Bureau of Land Management to reinstate 14-day stay limit at Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area

The Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area and campground is located off Exit 18 (Cedar Pocket) on I-15, though it's currently closed, Arizona, July 28, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —In order to increase recreation opportunities at the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area, the Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip Field Office is finalizing a supplementary rule that reinstates a stay limit of 14 consecutive days at the site, according to a news release the BLM issued Wednesday.

Fee area and additional parking at the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area, Arizona, July 28, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

The change, which is consistent with camping limits for other BLM public lands, will allow more members of the public to enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, scenic viewing and boating from the popular site. This area provides recreational access to the colorful canyons and rugged cliffs of the Virgin River corridor, the Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness and Paiute Wilderness.     

“It is a BLM priority to increase recreational opportunities so more Americans can enjoy our spectacular landscapes and create lasting memories from the resources available to us through our public lands and waters,” Lorraine Christian, Arizona Strip field manager, said in the news release. “The change will have substantial, positive impacts for expanding existing recreational opportunities to members of the public who are seeking a variety of recreational opportunities.”  

In 1994, the BLM, by notice in the Federal Register, established supplementary rules for the VRCRA which exempted the campground from the 14-day camping limitation. As a result, visitors paid either a daily fee or a reduced monthly fee to occupy a site.

Because of the low cost, some visitors have used the site as a long-term residence, making recreation sites unavailable to other members of the public and resulting in cleanliness and sanitation issues.  

A campsite situated on a hillside above the Virgin River, Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area, Arizona, July 28, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

The BLM prepared an environmental assessment of the proposed change, which included announcing scoping and public comment periods through mail, news releases, posts on the ePlanning web page, and announcements posted at the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area. The BLM analyzed the public comments received, issued a Finding of No Significant Impact, and published a Decision Record on Feb. 6, 2019, which can be reviewed online. 

In addition, the BLM published a notice of the proposed change in the Federal Register on June 15, 2021, providing a 60-day public comment period. Five email comments were received, all in support of the change.   

The BLM will begin enforcing the final supplementary rule when it becomes effective 30-days after Thursday’s publication date when the campground reopens once scheduled renovations are completed.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!