BLM seeks feedback on plan to protect Corona Arch, Gemini Bridges

Corona Arch is a natural sandstone arch located off of Potash Rd near Moab, Utah, April 14, 2011 | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Michael Grindstaff, St. George News

 

SOUTHERN UTAH — The Bureau of Land Management, Moab Field Office is seeking comments on a proposed supplementary rule that would make permanent restrictions on certain roped activities at Corona Arch (31 acres) and Gemini Bridges (6.3 acres).

The rules are intended to reduce resource impacts and to improve the visitor experiences at both areas.

Restricted activities would include, but are not limited to, ziplining, highlining, slacklining, rock climbing, rappelling and rope swinging. Both areas would remain open to other forms of recreation such as hiking, horseback riding and photography.

The comment period will be open for 60 days.

The proposal to permanently restrict roped activities stems from concerns expressed by the public regarding resource impacts, user conflicts and safety, particularly in the Corona Arch area.

A two-year temporary ban on roped activities was put into effect in 2015 to give the BLM time to analyze the impacts of permanent restrictions and evaluate resource impacts and user conflicts in the area.

“The BLM carefully weighed the impacts to these iconic resources from roped activities and listened to feedback from various user groups,” said BLM Moab Assistant Field Manager Jennifer Jones. “Public support was overwhelmingly in favor of making permanent the temporary restrictions in order to improve the visitor experience by protecting the resources and ensuring public safety.”

Both Corona Arch and Gemini Bridges are located at the end of very popular hiking trails and are iconic destinations for visitors to the Moab area, each receiving more than 40,000 visitors annually.

Corona Arch was acquired by the BLM from the state of Utah in May 2014 and is located within a Hiking Focus Area.

The restrictions would reduce visual and sound impacts for hikers seeking a more quiet recreational experience in the presence of these two iconic geologic wonders in the Moab area.

They would also reduce the potential for additional resource damage resulting from bolts, hardware and friction from ropes and cables impacting both areas. Roped activities will be allowed on more than 1.5 million other acres in the field office area, which includes two Climbing Focus Areas.

This proposed supplementary rule and other supporting documents are available online at ePlanning.

Comments will be accepted online or by mail through Dec. 30. Send written comments to:

Bureau of Land Management
Attn: Proposed Supplementary Rules
82 East Dogwood
Moab, Utah 84532

For additional information, contact Katie Stevens at 435-259-2100.

Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

 

 

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