Hiking in the Narrows Banned Due to High Runoff

Hiking in the Narrows Banned Due to High Runoff

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ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah (AP) -- Because of the runoff, Zion National Park is not issuing permits for hiking in the Narrows, and may not do so until July.

Chuck Passek, chief of ranger operations, said the park also is not issuing permits for Mystery or Emily canyons, and, unless hikers are prepared, the Subway should be avoided.

"The snowpack is outrageous," Passek said. "It will all depend on how warm it gets and how fast the snow melts when we issue permits."

Passek said a group of hikers recently ran into high water in the Subway. They were able to backtrack to safety.

Park spokesman David Eaker said that although some popular hiking routes are inaccessible, the wet winter has provided the park with some features not seen in the past five years of drought.

The runoff has created spectacular waterfalls, increased vegetation and there are a few ponds with ducks near Zion Lodge.

Several businesses that rent gear to visitors who hike the Narrows have been hurt by closure of the popular route, but Travis Tomlinson, co-owner of Zion Rock and Mountain Guides, said the loss of business is not major.

"It's a bummer for some people who have come to hike the Narrows, but sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate," Tomlinson said. "We are steering people (toward) some of the memorable hikes in the park."

He recommends Angels Landing, Observation Point and Emerald Pools.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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