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News Zion permit system re-evaluated in wake of deadly flash flood

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by trackrunner, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. trackrunner

    trackrunner

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    Discussion about the accident is in the accident forum section. This is about the news article and if changes are needed in the permit related to the flood deaths. Mods move this if you feel it is in the wrong place.

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/2988078-155/zion-park-permit-system-re-evaluated-in?fullpage=1

    SNIP
    In the aftermath of Zion's deadliest day, park officials, visitors and recreation advocates are re-evaluating a permit system that controls traffic in the canyons, but leaves questions of risk largely up to the user. Some say that's the intrigue of a wilderness experience: It gives people an opportunity to engage nature on its own terms and face its challenges without outside interference.

    Others say the park should do more to keep visitors out of harm's way.

    SNIP
    Donnie Benson, a member of the Wasatch Mountain Club, said the park "absolutely" should restrict permits when the flood potential is "probable."

    "Anything below that, the people can make their own judgment call," she said. "Those [seven] people should have not been issued a permit."

    SNIP
    If rangers deny permits parkwide because of a flood-potential report issued at 2:30 a.m. and disappointed visitors then see only sunshine pass over their long-desired route, it could hurt rangers' credibility.

    "We are not weather experts," Picard said. "How do we know which canyon is going to flood? Is the rain going to go north of us? South of us? Even the National Weather Service is constantly updating their forecast. What we can do is provide the information that we have."

    SNIP
    "If you close access to all of the canyons when there's a 10 percent chance of rain or moderate chance of flood … the park service is opening themselves up for a scenario where there's an implied level of safety if it's less than that standard," Dunn said. "You're opening yourselves up for more liability."

    SNIP
    For Daniels, making decisions about risk is part of the draw of wilderness. He says denying permits based on the lowest level of canyoneering expertise would unfairly restrict all people who can safely make their own choices.

    "It kind of cuts into the free will," Daniels said. "It loses some of its sense of adventure if you have someone saying, 'You can't go, there's a 25 percent chance of rain.' "

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
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  2. trackrunner

    trackrunner

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    If permits are restricted further for weather than it will be at the lowest common denominator. I see permits issued only if 0 chance of rain.

    Some of us like to chase tail ends of floods to do canyons safely with a little flow.

    There are canyons that are better choices than others when flash flood potential is moderate/probable. This requires group members to educate themselves and discuss options, potential escapes, and back up plans. Something I feel we should not pass on to the park.

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
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  3. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    I think the Park has struck a reasonable balance on this. Are we really going to ask them to keep everyone indoors when there is a chance of rain? I usually cancel my trips to Zion when there is a chance of rain above 30% because I have to drive from Los Angeles and will do so for just one day of canyoneering. It is a bummer to get to the park and cancel a canyon because the weather was foreseeably bad. Sometimes I will switch gears and take my chances of thundershowers and have a shuttle drop me off for a west rim top down hike as an alternative to canyoneering. Others are undeterred study the Doppler radar and judge their speed to manage their safe passage in the canyon. I say, let people manage their risk tolerance, don't make the Park do it. On the other hand I respect the Park when they close the Virgin River because they don't want people in there in awful conditions.
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  4. Ram

    Ram

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    I am mad as hell!! Here we go again! First they butt their bureaucratic nose in to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Maybe 6 canyons need a permit system. Instead we got a clumsy system that isn't needed and now the bureaucrats are scrambling like hell to cover their butts that they stuck out in the air, in the first place. And what will the solution be? Make access harder. Decide for us when its too dangerous or not. They are no good at running the system in the first place and now they are gonna take on the the job of predicting weather for us?

    What was that cave that they concreted over just because someone died in there? I am sorry for the fella and his family, but thanks a frickin bunch. Protect me from myself, please!!!

    What they should do is print up pamphlets of this and other fatalities. Have them at the desk or give a few out in marginal weather and let people use their brains. Maybe add some write-ups of the great many wonderful hikes and peak climbs and give people other options to decide about.....on their own. The French have it right on this one. They give you all the rope you might want, to hang yourself in places like Chamonix

    Viva la personal responsibility. Get out of the way. Let the tragedies do the teaching for us.
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  5. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Cool yer RamJets! Nothing in the posted article demonstrates that the park is seriously contemplating any changes. Need more info.

    Speaking of more info, see attached pdf of a recent permit. I just re-read all of the warning and informational text. Pretty comprehensive. I do think there is a common misunderstanding about the purpose of the permit system. Some seem to think it's primarily to help keep canyoneers safe, so that "someone knows where you are." This is not the case. A clear statement of purpose w/solid public diffusion program is probably a good idea for change, unless this already exists and I've simply missed it.

    Attached Files:

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  6. Ram

    Ram

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    Jets are still firing.....Care to frame a wager? I bet that there will be at least one new reg that comes out of this, that makes access harder or imposes another step on the public. :facepalm:
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  7. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    Possibly. Depends on your willingness to wear it exclusively for one year.

    ramjet2.JPG


    with empty Monster drink cans (not included)
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  8. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Not that you were really asking...Nutty Putty...and I couldn't agree more. Some poor folks have died on their own couch...is being a potato going to be levied too.

    I recall my first ZNP permit process 6 years ago. I thought the back country desk did an adequate job in making us aware of the weather related dangers and risk. Even watched their film. That's all that is needed, IMHO.

    Hear! Hear!
  9. Alias_Rice

    Alias_Rice

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    A few years ago after an early season inbounds avalanche killed a young lady at Snowbird, her parents released a statement saying that in order to honor their daughters memory, not only would they not even consider suing, but they didn't want the accident to restrict access or slow the opening of terrain in any way. I thought that was pretty cool. Obviously the families are grieving but it would be nice it they said something similar here.

    And I am with Ram, I think they will create some pointless restriction which will have no positive effect at all.
  10. Ram

    Ram

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    Classy move by that family

    And I hope they will prove us wrong on a new regulation.
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  11. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Not sure that family could have sued under Utah law:

    *"
    78B-4-403. Bar against claim or recovery from operator for injury from risks inherent in sport.

    Notwithstanding anything in Sections 78B-5-817 through 78B-5-823 to the contrary, no skier may make any claim against, or recover from, any ski area operator for injury resulting from any of the inherent risks of skiing.

    78B-4-402. Definitions.

    (1) “Inherent risks of skiing” means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of the sport of recreational, competitive, or professional skiing, including, but not limited to:

    (a) changing weather conditions;

    (b) snow or ice conditions as they exist or may change, such as hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up snow, or machine-made snow;

    (c) surface or subsurface conditions such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, cliffs, trees, and other natural objects;

    (d) variations or steepness in terrain, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snowmaking or grooming operations, and other terrain modifications such as terrain parks, and terrain features such as jumps, rails, fun boxes, and all other constructed and natural features such as half pipes, quarter pipes, or freestyle-bump terrain;

    (e) impact with lift towers and other structures and their components such as signs, posts, fences or enclosures, hydrants, or water pipes;

    (f) collisions with other skiers;

    (g) participation in, or practicing or training for, competitions or special events; and

    (h) the failure of a skier to ski within the skier’s own ability.

    78B-4-404. Trail boards listing inherent risks and limitations on liability.

    Ski area operators shall post trail boards at one or more prominent locations within each ski area which shall include a list of the inherent risks of skiing, and the limitations on liability of ski area operators, as defined in this part."

    Text found on: http://www.salcidolawfirm.com/ski-accident-laws-in-utah/
  12. Ram

    Ram

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    That may be totally accurate. Still the statement speaks for itself eloquently...and "goot yountive" (happy holiday)
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  13. Chris Harmon

    Chris Harmon geckobiker

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    Most of the statements regarding more restrictive permits clearly identify those making the statements do not understand the permit system as it now stands. Better trained adventurers is what we need, not more regulations that give the few entitled more confidence that they will not be harmed.


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  14. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Ram

    Win or lose, I think you should borrow Hank's helmet for a canyon - the pix would be priceless.
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  15. AW~

    AW~

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    Nowcasting for canyoneering is going down in flames no matter how popular it is now or how many politicians show up.
    Speaking of politics- lets remember the basis for nowcasting is not science, but politics...namely "climate change". The forecast has always been fixed to be global warming and more and more dangerous 'man-made' storms.
  16. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    In some ways, the permit system makes the problem worse. For example, it is so difficult to get a Subway or Mystery permit that if you don't go on your day in marginal weather, you won't be able to go again for 3 months, which probably means next year. You can't just put it off a day or a week without risking a ticket. Combine that red tape with that required to take Scouts down a canyon and you've got a disaster waiting to happen.
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  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    People can ALWAYS sue. They cannot always have much a possibility of winning, but... sometimes logic and the law have little to do with either decision.

    Tom
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I suggest that the wrong question is being asked, and that WE, in the adventure community, would do well to change the question.

    Isn't it amazing how FEW people get caught in flash floods in Zion???

    :moses:
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  19. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    How about...
    For this storm event, statistically speaking, you were safer canyoneering than being in a vehicle...
  20. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    I am generally opposed to the "nanny state"...
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