Visitors reminded to ‘look up’ following landslide in Zion National Park

West Temple in Zion National Park, Utah, August 2014 | Photo by James Wilson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A large landslide on the east side of the West Temple in Zion National Park Friday morning didn’t cause any injuries or damage to property but was a reminder that nature is not static when it comes to the landscape of the picturesque park.

West Temple looms in the background in Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, March 1, 2018 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

The landslide, which took place around 10:30 a.m., was recorded by an onlooker and posted on Instagram. 

A video of the Zion National Park rockslide can be seen at the end of this article. 

What looked like a tan-colored, dusty smokescreen of debris could be seen descending down the rockface like an avalanche of dirt and rock.

Springdale police confirmed there were no calls reporting injuries, and the area where the landslide hit is not one with any existing trails.

Nevertheless, Zion Forever Project Communications Manager Zachary Almaguer said the area, with its vertical faces, is still one used by rock climbers, and the traditional rock climbing season just began. 

Almaguer noted an unofficial motto of the park that usually starts the narration on the shuttle tours in the park: “Your safety is your responsibility.” 

“Any time there’s an incident like this, especially in Zion, it’s always a reminder to look up, look down, look all around. Be aware that you’re in a place of constant change,” Almaguer said. “In a landscape like Zion, we understand it’s a dynamic landscape.”

The video, originally posted by Instagram user Jameson Fisher, was also shared by Almauger on the Zion Forever Project’s Instagram page because of what he said was a need to let climbers know to be careful in the area. 

“The only way to summit in the West Temple is to use rope,” he said, adding that other trails in the park still closed show that the erosion and ever-changing landscape that created the sights of the park in the first place are something to keep in mind when trying to hike and climb in Zion. “You don’t have to look very far to see why the lower portion of the East Rim Trail is closed.”

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