SUWA's revisted action alert...hmmm...concerns were voiced, eh? Let the people be heard. Power to the people. Great to see a significant canyoneering presence last night at the ZNP open house in SLC. Brian in SLC ALERT CORRECTION: ZION BACKCOUNTRY ================================================================ This alert is brought to you by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance 425 E. 100 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84111, 801-486-3161, www.suwa.org ================================================================ CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS ZION BACKCOUNTRY ALERT SUWA apologizes for sending you two email alerts in the same week, but due to the importance of this issue, we wanted to set the record straight and respond to concerns that were voiced in reply to the previous alert. In short, SUWA is not opposed to the concept of commercial guiding in wilderness areas or proposed wilderness areas. In addition, although limiting use numbers in a particular area may not be popular, SUWA will encourage the Park Service to analyze the crowding issue, and will be supportive of limits if objective analysis indicates that such management is necessary to protect the resources or visitor experience. The original Zion Backcountry Management Plan email alert has been revised and appears below. Thanks to everyone who contacted SUWA about the issues in this alert. YOUR HELP NEEDED TO PROTECT ZION WILDERNESS Zion National Park Developing Backcountry Management Plan for Thousands of Acres of Potential Wilderness. Comments needed. Utahns can attend meetings in Salt Lake City, Kanab, Springdale, or Cedar City. The National Park Service has begun development of a backcountry management plan for Zion National Park. The majority of the backcountry in Zion National Park has been recommended to Congress for wilderness designation. The backcountry plan will include areas within the recommended wilderness. Management of over 95% of the park will be addressed through this planning process. The Park Service is considering, among other things, whether to allow commercial guiding in Zion's backcountry, whether to increase the number of permits for the backcountry canyons, and whether to increase group size. The backcountry of Zion contains some of the most remarkable canyons in the world. Please take a moment to help protect these special places. You can submit comments by following this link: http://www.nps.gov/zion/activities/EAScopingLetter.doc You can download the form, print it, fill it out and mail it in, or you can e-mail it directly to: Zion_Backcountry_Plan@nps.gov. Your e-mail must include your name and street mailing address for your comments to be considered. Comments must be RECEIVED by October 7, 2005. Please Consider Making The Following Points In Your Comments: * The current management plan requires backcountry permits for all overnight trips, and a few day-use areas, such as technical slot canyons, through hikes in the Zion Narrows, and the Subway. Visitation in Zion's famous slot canyons in the primitive zone (Subway, Orderville, Pine Creek and Keyhole) is currently managed with a permit system that allows 50 visitors per day, while the canyons in the pristine zone (Mystery, Spry, and others) are limited to 12 visitors per day. The Park Service should disclose the number of users, analyze the crowding issue, and take a hard look at the potential impacts of changing the number of visitors, so that wilderness character will be preserved and visitor experiences will not be degraded. * The current plan restricts backcountry group size to 12. This group size limitation is larger than and/or similar to other national parks in the area. Before increasing the group size restrictions, the Park Service must carefully analyze the impacts of larger group size on other visitors to the backcountry, as well as the natural resources. * Commercial guiding is not currently allowed in any of Zion's recommended wilderness areas, and Zion's General Management Plan prohibits commercial guiding in the Park's pristine zone, but the Park Service is interested in comments on whether commercial guiding should be approved for recommended wilderness areas in the Park's primitive zone. Although SUWA is not opposed to the concept of commercial guiding in wilderness areas or proposed wilderness areas, the Park Service's draft plan must analyze and disclose the potential impacts from commercial guiding tours in the backcountry. In addition, the Draft Plan must explain the type of guided tours that it is considering (i.e. canyoneering, hiking, rafting), disclose the relationship between guided tour backcountry permits and individual backcountry permits, and discuss the particular areas that commercial guiding is being considered. For additional information and links regarding this project you can visit our website at: http://www.suwa.org/entry.php?entry_id=709 The Park Service is hosting open house discussions about the Backcountry Management Plan in the following locations. All open houses will be held from 7-9pm. 1) Mon. Sep. 12--Kanab, City Library, 374 N. Main St. 2) Tues. Sep. 13--Springdale, Town Hall, 118 Lion Blvd. 3) Wed. Sep. 14--Cedar City, Iron County Tourism and Convention Bureau, 581 N. Main St. Thank you for your help and please consider attending one of these open houses.