Officials announce closure of Red Cliffs Recreation Area and nearby trailheads following fire

Cottonwoods along the Quail Creek streambed sit in the lowlands of Red Cliffs Recreation Area with the namesake cliffs above and the Pine Valley Mountains towering in the background, Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Utah, Oct. 20, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Due to the damage caused by the Cottonwood Trail Fire, the Bureau of Land Management has announced the closure of the Red Cliffs Recreation area and other nearby trailheads.

Fire suppression efforts on the Cottonwood Trail Fire, Washington County, Utah, July 20, 2020 | Photo courtesy of
Rocco Falzone, St. George News

According to a press release from the BLM St. George Field Office, the closure includes the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, Cottonwood Trailhead and multiple associated trails, all in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.

The closures are to ensure public safety and resource protection, the BLM says.

Closures in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area include the campground, day-use areas, nonmotorized trail system and the White Reef Trailhead. The Cottonwood Trailhead closures include the Prospector Trail north of the trailhead and the Red Reef and Cottonwood Canyon Trails west of the trailhead, according to the release.

Public Affairs Specialist for the BLM’s Color Country district Christian Venhuizen said that while there are still assessments being done in the area, there is some noticeable damage as a result of the fire.

“We do have fencing damaged, possibly some damage to some of our outbuildings and we also have the potential for hazardous trees that were affected by the fire,” Venhuizen said. “We want to make sure we protect the resources as well as anybody who might be recreating in that area from any potential hazards. We will try to get everything up as quickly as we possibly can to reopen those areas.”

Venhuizen emphasized that public safety is an important reason behind the closures.

“Public safety is a definite priority, and we want to make sure that all of the facilities we have out there are safe for people to use and safe for people to be around,” Venhuizen said. “We don’t want any accidents to happen.”

The release from BLM Utah added that there are closure signs at the entry points to trailheads and the recreation area. To find out more about the closure or the affected areas, click here.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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