SPRINGDALE, Utah, Aug. 16, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Zion National Park is beginning civic engagement to seek comments on a day-use permit lottery to hike the one-half mile chain section of Angels Landing.
Additionally, a $6 lottery application fee and a $3 per person fee is proposed for visitors to access Angels Landing, said a news release from the National Park Service.
“Angels Landing is a one-half mile chained trail beginning at Scout Lookout and is a highly sought-after hike at Zion with more than 300,000 visitors making the ascent in 2019,” the news release said. “Growth has continued rapidly in 2021 and increasing park popularity has led to intense crowding and congestion along the Angels Landing trail. Crowding continues to raise safety and visitor experience concerns.”
In 2017, Zion initiated a trail-use study to understand hiking patterns and visitor experience on Angels Landing and in The Narrows. In 2019 and 2021, results from the research were used to pilot an informal means of managing hiker flow along the chains section of Angels Landing on holiday weekends. This allowed the park to understand levels and rates of visitor use that alleviate congestion and safety concerns along the trail.
Building from these previous efforts and public input, Zion is proposing to implement a day-use permit lottery system in 2022, the news release said. This means visitors would be required to obtain a permit prior to hiking Angels Landing. The pilot day-use permit lottery system would be housed on recreation.gov. Visitors would still be able to day-hike the West Rim Trail up to and beyond Scout Lookout without a permit.
“A more formalized system on Angels Landing would provide an equitable process that prioritizes visitor safety along the chain section of Angel Landing while ensuring park resources are protected and desired visitor experiences are available,” the news release said.
“The system would be closely monitored and adjusted to allow park managers to learn and improve the application of the day-use permit lottery system. If successful, the day-use permit lottery system may be adopted permanently as part of a larger visitor use planning effort and may be considered for additional locations following additional public engagement.”
To implement and staff the day-use permit lottery system, two new park-use fees would be introduced. First, $6 application fee would be used to cover the cost for recreation.gov to build and operate an online, lottery platform. Second, a $3 per person fee would be charged to successful lottery applicants and would cover the cost to implement and manage the permit program in the field at Zion.
Permits would allow for groups of up to six people and would be connected to the email of one person from each group. Proof of identification would be required prior to accessing the permitted portion of the trail. Permits would be made available in an advanced lottery several months ahead of the visit date. The first lottery opening for Angels Landing would take place in January 2022 for permits during March through May 2022. A second opportunity to obtain an Angels Landing permit would also be available the day before the desired hike date. Additional information on the Angels Landing permit is available on the Zion website frequently asked questions page.
Public comments on proposed changes to day-use permit pilot on Angels Landing are being accepted from Aug. 13, 2021 through Sept. 12 on the NPS Planning, Environment, & Public Comment website here.