SPRINGDALE – A section of Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in Zion National Park remains closed as park crews work to remove approximately 200 tons of rock and debris left by a landslide Friday.
The slide blocked both lanes of travel in an area north of Zion Lodge, trapping 12 vehicles in the canyon.
Several precariously situated rocks needed to be removed before the park’s road crew could safely clear the debris, park spokesman John Marciano said in a statement.
“Over the holiday weekend, the Incident Command Team designated to work on the rock slide event came up with an innovative idea to help speed up the process of getting the road cleared and reopened,” Marciano said.
Rather than using a blasting operation as has been used in the past, Marciano said, the team tried utilizing the park’s water trucks and firefighting equipment resources.
A fire monitor, or stand-alone nozzle, was attached to a fire hose and used to precisely aim water at the base of dislodged rocks identified as overhead hazards.
“The water monitor operation was a great success,” Marciano said. “Not only was it a lot safer than a blasting operation, it saved the park a considerable amount of money, time and limited the impact on wildlife and natural and culturally sensitive areas.”
On Tuesday the slide area was further analyzed by park staff and geologists who determined the area stable enough for cleanup and repairs to begin. Because rain is forecast for the coming week, the slide area will once more have to be assessed after initial clearing before the road can reopen.
Visitors to the park should be extra careful this time of year, Marciano said in an earlier interview, as saturation remains a concern and further slides are possible throughout the park.
- Road condition updates will be provided on the park website and social media outlets.
- The park’s short range radio broadcast systems at Mt. Carmel Junction, Hurricane and both park entrances will also broadcast the status of the closure.
St. George News reporter Cody Blowers contributed to this report.
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