ST. GEORGE — The Zion Regional Collaborative is in the planning stages of building a 22-mile pathway from Hurricane to Springdale and is asking for public input on how the trail should be made.
The idea for the Zion Pathway has been in the works for years, Kevin Lewis, the director of tourism for the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism, said. They are currently working to complete a feasibility study and are in the process of determining what kind of trail to build, where to put it and what amenities to include.
To do that, the Zion Regional Collaborative is asking the public to complete a 12-question survey to help them identify what the community wants to see in the finished product.
“The questions kind of gauge the style of the trail and what we’re looking for to really get a sense of what the public feels is most important before we get into development,” Lewis said.
The survey asks participants questions about how often they would use the pathway, where they would enter the trail and where they would go, in addition to questions about their preferred mode of transportation, how long they would be on the trail and how many would be in their party.
The survey also gives participants the option to choose between an asphalt, concrete or soft surface, as well as whether they would prefer the trail be a direct or scenic route and whether it should be located near state Route 9, water or away from roads altogether.
Survey users have the option to choose from a list of possible amenities the collaborative is considering, including mile markers, interpretive signs, benches, trash cans, drinking fountains, parking, restrooms, lighting, safety boxes, ADA accessibility, trail maps, shaded rest areas, bicycle repair stands and connectors to other trails in the area.
Tom Dansie, director of community development in Springdale, said other things being considered are bike and e-bike sharing, e-bike charging stations and a connection to the future shuttle transportation system that will go between St. George and Zion National Park.
“We don’t want to plan a trail that doesn’t meet anybody’s needs and then never gets used,” Dansie said. “We’re really hoping to identify what those needs are there on the front end so that we can make a trail that responds to the community needs.”
Once they’ve determined how they want to build the trail, they can compile a cost estimate and create a plan and a timeline for moving forward.
Because the trail will stretch the 22 miles between Hurricane and Springdale, Lewis said the Zion Regional Collaborative has had to work with several municipalities, the Bureau of Land Management and private property owners to make the Zion Pathway a reality.
“The vision is that, you know, let’s work together and come up with something that really becomes an iconic feature of our area,” he said.
Not only will the trail serve as an attraction for tourists and provide additional recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike, but it will hopefully reduce congestion as a transportation option as well, Dansie says.
“It just expands the opportunities for recreation, for transportation, for exercise, for commuting. It just opens up a whole number of options for both residents and tourists,” he said.
Their hope is that an additional trail outside of Zion will help reduce crowding in the park, as well as relieve traffic and parking congestion in Springdale.
“Obviously this trail in and of itself isn’t going to be the silver bullet that solves all of our parking and transportation problems, but combined with some of the other initiatives that we’re working on like transit and other issues, yeah, absolutely it can help improve parking, congestion and traffic congestion,” Dansie said.
For more information or to take the Zion Pathway survey, click here.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.