Agreement reached to keep Zion Narrows open to public at least temporarily

The Zion Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, Nov. 12, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Seth Hamel, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Trust for Public Land and Washington County has extended an agreement allowing public access to the Zion Narrows trailamid negotiations between private property owners and the National Park Service.

The original easement agreement between the county and the Bulloch family, which owns a portion of the land crossed by the Narrows, was made in September when the family posted “no trespassing” signs on their portion of the trail, temporarily closing the top-down hike of the Narrows.

Read more: Zion National Park no longer issuing permits for top-down hike of Narrows

The easement was originally valid through Dec. 31, 2018. Friday’s agreement extended that easement to March 31 to allow for more time to reach a permanent agreement that benefits both the private property owners and the park.

“Visiting the Zion Narrows trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re proud to be working to ensure that the trail is permanently accessible to the public,” Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, said in a press release. “The Bulloch family is committed to ensuring that visitors continue to be able to enjoy this special place, and we look forward to working with them and the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Washington County.”

A permanent agreement has not yet been reached simply because agreements like this take time, Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson told St. George News.

Prior to restricting access to the trail, the Bulloch family had spent four years, with little success, attempting to reach an agreement with the federal government to compensate them for their property. During this time, the property owners allowed the public to access their property and wish to continue to do so.

“These things take a lot of time and the Bulloch family wanted to allow the public to continue to cross their property but at the same time preserve their property right,” Iverson said.

Read more: Zion Narrows to temporarily reopen after agreement between Washington County, landowners

“We just appreciate their willingness to work with the county so that we could get this agreement in place that would allow the public to continue to use and access the Narrows. So we really do appreciate the Bulloch family in their willingness to help us find at least a temporary solution as we look for a more permanent solution.”

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

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