their Membership Page. At $5 for the first year, can you really go wrong? And by joining in this first, formative year, you’ll have the opportunity to shape and hone the organization’s mission and initiatives, an important and difficult task for this all-volunteer organization. Thanks to the interim board at American Canyoneers for persevering through the early organizational processes and bringing about the first Board Election this summer. The canyoneering community owes is in your debt.

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Grand Canyoneering Film Makes Splash at Telluride

Dan Ransom’s 22-minute documentary, “Last of the Great Unknown,” is receiving great reviews on the adventure film documentary circuit this summer. The Aspen Times wrote a nice review in anticipation of the 5Point Film Festival (April 26 – 29) and Outside Magazine picked “Last of the Great Unknown” as one of it’s Top Ten Documentaries from the Mountainfilm Festival (Memorial Day weekend) in Telluride. The acclaimed Banff Mountain Film Festival (Oct 27 – Nov 4) has yet to make final film selections, but will announce them on their website at the end of July. Here’s hoping Ransom and canyoneering get to show their stuff in that great annual showcase of fine outdoor films.

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American Canyoneers Appeal for Membership

I first met Wolfgang Schuster when he brought his family to Zion for a canyoneering course in 2007. An ex-fighter pilot with laser focus and a wry humor, Wolf calls it like he sees it and loves to get straight to the point. Wolf quickly became hooked on canyons, and over the years, we have gotten together for some great canyoneering trips. This last winter, Wolf stunned me by sticking his neck out and leading the charge in establishing a new not-for-profit canyoneering organization, American Canyoneers, dedicated to improving access problems and relationships between land managers and the public in the canyoneering world. Wolf and a cadre of other dedicated volunteers have impressed me with their professional approach to setting up the organization, outlining their mission, gaining 501c3 status, and creating a board representing a wide swath of the canyoneering community. Kudos to everyone involved. Taking a professional approach to founding American Canyoneers also meant it took some time, so AC was waited until now to formally organize a membership drive. The time has come, however, so please take a moment to look into the organization. If the “ACES” mission fits with your own, please consider joining to help play … Continue reading

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ZAC Makes the Cover of St. George Magazine

St. George Magazine did a story on “adventure in Southern Utah” for their May issue, and we made the cover! Well, one of our clients made the cover, and one of our guides was on the other side of the lens (we still aren’t sure who). Writer Lisa Larson interviewed Shelley Buckingham, our outfitting manager, for the piece, and they have a slimmed-down version of the article online. It’s much better to see all the great pictures though, so check out the virtual magazine for the best viewing experience. 5 Local Tours to Enjoy in Our Backyard By Lisa Larson Living in the red rock beauty of Southern Utah, it’s easy to take the nearness of these natural wonders for granted. While there are countless tourists from around the world that descend on national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon, recreation spots such as Lake Powell and a variety of slot canyons, it’s remarkable the number of locals who have yet to experience all that Southern Utah has to offer.   For those who are unsure where to begin, there are a variety of guided and self-guided tours available, whether you’re looking for adventure, history or serenity. Living … Continue reading

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Interesting Weather Coming to Zion This Weekend

The National Weather Service is predicting some interesting weather in Southern Utah this weekend, including: • Record-breaking warm temperatures on Saturday • Strong winds, with 40 – 65 MPH wind gusts Saturday afternoon/evening • A drastic (25 – 40 degrees F) drop in temperature overnight, with valley rain and mountain snow on Sunday If you are thinking, “Oh no… Looks like a horrible weekend in Zion,” think again! Zion is often at it’s best during turbulent weather, and this weekend looks like a fantastic opportunity to see Zion in full splendor. Interesting weather is great for photography, especially if Zion Canyons gets iced with snow on Sunday morning, which dramatically accents all the cliffs and crags. And Saturday looks like it will be BEAUTIFUL, full-on shorts-and-tshirts weather. So come up or down or however YOU get to Zion, and we’ll be happy to greet you for the natural festivities, whatever they are!

Posted in In the News, Seasonal, Spring, Weather & Climate, Zion National Park | Tagged , | Comments Off

BYU Offers Canyon Gear Prizes for Accident Info

Dr. Steve Kugath, a professor in the Outdoor Recreation Department at BYU-Idaho, recently announced a “accident info for gear” opportunity worth checking out. I haven’t heard about this project before, but ostensibly it will help gather and aggregate information about who, how, when, why canyoneers get into trouble out there. For each entry you submit (one entry per accident/incident), you are thrown into the hopper for a chance to win one of the prizes (see below). The survey says it takes 15-20 minutes to fill out, but a thorough job would probably take more like 30 – 60 minutes. Not sure how they will prevent folks from entering sparse submission just to rack up their odds of winning prizes, but hopefully the spirit of the effort will prevail and they’ll get lots of good data. Here’s Steve’s announcement: Hey Canyoneers! We’re developing a Canyoneering Accident/Near Miss/Epic Database. Information collected will be made available to the public for free. Our goal of the project is to educate and encourage safe canyoneering practice. The data base will include synopses and analysis of accidents/near misses/epics; group member’s names will not be included so don’t be shy about reporting your mishaps. In addition all the reports will … Continue reading

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“Last of the Great Unknown” Premieres in Phoenix, 4/24

Last week, I posted the trailer for Dan Ransom’s new documentary film, “Last of the Great Unknown,” and promised to post when the premiere was announced. Ransom has decided to premiere the film April 24th in Phoenix, AZ, in honor of the late Ioana Elise Hociota. Hociaota died tragically in an accident deep in the Grand Canyon in February, and proceeds from the premiere will fund a ASU scholarship endowment in her name. You can find all the details at the film website. If you can make it, get out to support the film, the scholarship fund, and the memory of a spirited adventurer… it promises to be a memorable event and an impressive film.

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