Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zion Announces New Drop-In Volunteer Program

Excited to see the Park creating short-term opportunities for visitors to connect with Zion in a different way. It would help if they mentioned what types of project they will work on; even if they simply offered some examples, it would help folks get an idea of this is for them. It’s easy to imagine this type of program becoming very popular, if well supported. I think many people would love to say, “We went hiking on Monday, then on Tuesday we joined up with the ZNP firefighters to clear brush up at Lave Point.” Fun to be part of something larger within a Park System so many love so dearly. ********** Zion National Park Announces Weekly Drop-in Volunteer Program Date: June 9, 2011 Contact: Jessica Kusky, 435-772-0184 Contact: Marc Neidig, 435-772-0164 On June 10, Zion National Park will begin a weekly volunteer program for the public. This program provides visitors and local residents with the opportunity to complete projects that improve the park’s appearance, enhance visitor experiences, and contribute to resource management efforts. Volunteerism is a wonderful way to help preserve Zion National Park while sharing an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Drop-in volunteer opportunities will be offered every Friday … Continue reading

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May Courses Still Open at Zion Canyon Field Institute

Zion Canyon Field Institute still has some great course offerings for the month of May. On May 13, ZCFI travels up the plateau to enjoy the Wildflowers of Kolob Canyons with instructor, Walt Fertig. We stay in Kolob the next week to learn the geology with Dr. Mark Colberg (Southern Utah University) in our Kolob Geology course. On May 20, and again on the 28th, we do an extended hike on Zion’s East Rim in Rim to Floor. And there’s more botany on May 21 with Walt Fertig in the Hanging Gardens of Zion. So, “Come Hike in Our Classroom.” All classes meet at the Zion Human History Museum on #1 Museum Drive in Zion National Park OR at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, 3752 E. Kolob Canyon Rd., New Harmony. Zion Canyon Field Institute is the educational arm of Zion Natural History Association and all classes are fee-based.  For more information or to register contact Michael Plyler (435 772 3264 or plyler.zcfi@ or visit our website and click on Field Institute.  

Posted in Local Events, Natural History, Plants, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Condor Update from Marker Marshall of Grand Canyon NP

Have you ever seen a California Condor? They are simply spectacular. My best and favorite condor encounter was while biking on Gooseberry Mesa. We had stopped to rest and and snack along the cliff edge near The Point, and as we lounged and soaked in the sun, two condors floated in and rode the updrafts around us for a while. They were enormous, other-worldly, wild, free birds looking decidedly uninterested in us, but definitely purposeful on some mystery task. What a treat to see these rare birds, right there in front of us. I have seen condors other times, most reliable at the observation station in the Vermillion Cliffs area. When my wife and I first visited, we read the sign, which said we could expect to see California Condors above the cliffs, and thought that was ridiculous. Imagine being a few miles down a dirt road, with nobody around, in the middle of nowhere, and trying to believe a sign that says one of the rarest birds on Earth will show up sometime in the next hour or so. We went for a hike to find an old pioneer spring nearby, and lo and behold, on our hike back … Continue reading

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Will Zion Be Open in Case of A Government Shutdown?

As time counts down for Washington lawmakers to pass a budget, we’ve tried to compile some information on a possible federal government shutdown and what to do if you plan to travel to Zion this weekend or next week. The Zion area is a patchwork of federal and state lands; a shutdown would restrict access to hikers and tourists in some, but not all, federally-managed areas. Please note: Agencies do not announce their FULL plans until after the shutdown occurs (midnight Friday), but this information has been passed along and mentioned as the best information so far. Would Zion National Park be closed? Yes, Zion National Park would be the resource most affected by the shutdown. Visitors would be allowed about 48 hours to leave the Park. During a shutdown, the Park shuttle system, bathrooms, campgrounds, Visitor Center and parking lots are closed. The scenic drive would be gated, but Highway 9 would be open to through traffic. No parking would be allowed along the highway during a closure. Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park would also be closed in a shutdown. Are there other recreation options in the Zion Area? The good news is, there are … Continue reading

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The Mouse

The blog has been quieter lately for a wonderful reason: Maya and I gave birth to an amazing baby boy on March 5th. At 6 lbs. 1 oz., he emerged pretty tiny, which made for a fast a furious grand entrance into the Outer World. The little guy doesn’t have an official name yet, but he’s been going by “Mouse” amongst other appellations. Despite all the horror stories folks like to share, not all babies are crying mystery machines. Mouse is super chill, loves to stretch, makes good pirate faces, and has really cute sneezes. Though Maya does spend a good number of hours awake feeding each night, we have been lucky to have solid 3-4 hour stretches of sleep already, which is sweeeeeeeet. Consider yourselves formally introduced to my newest, and biggest, adventure yet. Click on the photo for more pictures!

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Narrows Campsites Closed Pending Post-Flood Inspection

After the big floods in December, Narrows campsites will be closed until the Park Service can send some rangers up (or, more likely, down) to inspect the damage. Here’s the official word from ZNP: Zion Narrows Campsites Closed Date: March 1, 2011 Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811 Contact: Ray O’Neil, 435-772-7823 All of the campsites located in the Narrows of Zion National Park are closed until further notice. Park rangers believe that many of the backcountry sites were affected by this winter’s floods. These campsites will remain closed until park rangers can safely enter the area, assess the damage and perform any rehabilitation work that the sites may need. In late December 2010, heavy rains caused extensive flooding on the North Fork of the Virgin River, including the Narrows. The flow rate for the river was measured at 6,000 cubic feet per second, the highest recorded rate since the campsites were created. Twelve designated backcountry campsites were created in the Narrows in the early 1990s in an effort to concentrate visitor impacts at specific locations and create a more enjoyable trip for visitors. The Zion Narrows is closed to hikers each spring due to high water from snow melt. In an … Continue reading

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Volunteer Visit to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

What has 600 eyes, 300 tails and 1200 legs? These overwhelming proportions belong to no single beast, but to the population of Dog Town at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Just 20 minutes east of Zion, Best Friends is America’s largest sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals. This nationaly-reknowned no-kill animal sanctuary is home to horses, pigs, cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, goats, and a few other animals, too, a veritable Noah’s Ark for animals in need. In 2010, Best Friends was visited by 30,000 people, helped by 8500 volunteers, and had a membership of 300,000. On my first volunteer trip, I went ready to do grunt work, clean stuff, and get dirty. I chose to work with the dogs. Upon arrival, I learned that loving dogs and walking dogs are two of the biggest ongoing contributions wanted and needed from volunteers. This seemed “too easy” at first; reluctantly, I agreed to let go of my attachment to grunt work and embrace being an animal lover. After a few minutes being gazed at, leaned on, and wagged at by several dogs, their appreciation of my effort was obvious. It made sense, and honestly made it easy for me to … Continue reading

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Awesome Waterfall Images from Photographer Bill Ratcliffe

Took a break from the flood news to enjoy a link Lanell shared with me of some fantastic photos of Zion’s current water world from photographer, Bill Ratcliffe. Check out his images on rattybill’s photostream on Flickr. Glad to see someone is out in the Park capturing the majestic side of all the watery madness, along with other great landscapes in southwest Utah. Kudos, Bill!

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Update on Flooding in Zion and Springdale

The sense of impending doom has eased quite a bit since yesterday morning, as river levels have come down quite a bit and the Trees Ranch Dam has evidently been holding strong. Folks have been bringing staged sandbags back to the supply station, and the atmosphere is definitely more relaxed. We are feeling pretty lucky to be near the top of the Virgin River watershed, as some folks downstream in Rockville, Virgin, St. George, Toquerville, Beaver Dam, Enterprise, etc. are having a much rougher go of it. After peaking around 5,300 cfs yesterday, the Springdale river gauge fell consistently overnight to under 1,000 at midday, today. It has been raining lightly today and the river is shooting back up at the moment, but the forecast is for a peak around 4,000 cfs, much better than yesterday’s 5,300 cfs. Zion National Park continues to be closed, though the Visitor’s Center was open this afternoon to provide information, answer visitor questions, etc. Expecting another river surge this afternoon, the Park expects will be closed at least through today, possibly into tomorrow. The Park hopes to open to road traffic tomorrow, but staff will need to survey road infrastructures to ensure everything is … Continue reading

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Virgin River Flooding, Zion Closed, Rockville and Virgin Evacuated

After 4 straight days of heavy rain, the Virgin River is rising to impressive and dangerous levels in Zion. While the river’s typical volume this time of year is under 100 cubic feet/second, the river almost reached 6000 cfs this afternoon… and the forecast for rain continues through tomorrow. Things are pretty scary here, as Mother Nature lets it all loose. The Park Service has closed and evacuated the Zion National Park, partially triggered by erosional failure of part of the Zion Scenic Drive road. This morning, Rockville mayor Alan Brown declared a State of Emergency and many Rockville residents began evacuating their homes, fearful the raging Virgin River will breach the Trees Ranch dam and rise over the flood bank and into town. As of an hour ago, the dam is reported to have a partial breach, though evidently it is still holding. Perhaps a slow breach is better than a fast one? I’m unsure how breaches work, but in any case it sounds like bad news. Below is the view from Zion Canyon Sanctuary, where Mayor Brown lives, earlier this morning… If you are coming to Zion for any reason, please keep yourself informed of the latest news … Continue reading

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