Zion National Park – Four-Way Coalition to Fund Basic Visitor Services for Next Week

In an inspiring show of support for Zion National Park, four entities have teamed to fund a minimal level of staffing and services in the park during the ongoing federal government shutdown. According to Lyman Hafen, Executive Director of the Zion National Park Forever Project, the State of Utah, Washington County, and the City of St. George, will participate equally with the non-profit Zion Forever Project in funding some visitor services in the park from January 6 through January 12, if the shutdown continues.

“The hard fact is that the park is mandated to remain accessible to the public during this shutdown,” Hafen said, “yet staffing and services are not funded. So the park is left with the catch 22 of welcoming thousands of visitors a day with the visitor center closed, little or no means to provide sanitation services like restrooms, trash collection, other custodial services, and basically an untenable situation.” He said the funding pledged by these four entities is not only remarkable in its make-up, but will assure one more week of minimum visitor services in the park that would not otherwise be possible.

“When the shutdown began on December 22, 2018,” Hafen said “the State of Utah was poised to step in and provide money for a basic level of funding in the park through the end of the year. They did so, and it made a striking difference for the park, its visitors and for the southern Utah economy.” When those funds ran out on December 31, Hafen said his group, the Zion Forever Project, was ready to step in and fund the same level from January 1 to January 5. The Zion Forever Project is the park’s official non-profit partner that raises funds for Zion through earned income in the park stores and through direct fundraising.

“As we’ve drawn closer to the end of this week,” Hafen said, “it is amazing and heartening to see how the State of Utah stepped back into the picture and helped assemble this four-way coalition in a matter of hours to buy more time for the welfare of Zion National Park and to assure a better experience for the thousands of visitors who continue to come to Zion every day.” Hafen said it was beyond anything he had ever imagined, how these entities stepped up with a sincere desire to do the best thing for the park at such a difficult time. “Vicki Varela, managing director of the State Office of Tourism; Dean Cox, Washington County Commissioner; and Mayor Jon Pike of the City of St. George, each reached out in a short, crucial window of time to see how they could best make a difference in this situation,” Hafen said. “It speaks volumes about the importance of Zion National Park to our community.”

The coalition has made it possible to fund these services next week, Hafen explained. “The heroic park service staff who’ve been keeping the bare-bones operation going in the park have been taxed to the limit,” he said. “They are running on fumes. We’re glad we can now give them a little more backup as they keep those basic services going in the park.”

Hafen said the group is simply trying to make the best of a bad situation for the park and its visitors, realizing this shutdown could go on for a long time. “If it does go on,” Hafen said, “the park managers, with support of these partners, will be faced with some hard decisions as to how to best look out for the park and provide a degree of services to the visitors who will continue to come.” Hafen said there’s no simple answer to this situation. “But the fact that our State, Washington County, and St. George City would deem this so important is a sign to everyone of what Zion National Park means to the lives and the livelihoods of all of us in Utah,” he said.

  • The State of Utah, Washington County, the City of St. George, and the Zion National Park Forever Project, will jointly fund a minimal level of operations in Zion National Park from January 6 through January 12, 2019.
  • Each entity has pledged approximately $1,000 a day for the seven-day period to allow the visitor center to be open, basic visitor and safety information to be shared, some restrooms to be open, trash collection and other custodial services in the canyon, and other related basic staffing and support.
  • The park is mandated to remain accessible to visitors during this government shutdown, and thousands of visitors continue to enter the park each day. The above-mentioned services would not be available if not for this funding support.
  • This historic coalition of support for Zion National Park represents the love, passion and concern our State and region have for this national treasure. These efforts will help reduce the possibility of degradation to the park and provide for a better experience for those who visit next week.
  • This initiative helps create a better and more safe situation for visitors in Zion National Park through January 12, but is only a fraction of what operations and services would normally be at this time. If the shutdown continues beyond January 12, Zion and all our national parks will fall deeper into jeopardy.

Questions and Comments

Lyman Hafen
Executive Director
Zion National Park Forever Project

Access to Zion Narrows Trail to Remain Open to Public

An agreement has been extended to maintain public access until March 31, 2019

Springdale, UtahThe Trust for Public Land and Washington County today announced that an agreement has been extended to allow the Zion Narrows Trail to remain open until March 31, 2019. The popular trail crosses Simon Gulch, a private property, before it enters Zion National Park. Currently, the Bulloch family is generously granting access to visitors crossing through their property on the trail. Washington County and The Trust for Public Land, along with the Bulloch family, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Forestry Division, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service have been working for several years to provide permanent public access to this iconic wilderness experience. All partners continue to work in good faith to ensure a fair and permanent solution for public access to the Zion Narrows Trail.

Washington County Commission Chair, Dean Cox expressed, “Washington County is delighted that the Zion Narrows Trail can remain open for public use and appreciates the Bulloch family working with Washington County, The Trust For Public Land, the National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service in a collaborative manner to ensure the beauty of the trail can continue to be seen and enjoyed by all.”

“Visiting the Zion Narrows Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re proud to be working to ensure that the trail is permanently accessible to the public,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, “The Bulloch family is committed to ensuring that visitors continue to be able to enjoy this special place, and we look forward to working with them and the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and Washington County.”

Zion National Park is the third most visited national park in the country and The Trust for Public Land has a long history of working to protect the park. The Trust for Public Land was responsible in 2013 for the protection of Tabernacle Dome which was a private inholding in the park. That same year, the organization protected the 300-acre Chamberlin Ranch, a private property outside the park that contains the trailhead for the Zion Narrows Trail. Earlier this year, The Trust for Public Land helped protect a 35-acre property within the park, known as Firepit Knoll, in partnership with The National Park Foundation.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

Contact Information

The Trust for Public Land
Keith Maley
(415) 800-5177

Washington County of Utah
Nicholle Felshaw
(435) 301-7000

Washington County Fair

RFP Event Coordinator for County Fair

PUBLIC NOTICE: Washington County is seeking proposals for an event coordinator for the Washington County Fair.

Click here to download RFP documents. Or, starting January 4, 2019, pick up in-person at:

Washington County Commission
111 East Tabernacle
St. George, UT 84770
(Google Maps)

Deadline for Submission of Proposal: 12:00 pm on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Publish on:
January 4, 2019
January 5, 2019
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January 8, 2019

Washington County Commission
111 East Tabernacle
St. George, UT 84770
Account #: 1359