Zion National Park officials report rise in trash, graffiti left by visitors to Narrows

Zion National Park officials are reporting a rise in trash left by visitors to the Narrows. Photo Courtesy: Zion National Park

SPRINGDALE, Utah, Dec. 29, 2020 (Gepahrdt Daily) — Zion National Park officials are reporting a rise in trash and graffiti left by visitors to the Narrows.

“The Narrows has been open to the public all summer, but rangers were not patrolling due to dangerous toxins in the water,” says a Facebook post from Zion National Park. “Normally, patrols occur on a regular basis to help track the conditions. After the toxin risk was lowered, Ranger John was the first ranger to patrol the area since the beginning of summer. He was able to cover less than a mile.”

Part of Ranger John’s report says:

“The graffiti was the worst I’ve ever seen, it seemed like the entire stretch I walked had something left on the rock: a hand print, a name, and I won’t go into detail about the poop. All in all, I picked up 14 pounds of trash; 9 pounds were human waste, and cleaned probably 1,000 hand prints or etchings in less than a mile. While it hurts to see such a unique and beautiful place treated like this, I feel honored that I have the responsibility to protect it.”

Officials are asking visitors to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines when visiting the park. This includes leaving marks behind on the rocks. Even muddy hand prints can last a long time in a region that gets little rain, the post says.

“Leaving anything behind is not appropriate,” the post says. “Restrooms are located at most shuttle stops and we recommend using them before starting a trail. Once you leave the trailhead, there are no services. You are required to carry out solid human waste from all canyons in Zion, including the Narrows. Human waste disposal bags, like the silver bags in the photo, are available at the park bookstore and local outfitters.”

Back on Dec. 15, Zion National Park officials posted on Facebook that graffiti was being found in the park “almost every day.”

“When visiting Zion National Park there are many beautiful sights to enjoy,” said a Facebook post from the park at the time. “Recently there has been an uptick in some visitors wanting to leave their ‘mark’ during their visit. You can help protect Zion National Park by not creating graffiti. No one comes to the park expecting to see graffiti but nearly every day, staff find words and shapes carved, drawn, painted with mud, dirt, pigment, paint, or scratched on rocks and more recently even carved within moss.”


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