Volunteers needed in Snow Canyon State Park, glowstick cleanup

Trash on the floor of Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins, Utah, September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon State Park, St. George News

IVINS — Amid the soaring canyon walls and rolling slick-rock domes of Snow Canyon State Park, an expanding tradition of using glowsticks through the caves and lava tubes are ruining the experience of many park visitors because of garbage and debris left behind.

Friends of Snow Canyon hikes during a cleanup at Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins, Utah, September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon State Park, St. George News
Friends of Snow Canyon hikes during a cleanup at Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins, Utah, September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon State Park, St. George News

Adding to the impact, the chemical-filled tubes are often cracked open so the glowing fluid can be flung upon the walls and floor of the cave.

The glowsticks, glass shards from the inner tubes containing the chemicals and the boxes they’re sold in are frequently left behind, covering the cavern floors with debris.

As a result, visitor experience is diminished, complaints are on the rise, habitat is degraded and park staff struggle to keep up with the litter.

Volunteers representing Friends of Snow Canyon spent several hours removing glowsticks and other trash from the park’s lava tubes recently.

“We are lucky to have the assistance of such a willing group,” Park Manager Kristen Comella said. “Their dedication to improving the recreation experience of other visitors is invaluable; however, more help is needed.”

Park staff are asking the public for assistance:

  1. Let friends and family know to leave glowsticks at home, flashlights are a much better alternative
  2. Share the message to tread lightly and leave natural areas how you find them
  3. Volunteer with your family or organized group to help clean up the tubes

“Snow Canyon hosts more than 340,000 visitors annually from across Utah, the country and world,” Cornella said. “All users should strive to reduce impacts on the environment as well as the experiences of other visitors. Snow Canyon should be amazing not only on the surface but in it’s remarkable underground world as well.”

Resources

  • Snow Canyon State Park website
  • For information on volunteering, call 435-628-2255 or email

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3 Comments

  • beacon October 15, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    If this is the way people are going to treat the special places in Washington County, then it’s clear that more control is needed to protect these areas. There are plenty of other places where people can enjoy these types of activities, preferably on their own private property where they can clean up themselves afterwards rather than expecting others to clean up after them. What’s needed is more personal responsibility.

  • beentheredonethat October 15, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Why don’t the snow canyon employees pick them up? Is this above their their realm of duties? If they can’t or won’t should they not be replaced? What do they do besides collect fees?

  • beacon October 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I’m pretty sure that the park employees are challenged keeping up with the impacts of visitors to the park. Given that the state can be very stingy with money, perhaps there are not enough employees to maintain the park adequately. Even with this, the fact is that people should take responsibility for themselves and clean up after themselves. This is just another example of the lack of personal responsibility we so often see now and the “entitlement” attitude that many have in our society: “I want to do, what I want to do, when I want to, where I want to and I don’t want anyone telling me not to or expecting anything of me.”

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