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Feelings about Zion Interim Use Limits

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Tom Jones, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    Its been an interesting month, researching Wilderness and Solitude, and preparing to lobby Zion Park hard. I had mixed feelings about the issue, but I really do not anymore, and I wanted to provoke some conversation on the subject, because I am somewhat dissappointed with us'all's lackluster response on the issue.

    Here's some thoughts on the issue:

    1. Y'all should be outraged. You, canyoneers, are being carefully targeted to be excluded from the backcountry of Zion for no reason.

    2. The science on the subject is very clear. Yes, nobody likes crowding, and most backcountry users would prefer the *ideal* of not encountering other groups, but in *all* cases, including some very crowded Wilderness areas, the people will take access over use limits.

    3. Solitude is achieved by most National Park Visitors regardless of how many social encounters they have. (You get it? They want to limit access to increase solitude, but those darn visitors, they seem to experience solitude no matter what!)

    4. I like having canyons to myself. But quite frankly, in my 120 days or so of canyoneering in Zion, I have had exactly one (1) unpleasant social encounter (obnoxious youth group). Yes, I've had to wait at Mystery Springs a few times, and at the last rappel in Pine Creek.

    5. A certain small percentage of Wilderness Visitors has a bad time if they encounter ANY other group. These people expect to not encounter others, and have a cow if they do. A few of these people have complained to the Park. (In the Wilderness Solitude studies, this represents between 5% and 25% of the population).

    6. I personally don't mind sharing, and I think people that do are small-minded snivellers. If you are really interested in being by yourself in Zion on Labor Day weekend, go someplace other than Mystery Canyon.

    7. Managing the technical Zion Backcountry to minimize complaints from the small-minded snivellers is idiotic. I think that is what is happening.

    8. I hope people realize that the park staff, from the rangerettes behind the desk to Ray and Cindy, are caught in the middle on this. The orders are coming down from above, and Ray and Cindy can either deal with it (and us), or quit. So don't give them a hard time, write the Superintendant.

    9. C'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now, right now, right now.......

    10. People do not really like to complain. When restrictions are imposed on Wilderness Users, the less-tolerant of restrictions types of users go elsewhere, and more-tolerant types move in. Stands to reason.

    I'm starting a poll to assess where people stand. Since I, too, have mixed feelings, please check as many boxes as are true for you.

    Any comments? Please be provoked.

    Tom
  2. Kris Nosack

    Kris Nosack Guest

    Tom, good comments. And since you asked for input, here's mine:

    I've only been actively canyoneering for 2 years and I've blindly accepted Zion's backcountry permit system for canyoneering since compliance wasn't onerous and $5 is cheap and having to sign in with the Park seemed a good safety measure. But the Interim Use Limits propsed for 2003 went too far and I learned a lot more about these policies through this forum and by joining the ZCC. And the more I learned, the more I felt that the Park's policies are unjustifiable and unfair toward canyoneering.

    I know Brian is going to shush me, but why are canyoneers singled out for regulation but climbers are not? I can think of some reasons like:

    1. A larger portion of canyoneers are novices and go into the canyons unprepared (thus requiring rescue)

    2. The nature of canyons means once you drop in you're committed whereas climbing it may be apparant from the first pitch that climb is over your capability

    3. Climbers are a more organized community that the Park must reckon with if climbing policies are changed (a simple matter of resistance)

    My opinion is that climbers enjoy greater freedom (less restrictions) in Zion mostly because of item 3. That's why I joined the ZCC and why I'm volunteering my time to help with this cause by being on the ZCC board. The ZCC is focused specifically on Zion access issues. As canyoneers we've let the Park dictate policy with no resistance so they've set policy that serves their interests - it's just human nature, folks! I fully support the ZCC's stance of "try for cooperation, but present a firm stand for reasonable canyoneering access". The ZCC is not radical, but passionate and concerned. Sure, some ground has been lost in Zion as we've sat idly by, but all is not lost and now is the time to stand up.

    The 2003 Interim Use Limits are a wake-up call. The Zion Wilderness plan (which is being formed and will be finalized within the next year or two), is the where Park policy will be set in stone. Zion will also be getting a new Superintendent soon. I urge you all to take this issue very seriously and spread the word. Now is the crucial time for deciding the future of canyoneering in Zion and you are here now so don't let this opportunity to make a difference pass you by. I, for one, plan on taking my children down the canyons in Zion, but that won't happen if I sit on the sidelines now.

    The more I've read, the more it's clear that the Park's position is not supported by the Wilderness Act, scientific studies or their own General Plan. (Let me expound: The General Plan "suggests" a lot of things, but the specifics and final decisions are seldom spelled out. Again, the Wilderness plan will be the more specific document.)

    In the emotional, I'm offended and, frankly, pissed off that the Park has set in place policies and restrictions that affect canyoneers with little to no input from us. Furthermore, the Park has singled out canyoneering for restriction while other activities are left alone. And as far as I can tell, there is no good reason for these discriminatory actions (but then I can't be sure because the Park makes so little effort to communicate why they take these actions). Folks, I think we have been ignored long enough. It's time to make some noise so the Park will notice us and consider our viewpoint.

    - Kris Nosack
  3. Eugene Ahn

    Eugene Ahn Guest

    I just sent in a letter to the Park about this very issue, and echo Tom's point by point take on the proposals. Well if letter writing campaigns should fail, I suppose a class action lawsuit might make them think a little harder too. Not that I want to be grouped in the same class as snowmobilers (who are presently suing park officials for recent limits placed).



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  4. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Guest

    I wouldn't normally bother to respond through this forum (I would prefer to make my opinions known directly to the people who are making the regulations), but since you asked...

    I seem to be in the minority of people who actually support the idea of restricted access. The canyons of Zion are a limited resource. I would personally prefer that they not be overcrowded. I don't really know how many people constitute overcrowding, certainly that is very subjective, but I can live with reasonable limitations. Perhaps issuing permits every two hours would make more sense than only once a day - surely there must be ways to handle the problem that are not too onerous.

    It is a sad fact that we do not have nearly enough wild places left in this country (or to rephrase - we have far too many people for the resources we have). Restrictions on our use of those resources is common and growing. I don't like it, but I am willing to live with it. If I want to hike in the Sierras I get a permit. If none are available, I don't hike. If I want to camp in Yosemite, bike the White Rim, or raft the Colorado, I get a permit. I really hate it when no permits are available but I don't 'poach' these areas any more than I would 'poach' a canyon.

    I suspect that access restrictions to all sorts of outdoor activities are here to stay. One way we might be able to reduce their severity is to be good stewards of the land. I think that for canyoneers being good stewards would involve removing trash (including bolts and slings), staying on trails, practicing low impact sanitation, and volunteering with projects in the park.

    Rather than fighting the inevitable, we should strive to be part of the management team. To that end, I think the progress being made through the various access committees is commendable.

    By the way,has anyone else noticed that many of the people who are so in favor of keeping new canyon beta secret are also the ones who don't want THEIR access limited in the well known canyons?

    Yours contrarily,

    Tim Hoover



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  5. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    Thank you for speaking up. This forum would be better with a greater diversity of viewpoints expressed.

    Tom



    --- In canyons@y..., Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@y...> wrote: > I wouldn't normally bother to respond through this > forum (I would prefer to make my opinions known > directly to the people who are making the > regulations), but since you asked...
    I seem to be in the minority of people who actually > support the idea of restricted access. The canyons of > Zion are a limited resource. I would personally > prefer that they not be overcrowded. I don't really > know how many people constitute overcrowding, > certainly that is very subjective, but I can live with > reasonable limitations. Perhaps issuing permits every > two hours would make more sense than only once a day - > surely there must be ways to handle the problem that > are not too onerous.
    It is a sad fact that we do not have nearly enough > wild places left in this country (or to rephrase - we > have far too many people for the resources we have). > Restrictions on our use of those resources is common > and growing. I don't like it, but I am willing to > live with it. If I want to hike in the Sierras I get > a permit. If none are available, I don't hike. If I > want to camp in Yosemite, bike the White Rim, or raft > the Colorado, I get a permit. I really hate it when > no permits are available but I don't 'poach' these > areas any more than I would 'poach' a canyon.
    I suspect that access restrictions to all sorts of > outdoor activities are here to stay. One way we might > be able to reduce their severity is to be good > stewards of the land. I think that for canyoneers > being good stewards would involve removing trash > (including bolts and slings), staying on trails, > practicing low impact sanitation, and volunteering > with projects in the park.
    Rather than fighting the inevitable, we should strive > to be part of the management team. To that end, I > think the progress being made through the various > access committees is commendable.
    By the way,has anyone else noticed that many of the > people who are so in favor of keeping new canyon beta > secret are also the ones who don't want THEIR access > limited in the well known canyons?
    Yours contrarily,
    Tim Hoover

    > > Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now. > http://mailplus.yahoo.com
  6. s_mestdagh

    s_mestdagh Guest

    --- In canyons@y..., Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@y...> wrote: <snip
    If I want to hike in the Sierras I get > a permit. If none are available, I don't hike. If I > want to camp in Yosemite, bike the White Rim, or raft > the Colorado, I get a permit. </snip>

    Hi Tim, I appreciate your viewpoint. Your examples above are special exceptions. Camping is limited in Yosemite, White Rim and in the Grand and restrictions make sense. The Zion case is different. Think about how this pans out in a few years if we don't fight it. You'll have to go to the permit granting office of your desired park (city, county, state, national park, national forest, BLM) and hope you get a day permit to hike, climb, boulder, hangout etc. If you live local to a park and want to go hiking/bouldering after work, you're screwed. "Sorry Sir, the permits ran out at 7:50 am this morning. You should have seen the line and on a Tuesday no less. They were like lemmings, they were. Please try back tomorrow, Sir."

    steve
  7. beadysee

    beadysee Guest

    --- In canyons@y..., "Kris Nosack" <kn@x> wrote: > I know Brian is going to shush me, but why are canyoneers singled out for regulation but climbers are not? I can think of some reasons like:

    Kris, shush. Whew, that's better...

    > 3. Climbers are a more organized community that the Park must reckon with if climbing policies are changed (a simple matter of resistance)
    My opinion is that climbers enjoy greater freedom (less restrictions) in Zion mostly because of item 3

    I think I disagree (but all good points, Kris. Now, "shush".)

    When climbers rappel, they are "retreating". How do canyoneers back off a canyon? Since most don't fix ropes to reascend, they have to retreat by, uhh, their primary activity, rappelling. So, risk for climbers seems lower in my opinion because they have a sort of safety net. They can bail.

    Weather gets bad? Climber's usually aren't in a water course. Minimal flash flood danger. Lightening? Different story but most of Zion's popular routes aren't as prone to lightening as the higher surrounding peaks.

    Climbing route gets crowded? Can see from the parkin' lot. Stay in the car or bus and try something different. In a canyon, you "run" into crowds, not usually see them before you start canyoneering.

    Want to see what climber's are up to, how much they effect the environment, etc? Set up across from Angel's Landing on the road with a spotting scope and a lawnchair and enjoy the show. All four or six of Zion's highest traffic climbing routes are right there and easy to monitor traffic and impact. Moonlight, Prodigal, Touchstone, Desert Shield, Lunar X, Shear Lunacy, Space Shot, all right there. How 'bout canyons? More spread out, less known.

    Want to know about climbing? Do a web search and see how many hits. Or search Amazon. Or ask to look under the desk in Zion at the route descriptions. Been around as an established and well published sport for a long time. Now, do the same with canyoneering. Relatively new (at least by that name). Not in the mainstream.

    And...ahem, climbers haven't sued Zion National Park or Washington County...

    Climbing routes aren't as much candidates for groups of 25 boy scouts or youth groups either. Largest parties you usually see is 2 or 3.

    Canyoneering, I'd argue, is a sport more prone to attract the casual outdoor folk who may not know risks. Heck, what can be so hard 'bout slidin' down a rope? Climbers "usually" have a bit more experience technically than a hiker that gets into canyoneering. Zion, for a climber, has a reputation as being a place to go after you've gained a bit of experience. By contrast, many budding canyoneers do their first canyon, and safely, in Zion.

    Fatalities. Climbers: 3? Spread over 90 years? Prior to the Spaceshot mishap, most recent death was at night. So, makes sense that to be safer, most climbers doin' a day climb desire an early start. Finish in the daylight. As opposed to the many folk who seem to routinely get benighted in a canyon without serious consequence... (surely easier to bivy in the level sand than hangin' in yer harness off a wall).

    Yeah, lets leave the climbers out of the access issues...(somewhat tongue in cheek). I don't think its because climbers have a better organized lobby group...

    Good stuff, Kris!

    Brian in SLC
  8. >>I seem to be in the minority of people who actually support the idea of restricted access. <<

    I would disagree with that. Many I have spoken with feel that some type of restriction might be required. The part that has many upset is the heavy handed approach Zion has used to implement their quota. No scientific study, no local input, no canyoneering input

    >>I can live with reasonable limitations. <<

    I agree, do you consider the current proposal to be "reasonable"? Just curious, I went to a couple of access meetings and the majority considered a quota acceptable but the quota numbers being discussed as reasonable for pristine canyons was double what Zion instituted.

    >>It is a sad fact that we do not have nearly enough wild places left in this country (or to rephrase - we have far too many people for the resources we have). <<

    Have to disagree here, folks just have to step outside the National Parks. I notice that all the crowded places you mention are in National Parks (Canyonlands, Yosemite, Grand Canyon).

    >>Rather than fighting the inevitable, we should strive to be part of the management team. <<

    I notice that most the outspoken in this group have been putting in time to become part of the management team.

    >>I think the progress being made through the various access committees is commendable. <<

    Big Ditto

    Thanks for playing Tim, I enjoyed your comments.

    Shane
  9. utswell

    utswell Guest

    --- In canyons@y..., "Tom Jones" <tom@j...> wrote: > Its been an interesting month, researching Wilderness and Solitude, > and preparing to lobby Zion Park hard. I had mixed feelings about > the issue, but I really do not anymore, and I wanted to provoke some conversation on the subject, because I am somewhat dissappointed with us'all's lackluster response on the issue.

    I appreciate the effort made by the ZCC and others to lobby for a more reasonable access, but what I'm wondering now is what can be done at this point? We wrote letters, the interim limits came out in November, now what?

    I'm not happy with the interim use limits set for Spring 2003. I do not think they are reasonable. This level of restriction is not necessary. I think distributing the permits will cause big problems for planning trips, especially multi-day trips. Getting internet reservations 2 months a head of time for more than one canyon on days back to back, not easy. Then there is the weather, to worry about.

    -------------Zion Update - November 18, 2002-------------------------

    For Spring 2003, Zion National Park is instituting Interim Use Limits on all backcountry canyons. Recent meetings with park staff indicate that the one party per day limit will be softened to up to 12 persons per day. Permit costs will go up SUBSTANTIALLY. The distribution system of the now-valuable permits has not yet been announced, but will most likely consist of 50% by internet-reservation, and 50% held for walk-ups. There will, of course, be some difficulty in meshing this with the possibility of the first permit taking all 12 available spaces.----------------------------














    Here's some thoughts on the issue:
    1. Y'all should be outraged. You, canyoneers, are being carefully > targeted to be excluded from the backcountry of Zion for no reason.
    2. The science on the subject is very clear. Yes, nobody likes > crowding, and most backcountry users would prefer the *ideal* of not > encountering other groups, but in *all* cases, including some very > crowded Wilderness areas, the people will take access over use limits.
    3. Solitude is achieved by most National Park Visitors regardless of > how many social encounters they have. (You get it? They want to > limit access to increase solitude, but those darn visitors, they seem > to experience solitude no matter what!)
    4. I like having canyons to myself. But quite frankly, in my 120 > days or so of canyoneering in Zion, I have had exactly one (1) > unpleasant social encounter (obnoxious youth group). Yes, I've had > to wait at Mystery Springs a few times, and at the last rappel in > Pine Creek.
    5. A certain small percentage of Wilderness Visitors has a bad time > if they encounter ANY other group. These people expect to not > encounter others, and have a cow if they do. A few of these people > have complained to the Park. (In the Wilderness Solitude studies, > this represents between 5% and 25% of the population).
    6. I personally don't mind sharing, and I think people that do are > small-minded snivellers. If you are really interested in being by > yourself in Zion on Labor Day weekend, go someplace other than > Mystery Canyon.
    7. Managing the technical Zion Backcountry to minimize complaints > from the small-minded snivellers is idiotic. I think that is what is > happening.
    8. I hope people realize that the park staff, from the rangerettes > behind the desk to Ray and Cindy, are caught in the middle on this. > The orders are coming down from above, and Ray and Cindy can either > deal with it (and us), or quit. So don't give them a hard time, > write the Superintendant.
    9. C'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together > try to love one another right now, right now, right now.......
    10. People do not really like to complain. When restrictions are > imposed on Wilderness Users, the less-tolerant of restrictions types > of users go elsewhere, and more-tolerant types move in. Stands to > reason.
    I'm starting a poll to assess where people stand. Since I, too, have > mixed feelings, please check as many boxes as are true for you.
    Any comments? Please be provoked.
    Tom
  10. jumar_b

    jumar_b Guest


    >It is a sad fact that we do not have nearly enough wild places left > in this country (or to rephrase - we have far too many people for the > resources we have). <<

    I'm not arguing with you on this point, but I just heard of an interesting study that kind of relates to this. An international group of scientists recently did a study and detirmined that 46% of the Earth could still be considered wilderness areas. Kind of gave me a new perspective on things. Jeff
  11. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    It ain't over till we're all swapping lies in the Washington County Jail.

    But seriously, with the change in Superintendent, we consider this an opportune time to rally the troops and apply political pressure. I do not consider the "Final" plan for S03 to be very final. The plan is pretty obviously (to me) arbitrary and capricious, and I think there is a good chance we can overturn it before it gets implemented. Otherwise, next summer will be a disaster.

    Your Zion Canyoneering Coaltion will have a few requests of you in the next month or so. I am currently working on getting more information up on the website, we will be doing a survey and we will be doing a second letter writing campaign. I know people hate to hear it over and over, but the best thing you can do RIGHT NOW is JOIN the ZCC, so that when I walk into the Supers office and we start talking, I can have 200 names on the membership list, rather than the current 25.

    Thanks for your time.

    Tom Jones Chairman, Zion Canyoneering Coalition. http://www.zioncanyoneering.org

    (And I know the website has not been up all the time. I think it is more stable now, and there's a bunch of good information available there...)

    --- In canyons@y..., "utswell" <utswell@y...> wrote:
    I appreciate the effort made by the ZCC and others to lobby for a > more reasonable access, but what I'm wondering now is what can be > done at this point? We wrote letters, the interim limits came out in > November, now what?
    I'm not happy with the interim use limits set for Spring 2003. I do > not think they are reasonable. This level of restriction is not > necessary. I think distributing the permits will cause big problems > for planning trips, especially multi-day trips. Getting internet > reservations 2 months a head of time for more than one canyon on days > back to back, not easy. Then there is the weather, to worry about. >
  12. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Guest

    I'm not arguing with you on this point, but I just > heard of an > interesting study that kind of relates to this. An > international > group of scientists recently did a study and > detirmined that 46% of > the Earth could still be considered wilderness > areas. Kind of gave me > a new perspective on things. > Jeff > Jeff - Don't get too comfortable. Remember, 2/3 of the earth is covered by water!

    Tim

    New DSL Internet Access from SBC & http://sbc.yahoo.com
  13. jumar_b

    jumar_b Guest

    Water actually wasn't included in the study. It is land wilderness. If you included water, the wilderness would be even greater percentage. :) Jeff --- In canyons@y..., Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@y...> wrote:

    > I'm not arguing with you on this point, but I just
    heard of an
    interesting study that kind of relates to this. An
    international
    group of scientists recently did a study and
    detirmined that 46% of
    the Earth could still be considered wilderness
    areas. Kind of gave me
    a new perspective on things.
    Jeff
    > Jeff - > Don't get too comfortable. Remember, 2/3 of the earth > is covered by water!
    Tim
    > > > New DSL Internet Access from SBC & > http://sbc.yahoo.com
  14. jumar_b

    jumar_b Guest

    Come to think of it...if water were included, and 2/3 of the Earth is covered in water, it'd have to be a minimum or 60% wilderness, not including land.

    --- In canyons@y..., Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@y...> wrote:

    > I'm not arguing with you on this point, but I just
    heard of an
    interesting study that kind of relates to this. An
    international
    group of scientists recently did a study and
    detirmined that 46% of
    the Earth could still be considered wilderness
    areas. Kind of gave me
    a new perspective on things.
    Jeff
    > Jeff - > Don't get too comfortable. Remember, 2/3 of the earth > is covered by water!
    Tim
    > > > New DSL Internet Access from SBC & > http://sbc.yahoo.com
  15. bob karp

    bob karp Guest

    --- In canyons@y..., "Tom Jones" <tom@j...> wrote:

    > 7. Managing the technical Zion Backcountry to minimize complaints > from the small-minded snivellers is idiotic. I think that is what is > happening.

    Least common denominator. Thats why we've got covered artwork at the Library, David in a box, drapes on the scales of justice. Forgawdsake even the manager of the grocery store in my neighborhood has admitted that a woman comes in weekly, decides which magazines do not suit her taste, and he has no choice but to comply and remove the offensive material. Political knee-jerk reaction to the squeaky wheel.

    Wisdom comes suddenly. Should have joined earlier. Checks in the mail Tom. (For those of you keeping track, though I'm not sure why, I did send a letter and fill out a survey). National Parks belong to all of, not just the employees and concessionaires. Thanks to Toms' efforts we all have a chance to be heard. Only 100 people at the Whitmore Library to voice their concerns over Powderguides permit. Guess we all like the constant drone of helicopters on the edge of our wilderness. Lets not make the same mistake. Join now.

    Face burning, chest pounding --Bob
  16. Koen

    Koen Guest

    Great ! US canyoneering dirty laundry about to be aired :) !!

    I'll be looking forward to read that article - just hope it doesn't backfire straight into your faces when land managers and politicians read it too !

    Be smart...

    Koen

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, chris solomon <csolomon3837@y...> wrote:
    Hi, Tom - > Chris Solomon here. (We spoke about canyoneering, and a possible story > for Outside magazine, in the fall.) > Outside doesn't want a full-blown feature on canyoneering, but would > like me to write a short story about the state-of-the-are, and some of > the growing pains that the sport is going through (especially as Kelsey's > book comes out this spring.) > Is there a good time tomorrow afternoon, or right after work, when I > could reach you by phone to talk for a couple minutes? It's a complicated > subject and I'd like to do it right, so I'd appreciate your input. > Let me know how/when to reach you.
    Best,
    Chris S.
    206-285-3837

    > > Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now
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