CEDAR CITY — The National Park Service is partnering with Iron County and the Zion Forever Project to construct a new visitor contact station at Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Superintendent Kathleen Gonder said the new building will be located at Point Supreme where the fee station and bathrooms are currently located, and the current historic cabin that serves as the visitor center will remain in use as an educational facility.
“The current ranger station, the historic building, will remain and we are in the process of turning it into a self-guided, interpretive area,” Gonder said. “The new visitor center will also have interpretive media as well as a large bookstore area.”
Gonder said the new center will have upgraded bathrooms in addition to more space for visitors.
“We’re thrilled about the new restrooms, they will be fully ADA accessible,” Gonder said. “There will be a unisex restroom, which is great for families or single parents that need a little bit of privacy.”
Gonder said she hopes the new contact station will help visitors orient themselves in the park.
“Right now, it feels like it’s just a series of pull-outs, that they’re not really in a park unit,” she said.
The new station will also provide additional programming opportunities for the park.
“There’s about 13,00 square feet of covered patio space so that we can have programs and activities during the summer season and people can get shelter from the sun,” Gonder said. “At 10,000 feet, even though it’s cool you still get burned.”
Gonder said she hopes the patio space will also encourage visitors to stay at the park through spells of rain.
“Monsoons start coming through and they come through really fast, but there’s no place for them to shelter so they just get in their cars and leave,” Gonder said. “This covers a lot of areas for us as far as programs and activities, health and safety. Plus, it gives our staff some nice facilities to work in.”
Gonder said the project is unique as it is being funded in part by the Zion National Park Forever Project, which fundraises for Zion National Park, Pipe Springs National Monument and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
“They are committed to fundraising a little over half, and then we received monies from the Centennial Challenge which is generated by the sale of the senior pass,” Gonder said.
The National Park Service Centennial Challenges is intended for parks and monuments to match federal dollars with partners for projects and programs that will help provide service to visitors for years to come.
Gonder said she hopes to “have shovels in the dirt” by 2021, and the new building will take approximately two years to construct.
“We really hope that contractors, subcontractors in the local commuting area will bid on our project, because that’s our goal is to support our local community,” she said. “We’re their park and we want them to feel ownership and engagement and welcome.”
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