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Backcountry rules in flux

ZION National Park officials are revamping the rules for backcountry use in the spectacular but heavily used Utah canyon park.

Following a series of public hearings last week, National Park Service officials will continue to accept written comments through Oct. 7.

Officials seek suggestions on topics to be considered in the Zion Backcountry Management Plan, which is in the early stages of development.

“We only do this every 10 or 15 years. It’s very significant. The management of the backcountry is going to change,” says park ranger Ray O’Neil.

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In particular, he says the Park Service will take a close look at whether to allow more permits for visitors who seek to explore Zion’s narrow slot canyons.

Among the issues addressed in the plan are access to backcountry canyons, group-size limits, commercial guiding, preservation of wilderness and protection of natural and cultural resources.

For details, visit www.nps.gov/zion or call (435) 772-7827.

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-- Gary Polakovic


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