Zion Narrows Trail Permanently Protected

For the First Time, Public Access Through Iconic Trail is Ensured, Forever

December 17, 2019

The Trust for Public Land today announced the entirety of the iconic Zion Narrows Trail, which runs in and along Zion National Park, has now been permanently protected thanks to its partnership with the State of Utah, Washington County, U.S. Forest Service, private landowners and other partners including the National Park Foundation and a generous gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Known for its slot canyons and towering walls which are a thousand feet tall in places, hiking this sixteen-mile trail is considered the quintessential Zion experience, and is one of the most famous hikes in the world.

 

With today’s announcement, the last unprotected mile along the trail ensures that visitors to Zion National Park will have uninterrupted access to the world-famous Zion Narrows Tail. It also means that the encompassing 880 acres of upland on the edge of the park will remain undeveloped.

 

“Our iconic national parks, like Zion, represent this country at our best,” said Diane Regas, CEO of The Trust for Public Land.  “It took extraordinary commitment from many partners with diverse views to protect this majestic place for people, and shows we can do tremendous things when we work together. The permanent protection of the Zion Narrows Trail will give people the opportunity to experience this special place, in perpetuity.”

 

Zion National Park is the third most visited national park in the country and is celebrating its centennial this year. The Trust for Public Land has a long history of working with partners to protect and expand the park. The Trust for Public Land was responsible for protecting a 35-acre inholding along the popular Hop Valley Trail in 2018 in partnership with the National Park Foundation and the National Park Trust. In 2013 The Trust for Public Land protected Tabernacle Dome and the 300-acre Chamberlin Ranch, which includes the trailhead by which the Zion Narrows Trail is accessed.

 

“To experience the Zion Narrows Trail is to experience something out of this world,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation commends the State of Utah, Washington County, U.S. Forest Service, the Trust for Public Land, and the Eccles Foundation for their leadership in protecting this trail in its entirety and increasing access to it.”

 

This project protects not only the one-mile segment of trail in the Zion Narrows, but it also protects 880 acres of land adjacent to the National Park through a Conservation Easement. The landowner has voluntarily entered into a perpetual conservation easement with the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. Funding for the acquisition was provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, Washington County,  LeRay McAllister Critical Lands Conservation Fund administered by the Quality Growth Commission of Utah, National Park Foundation, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation and Federal Highway Administration's, Recreational Trails Program and others. 

 

Across the country, there is a significant amount of privately-owned land in and around our national parks that is at risk of development, raising concerns about preserving the sanctity of these special places. Known as inholdings and edgeholdings, these properties can also make management challenging and impact visitor experience by creating unsuitable development or blocking public access. According to recent research from The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, 9.52 million acres of public land are “landlocked,” including 264,000 acres in Utah.  In recent years, The Trust for Public Land has also protected land for the public inside and around many other popular national parks around the country including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and Saguaro national parks. This project is the 206th project The Trust for Public Land has completed within or at the boundaries of a national park.

 

According to a newly released economic analysis, the National Park System brings more than $40 billion in the US economy. The report also cites that 300,000 jobs are generated through tourism to national parks. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation economy generates 110,000 jobs in Utah and $12.3 billion in consumer spending. Zion National Park is the third most visited park in the country and in 2018, 4.3 million park visitors spent an estimated $246 million in local gateway regions while visiting Zion National Park, according to data from the National Park Service. These expenditures supported a total of 4,130 jobs, $95.6 million in labor income, $168 million in value added, and $327 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Zion National Park.

 

“Our family is pleased to work with The Trust for Public Land and partners from Utah and beyond to share and protect this unique place for future generations,” said the Bulloch Family, the sellers of the newly protected property, “The Zion Narrows trail attracts visitors from around the World and we are happy that it will now be properly protected and managed in its entirety. We are proud to formally share this area with the world both now and into the future.”

 

The Trust for Public Land will continue to work to protect the land in and around Zion National Park and ensure that trails across the country are protected in perpetuity.

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About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

 

About The National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

 

About The Forest Legacy Program

 

The Forest Legacy Program is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with the State agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easement or land purchases. To learn more about the Forest Legacy Program visit https://www.fs.fed.us/managing-land/private-land/forest-legacy