Zion Forever Project to use record-breaking $1.5 million to address 24 high-priority projects

The Zion Natl Park Forever Project aims to raise awareness and funding to preserve Zion National Park in perpetuity, Zion National Park, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Love Communications, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — Zion Natl Park Forever Project, Zion’s official nonprofit partner, is providing support for 24 of the park’s highest project priorities identified in the Zion Forever Project’s 2019 Field Guide. This historic investment exceeds $1.5 million for the first time, as well as representing a 25 percent increase over 2018.

According to a press release from Zion Forever Project, the Forever Project has demonstrated the importance and success that can come from leveraging public and private resources to help protect Zion and the greater Zion landscape for generations to come.

Donations and support came from all across the country – from visitors adding up for Zion at its park stores, through its Working Partners gateway businesses, to family foundations and major gifts.

“In the light of Zion’s centennial this year, it’s important to recognize that the future health and well-being of our parks depends on strong partnership and collaboration,” Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in the press release. “The efforts and community outreach undertaken by the Zion Forever Project and it community of supporters is setting a new standard for Zion, Pipe Spring and Cedar Breaks National Monuments, now and for the future.”

Funding for the 2019 Field Guide Projects extends across the Forever Project’s Mission at Work – its three strategic initiatives that serve as a catalyst to protect park resources, improve the visitor experience and invest in the next generation of park stewards through education.

Zion National Park was the fourth most heavily visited national park in the country last year – surpassing Yellowstone and Yosemite – during a time of flat to declining federal appropriations.

“It is truly heartening to see how deeply people care about Zion National Park,” Lyman Hafen, executive director of Zion Forever Project, said in the release. “The Forever Project has provided a meaningful way for everyone to make a difference for Zion this year – whether it’s one dollar or a hundred thousand dollars. What has been accomplished goes a long way to getting Zion ready for its next 100 years.”

Zion Forever Project – Mission at Work

Protecting Forever

Nine projects fall into protecting the natural and cultural resources of the greater Zion landscape, totaling $274,000.

Featured projects include the following:

  • Safeguarding Zion’s desert bighorn sheep by monitoring and tracking the migration routes and habitat use of the park’s sheep population inside the park and on adjacent public lands, including field research to investigate lamb survival rates utilizing GPS collars funded by Forever Project last season.
  • Sharing the wisdom of the Kaibab Paiute Dark-Sky Nation by capturing traditional Southern Paiute star stories and legends through oral history recordings, while creating never-before published Southern Paiute constellation maps and planispheres to share the Kaibab Paiute perspective with visitors.

Improving Today

Six projects will be funded to ensure exemplary visitor experiences across the greater Zion landscape. These projects will total $855,000 (plus Middle Emerald Pools Trail Reconstruction – see below)

Featured projects include the following:

  • Re-opening Middle Emerald Pools Trail Complex – Leveraged funding to repair and reroute Middle and Lower Emerald Pools trails and reopen an abandoned historic section of trail to extend visitor experience and help disburse hikers.
  • Constructing a new visitor education facility at Cedar Breaks, with phase I funding to design and build a new Cedar Breaks Education and Visitor Center, which will serve as base camp for the park’s nationally recognized Dark Sky and high alpine interpretation programs.
  • Designing and building high-tech toilet facility at Scout Lookout to replace the station built nearly 20 years ago and sized for 10 percent of current use levels. New facilities ensure public health and environmental protection.

Informing Tomorrow

Eight projects are aimed at building a community of shared stewardship for the greater Zion landscape that is a model for the world. These projects total $547,000.

Featured projects include:

  • Bringing the greater Zion experience to every Title I school in Kane, Washington and Iron counties through in-classroom ranger visits and transportation scholarships reaching thousands of students annually.
  • Safeguarding the Junior Ranger Program, which certifies 40,000 Junior Rangers annuall, by fully funding the program in Zion, Cedar Breaks and Pipe Spring.
  • My First Zion Experience – Providing transformational opportunities for underserved students and teachers from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City through the “Concrete to Canyons” initiative.

For the digital copy of the complete Zion Forever Project 2019 Field Guide Projects, click here.

Leadership of the Zion Forever Project extends its gratitude to the thousands of individuals and organizations that have contributed to the success and completion of work throughout the past year. Zion invites anyone who is not yet participating, to consider being a part of the Zion Forever Project. Join the growing community of people that have said “yes” to the Zion Forever Project so far this year.

Among many others, the Zion Forever Project notably is benefitting this year by the leadership of Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank; Kem Gardner, chairman of Gardner Companies; Dave Peterson, president and CEO of O.C. Tanner; Jay Francis, president and CEO of Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation; the Utah Symphony; the Zion Park Group represented by Zeke Dumkee III, Paul Barker and Dan Marriott in Springdale; and the McLaws family at Zion Mountain Ranch at the eastern gateway to Zion.

As leading members of Forever Project Founders Circle, they have donated time, talent and resources to get Zion ready for its centennial later this year. This foundational collaboration and its partnership strategies will continue to shape the success of the project for years to come.

“The majesty of Zion National Park is something all Utahns can claim as one of the state’s crown jewels,” Anderson said in the press release. “We’re proud to present a benefit featuring Sting and the Utah Symphony to help raise funds to support the long-term preservation of the Park and its continued sustainability so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

About Zion Forever Project

The Zion Forever Project is the official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks and Pipe Spring National Monuments. The momentum behind the Forever Project has incited funding, partnerships and community support from organizations and park enthusiasts throughout the state and beyond – reflecting the Project’s main objective of uniting park, community and state partners to leverage resources to address visitation and park protection issues. For more information on Zion Forever Projects mission of stewardship for Zion National Park, click here.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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