Resort to join growing developments outside of Zion National Park's east entrance

An aerial rendering of "Spirit," a resort planned by Zion Spirit Group set to open just one mile outside Zion National Park in 2022.

An aerial rendering of "Spirit," a resort planned by Zion Spirit Group set to open just one mile outside Zion National Park in 2022. (Zion Spirit Group)

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ORDERVILLE, Kane County — A local company announced Monday plans for a new luxury resort called "Spirit" — located just a mile east of Zion National Park's boundary — that is set to debut its first phase next year.

The suites of the planned resort offer a living room, a versatile "wellness studio", expansive bathrooms and an adjoining "bicycle base station" that includes two electric bikes and gear for complimentary use, according to Zion Spirit Group, the landowners and developers of the planned resort.

The luxury experience expands beyond the suites with a lodge located at the heart of the property. The lodge offers a variety of experiences including an aquaponic greenhouse, library, observatory and natural swimming pool, according to the company.

The resort's location offers views of Checkerboard Mesa, the East Temple and the West Temple to the south and Burger Peak to the west. The preservation and sustainability of those views was a driving factor in the property's development, according to Kevin McLaws, the co-founder of the Zion Spirit Group.

"Having grown up locally and witnessed firsthand how unbounded commercialization and land division can spoil the natural tapestry of a community, the concept of conservation and the importance of protecting the inherent integrity of our environment was introduced to me early on and has been the guiding vision for Spirit," McLaws said in a statement. "We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with this property to set a new standard for gateway communities, one that inspires guests to not only be a part of the land's continued story, but to become equal stewards of it."

The resort joins a growing list of developments outside the park, including hotels, residential developments, an East Zion's Visiting Center and a number of hiking and biking trails. The first 10 miles of a new mountain bike trail system outside the east boundary opened in October, with the land being donated by the local McLaws and Neeleman families.

The McLaws family has owned land outside of Zion National Park for 23 years with current properties, such as the Zion Mountain Ranch. The family then expanded its reach with a partnership between Elizabeth Rad and Kevin McLaws, creating Zion Spirit Group.

The 10-mile biking trail development will eventually expand to 35 miles with some of the trails traversing the 1,100 acres of Spirit.

Spirit was designed by Nomadic Resorts with an eco-friendly concept in mind, according to the company. The suites were designed to "significantly minimize the impact on the land and existing vegetation below," the company stated. Suites feature solar panels and photovoltaic fabric technology aimed to protect the visibility of the natural environment.

The growing number of biking and hiking trails, commercial and residential developments, as well as the addition of the forthcoming east entrance Zion National Park visitors center, marks a shift toward intentional tourism in the area. As the park has seen an increase in tourism, future developments have been planned with the intent of solving "traffic jams, air pollution, lack of parking, long lines and crowded hiking trails."

The shift towards intentional tourism will "ultimately preserve the Zion experience for generations to come," McLaws said in a statement.

The resort is expected to open in two phases with its first phase starting in the summer of 2022. The initial phase will include seven Leaf Suites, miles of biking and hiking trails, an employee housing village and the aquaponic greenhouse. The property will open in its entirety in spring 2023, the company said.

Nightly room rates are expected to begin at $3,000 per night.

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