Walk-in lottery reopens for permits to hike The Wave at Utah-Arizona border

Antoine Dutertre

Walk-in lottery reopens for permits to hike The Wave at Utah-Arizona border

By Carter Williams, KSL.com | Posted - Jun. 16, 2020 at 4:42 p.m.

KANAB — A walk-in lottery for permits to hike a stunning 3-mile strip of land at the Utah-Arizona border reopened for the first time in three months, albeit at a new location, local and federal officials said Monday.

Coyote Buttes North, more commonly known as The Wave, is a swath of Bureau of Land Management land with reddish sandstone rock formations that crosses the state border. Because it’s such a well-desired hike and fragile landscape, only 20 permits are issued each day to hike it. It's a 6-mile hike round trip.

Ten of those permits are issued through an online process, and the other 10 were issued from a daily lottery at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center, where someone could win to be able to hike it the next day. But that stopped in March amid COVID-19 concerns that led to shutdowns not just to businesses but even parks.

On Monday, the lottery reopened and BLM and Kane County officials were able to reopen the walk-in lottery process. Those seeking to experience the breathtaking hike must go to the Kanab Center gymnasium, 20 N. 100 East.

The lottery opens at 8 a.m. for group leaders. Only one person from a group will be allowed, and staff members will begin accepting applications 30 minutes later. Applicants must bring their own pen or pencil to complete the application. Anyone applying for a permit in the lottery is asked to have their license plate number and emergency contact information available to complete the application.

Only 50 group leaders will be allowed inside the building at a time but anyone that is applying for a permit can still participate outside. The walk-in lottery will begin at 9 a.m. and a safety orientation for those who receive a permit will happen shortly after the drawing.

Monday’s reopening date was just days after Kane County, the county in which Kanab is located, became Utah’s first area to move to "green" on the state’s COVID-19 restriction levels, or the "new normal" phase. Gov. Gary Herbert approved the measure with an executive order that went into effect Friday morning.

According to the Utah Department of Health, only 26 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in a wide section of land in southwestern Utah that includes Kane County. Even with the green status and a low number of cases in the area, officials urge those seeking to receive a permit to follow COVID-19 safety recommendations — that includes wearing a face covering when applying for a permit and keeping at least 6 feet away from staff members and other individuals.

Anyone with questions about the walk-in lottery process can contact the Kanab Visitor Center through email at utknmail@blm.gov, or call 435-644-1300.

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