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Re: The Narrows Access

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  • outend
    Why hasn t the National Park Service/Zion National Park been actively defending what certainly are at the minimum implied easements? I think it has to do with
    Message 1 of 21 , Jun 26, 2013
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      Why hasn't the National Park Service/Zion National Park been actively defending what certainly are at the minimum implied easements?

      I think it has to do with the superintendent and what seems to be his objective to limit access to areas of the park.
    • TomJones
      1. Acquiring access rights (and other things like that) requires money, something that Congress is loathe to provide the National Park Service at this time.
      Message 2 of 21 , Jun 28, 2013
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        1. Acquiring access rights (and other things like that) requires money, something that Congress is loathe to provide the National Park Service at this time. Also, the Park is not in a position to purchase land outside the boundaries of the Park. It has a standing access agreement with Chamberlain Ranch. WHEN such an access agreement becomes subject to jeopardy, the Park calls on its various Partners for assistance - partners like our US Senators, the BLM, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Zion Natural History Association, and the Trust for Public Lands. Apparently, this was a job of TPL.

        2. Whatever Chits the Park had were spent acquiring the cabin and land near Tabernacle Dome, which were an in-holding.

        3. I have some disagreements about Park policy, but I consider it "loony tunes" to suggest that the Park would prefer that the Narrows (of all hikes) was not available to the public.

        Tom

        --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, outend <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > Why hasn't the National Park Service/Zion National Park been actively defending what certainly are at the minimum implied easements?
        >
        > I think it has to do with the superintendent and what seems to be his objective to limit access to areas of the park.
        >
      • Joe Braun
        Tom -- When did NPS acquire the Tabernacle Dome inholding? I was not aware of that; that is good news indeed. But what will they do with the cabin? I never
        Message 3 of 21 , Jul 1 6:19 AM
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          Tom -- When did NPS acquire the Tabernacle Dome inholding? I was not aware of that; that is good news indeed. But what will they do with the cabin? I never stayed there but it was on the market as a vacation rental, really nice I have heard. Sad to me was the park's inability to purchase the Firepit Knoll inset when it came on the market. Now it dons a lovely McMansion retreat visible for miles. It's quite a bizarre sight.

          I think Outend may be talking in general and not specifically. I don't think the NPS would have any interest in closing the top-down Narrows access as this is one of the bread-and-butter attractions of the park.

          Personally, my biggest beef is about lost access to Death Point and I'm sorry for being a broken record because I've talked about this before. Death Point is a wonderfully unique spot that overlooks the Kolob Arch, accessible only from the upper plateau. This used to be a normal hike back in the 50s and 60s, but access was eventually blocked by private landowners. The NPS rangers I have talked to blame the ranchers for blocking access. But a rancher I spoke with blames the park for refusing to build adequate parking facilities at the trailhead, so people were parking all over private property and that's why access was shut down.

          I can see both sides of the story, but nonetheless, access is now gone for chumps like me. I'd love to see the day when access is restored and an official trail can be carved out again. It would be a wonderful spot. But I'm just dreaming.






          --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "TomJones" <ratagonia@...> wrote:
          >
          > 1. Acquiring access rights (and other things like that) requires money, something that Congress is loathe to provide the National Park Service at this time. Also, the Park is not in a position to purchase land outside the boundaries of the Park. It has a standing access agreement with Chamberlain Ranch. WHEN such an access agreement becomes subject to jeopardy, the Park calls on its various Partners for assistance - partners like our US Senators, the BLM, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Zion Natural History Association, and the Trust for Public Lands. Apparently, this was a job of TPL.
          >
          > 2. Whatever Chits the Park had were spent acquiring the cabin and land near Tabernacle Dome, which were an in-holding.
          >
          > 3. I have some disagreements about Park policy, but I consider it "loony tunes" to suggest that the Park would prefer that the Narrows (of all hikes) was not available to the public.
          >
          > Tom
          >
          > --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, outend <no_reply@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Why hasn't the National Park Service/Zion National Park been actively defending what certainly are at the minimum implied easements?
          > >
          > > I think it has to do with the superintendent and what seems to be his objective to limit access to areas of the park.
          > >
          >
        • TomJones
          October 2013 http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55065830-90/park-national-zion-private.html.csp (small quotation:) BY THOMAS BURR THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
          Message 4 of 21 , Jul 1 10:26 AM
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            October 2013

            http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55065830-90/park-national-zion-private.html.csp

            (small quotation:)

            BY THOMAS BURR THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

            PUBLISHED OCTOBER 12, 2012 10:21 AM
            This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
            Washington • An anonymous donor will front $825,000 to prevent development of a small but critical piece of private land inside Zion National Park.

            The 30-acre parcel, at the base of the redrock Tabernacle Dome, will be turned over to the National Park Service. The donor worked with The Trust for Public Lands and the National Parks Conservation Association to acquire the property and ensure against potential home construction marring the picturesque view.

            "The entire integrity of the area there is what ends up being protected," said Aly Baltrus, a spokeswoman for the park in southwestern Utah.

            Conservationists and park officials worry that the nearly 3,400 privately owned acres inside Zion could lead to subdivisions sprouting inside one of the nation's busiest parks.

            That fear was exacerbated by the recent construction of a mansion on private land inside the park just two miles north of the 30 acres the conservation groups have purchased.

            Cory MacNulty, southwest program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the group had been searching for ways to buy the 30-acre spot because of its proximity to Tabernacle Dome and began discussions with a donor to buy the land from private owners who had been considering building a home there.

            MacNulty said stories by The Salt Lake Tribune helped persuade the donor to finalize the agreement. The group then partnered with The Trust for Public Land to hold the property until it could be handed over to the park service.

            (there is more)

            Note: it is not the Park, it is again the Trust for Public Land.

            Tom

            --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Braun" <joe@...> wrote:
            >
            > Tom -- When did NPS acquire the Tabernacle Dome inholding? I was not aware of that; that is good news indeed. But what will they do with the cabin? I never stayed there but it was on the market as a vacation rental, really nice I have heard. Sad to me was the park's inability to purchase the Firepit Knoll inset when it came on the market. Now it dons a lovely McMansion retreat visible for miles. It's quite a bizarre sight.
            >
            > I think Outend may be talking in general and not specifically. I don't think the NPS would have any interest in closing the top-down Narrows access as this is one of the bread-and-butter attractions of the park.
            >
            > Personally, my biggest beef is about lost access to Death Point and I'm sorry for being a broken record because I've talked about this before. Death Point is a wonderfully unique spot that overlooks the Kolob Arch, accessible only from the upper plateau. This used to be a normal hike back in the 50s and 60s, but access was eventually blocked by private landowners. The NPS rangers I have talked to blame the ranchers for blocking access. But a rancher I spoke with blames the park for refusing to build adequate parking facilities at the trailhead, so people were parking all over private property and that's why access was shut down.
            >
            > I can see both sides of the story, but nonetheless, access is now gone for chumps like me. I'd love to see the day when access is restored and an official trail can be carved out again. It would be a wonderful spot. But I'm just dreaming.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "TomJones" <ratagonia@> wrote:
            > >
            > > 1. Acquiring access rights (and other things like that) requires money, something that Congress is loathe to provide the National Park Service at this time. Also, the Park is not in a position to purchase land outside the boundaries of the Park. It has a standing access agreement with Chamberlain Ranch. WHEN such an access agreement becomes subject to jeopardy, the Park calls on its various Partners for assistance - partners like our US Senators, the BLM, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Zion Natural History Association, and the Trust for Public Lands. Apparently, this was a job of TPL.
            > >
            > > 2. Whatever Chits the Park had were spent acquiring the cabin and land near Tabernacle Dome, which were an in-holding.
            > >
            > > 3. I have some disagreements about Park policy, but I consider it "loony tunes" to suggest that the Park would prefer that the Narrows (of all hikes) was not available to the public.
            > >
            > > Tom
            > >
            > > --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, outend <no_reply@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Why hasn't the National Park Service/Zion National Park been actively defending what certainly are at the minimum implied easements?
            > > >
            > > > I think it has to do with the superintendent and what seems to be his objective to limit access to areas of the park.
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • TomJones
            see below... ... It is very difficult for the NPS to buy things. It takes a strong desire on the part of the landowner to sell it to the Park, and usually they
            Message 5 of 21 , Jul 1 10:31 AM
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              see below...

              --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Braun" <joe@...> wrote:
              >
              > Sad to me was the park's inability to purchase the Firepit Knoll inset when it came on the market. Now it dons a lovely McMansion retreat visible for miles. It's quite a bizarre sight.
              >
              > I think Outend may be talking in general and not specifically. I don't think the NPS would have any interest in closing the top-down Narrows access as this is one of the bread-and-butter attractions of the park.

              It is very difficult for the NPS to buy things. It takes a strong desire on the part of the landowner to sell it to the Park, and usually they take quite a financial hit. Because it takes perhaps 5 years or more for the NPS to buy something they want, the TPL and other organizations essentially intervene.

              It is very generous of you to ignore the clear meaning of Outend's words.

              > Personally, my biggest beef is about lost access to Death Point and I'm sorry for being a broken record because I've talked about this before. Death Point is a wonderfully unique spot that overlooks the Kolob Arch, accessible only from the upper plateau. This used to be a normal hike back in the 50s and 60s, but access was eventually blocked by private landowners. The NPS rangers I have talked to blame the ranchers for blocking access. But a rancher I spoke with blames the park for refusing to build adequate parking facilities at the trailhead, so people were parking all over private property and that's why access was shut down.
              >

              Joe - I disagree. YOU have legs, access is available to Death Point/Horse Ranch Mountain via hiking up from the bottom. Yes, the trail has been returning to nature for a long time, but it is there. Kinda difficult right now, in 100 degree heat!

              Tom
            • outend
              My argument is that there has been historic and regular access across certain privately owned lands to access some areas of Zion. That is what is known as an
              Message 6 of 21 , Jul 1 7:11 PM
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                My argument is that there has been historic and regular access across certain privately owned lands to access some areas of Zion. That is what is known as an implied easement. In my state that would prevent the property owner from impeding use by the holder of that implied easement. In other words the National Park Service and it's visitors.

                When a private property owner impedes that access, the holder of that easement can take legal action to maintain that access. With regards to the Narrows trail head, Chinle trail head, and East Fork it seems that the NPS didn't undertake legal action to maintain the historic public access. I realize the East Fork is off limits, but the need to maintain public access to the park there is still important for the future.

                To the person that donated the Tabernacle Dome purchase and to The Trust for Public Lands (and its contributors) for purchasing the Chamberlain Ranch development rights, thank you for helping to keep Zion a special place.
              • Joe Braun
                Hi Tom -- Is this our friendly once-every-three-years butting of heads? :) ... I think I understand Outend s meaning just fine and I agree with his concern.
                Message 7 of 21 , Jul 1 10:06 PM
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                  Hi Tom -- Is this our friendly once-every-three-years butting of heads? :)

                  > It is very generous of you to ignore the clear meaning of Outend's words.

                  I think I understand Outend's meaning just fine and I agree with his concern. Not sure what you think I'm ignoring, but it's not worth the energy to split hairs.

                  > Joe - I disagree. YOU have legs, access is available to Death Point/Horse Ranch Mountain via hiking up from the bottom.

                  Now, this reply shocks me a bit. You're really okay and happy with access to a historical trailhead to a terrific day hike being shut down? As you know, an off-trail hike up Taylor Creek to Horse Ranch Mountain, then going cross country another three miles while skirting private property, NPS land, BLM parcels, and the head of the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek just to get to the trailhead is no minor undertaking. And while I'm not one to shy away from hefty hikes, I'd also anticipate an unexpected "no trespassing" sign or somebody with a shotgun yelling at me. Given that the road is privatized at the Washington County border, yes, I'd consider that closed to the general public. It wasn't always like this.

                  Let's pretend that the North Fork Road was privatized and the only way you could do the top-down Narrows hike was to bushwhack an extra 16-hours just to get to Chamberlain's Ranch to start the Narrows hike. Would you be okay with that as well and would you consider access to still be unimpeded? Just curious.
                • Joe Braun
                  Outend -- At least in the case of the Narrows and Chinle, access was never shut down. Access was just made less hiker friendly. (For Chamberlain s, you weren t
                  Message 8 of 21 , Jul 1 10:26 PM
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                    Outend -- At least in the case of the Narrows and Chinle, access was never shut down. Access was just made less hiker friendly. (For Chamberlain's, you weren't allowed to hike on the dirt road, you were instructed to hike in the cow fields. For Chinle, you park at the bottom of the hill then walk through the neighborhood to the trailhead as opposed to parking up at the trailhead like you could in the 1980s.)

                    --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, outend <no_reply@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > My argument is that there has been historic and regular access across certain privately owned lands to access some areas of Zion. That is what is known as an implied easement. In my state that would prevent the property owner from impeding use by the holder of that implied easement. In other words the National Park Service and it's visitors.
                    >
                    > When a private property owner impedes that access, the holder of that easement can take legal action to maintain that access. With regards to the Narrows trail head, Chinle trail head, and East Fork it seems that the NPS didn't undertake legal action to maintain the historic public access. I realize the East Fork is off limits, but the need to maintain public access to the park there is still important for the future.
                    >
                    > To the person that donated the Tabernacle Dome purchase and to The Trust for Public Lands (and its contributors) for purchasing the Chamberlain Ranch development rights, thank you for helping to keep Zion a special place.
                    >
                  • TomJones
                    ... These laws vary widely from state to state. I know California has very public-friendly right-to-pass laws (and precedent); while Utah has very
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jul 2 10:28 AM
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                      --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, outend <no_reply@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > My argument is that there has been historic and regular access across certain privately owned lands to access some areas of Zion. That is what is known as an implied easement. In my state that would prevent the property owner from impeding use by the holder of that implied easement. In other words the National Park Service and it's visitors.
                      >

                      These laws vary widely from state to state. I know California has very public-friendly right-to-pass laws (and precedent); while Utah has very landowner-friendly courts.

                      I suspect that directing Narrows hikers OFF the road a few years ago was a ploy to establish that an implied easement did not exist.

                      The Park has negotiated easements for NP visitors in the past. My conjecture (always suspect) is that these were handshake agreements many years ago. The parcels have passed into new hands mostly through mortality, and the next generation is less Park-friendly. Remember, here in Utah, "The Feds" are the enemy. There is still enmity towards the Feds (and the Park) because "they stole all our land".

                      > With regards to the Narrows trail head, Chinle trail head, and East Fork it seems that the NPS didn't undertake legal action to maintain the historic public access.

                      I agree that the Park has done a lousy job of bringing the casual agreements into the realm of established legal rights.

                      Tom
                    • TomJones
                      ... Apparently! At least both of us recognize it as a ritual. And I thought it was an annual rite, soon after the solstice??? ... If it happened today, I d be
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jul 2 10:43 AM
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                        --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Braun" <joe@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi Tom -- Is this our friendly once-every-three-years butting of heads? :)

                        Apparently! At least both of us recognize it as a ritual. And I thought it was an annual rite, soon after the solstice???
                        >
                        > Now, this reply shocks me a bit. You're really okay and happy with access to a historical trailhead to a terrific day hike being shut down? As you know, an off-trail hike up Taylor Creek to Horse Ranch Mountain, then going cross country another three miles while skirting private property, NPS land, BLM parcels, and the head of the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek just to get to the trailhead is no minor undertaking. And while I'm not one to shy away from hefty hikes, I'd also anticipate an unexpected "no trespassing" sign or somebody with a shotgun yelling at me. Given that the road is privatized at the Washington County border, yes, I'd consider that closed to the general public. It wasn't always like this.

                        If it happened today, I'd be all over it like brown on rice! But when was the access to the Death trailhead closed? 1960? 1970? My experience of Zion starts in 1986, so I consider everything before that to be ancient history.

                        You are welcome to contact the landowner, and attempt to negotiate opening that up to access. You might get support from TPL.
                        >
                        > Let's pretend that the North Fork Road was privatized and the only way you could do the top-down Narrows hike was to bushwhack an extra 16-hours just to get to Chamberlain's Ranch to start the Narrows hike. Would you be okay with that as well and would you consider access to still be unimpeded? Just curious.
                        >
                        That is essentially what happened with the Trees Ranch access from the East Fork => Springdale, I am told. There was a county road up to Shunesburg. Trees offered to maintain the road if the County gave up the road to him, since it was entirely enclosed by his land. After the two year time limit, he then closed the road to the public. There was a similar case up near the Great Salt Lake, where it was considered that the county commissioners were duped.

                        Your example is like Deep Creek. Major pain to get to, private property issues including feuds between brothers, rarely gets done. Does keep it rather pristine.

                        Access to Kolob mountain and the top of Willis Creek is blocked by private land. There used to be implied easements through here, but the Park was unsuccessful in maintaining them. Also a place I would like access to - and I have it - and extra 3 hours of hiking. Keeps away the riff-raff...

                        I did not say access was "un-impeded". I said it still exists.

                        I do think it unfortunate that Zion Park (and NPS National) policy is in general to NOT secure more access to the Park, and to NOT develop more trails and resources for hiking. Lots of really great places in Zion that DESERVE trails to them so the tourists would visit - but that is against the Zion NP General Management Plan. (example: The Grotto; and there are many similar Grottoes).

                        Tom

                        Tom
                      • Joe Braun
                        ... Well, at least we are being cordial. :) In all honesty, I always value your opinion even if mine differs. The more we talk though, the more I think we re
                        Message 11 of 21 , Jul 2 1:17 PM
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                          > Apparently! At least both of us recognize it as a ritual. And I thought it was an annual rite, soon after the solstice???

                          Well, at least we are being cordial. :) In all honesty, I always value your opinion even if mine differs. The more we talk though, the more I think we're on the same page.

                          But my memory starts in the 70s and in some sense, the 50s and 60s from the hiking stories my dad shared with me. So Death Point access, closing Parunuweap, shutting down the official Lady Mountain trail, completely barren and undeveloped Chinle Trail trailhead area, etc. are all still pretty vivid in my memory. I like to talk about Death Point more as a warning or fear of what could happen in the future to similar little fringe gems. While I could beg and plead with owners for one-off access (which some have successfully done), it doesn't really change the big picture. I know that this spot is gone to tourists and many people want it to be like this.

                          And I like the fantasy of the NPS building a few more trails or improving access. I can think of several trails or routes that I'd want to make official and be able to share with the general public. Not every peak or viewpoint, but a few good spots like the newer 1980s Northgate Peaks Trail. But anyway, yeah, I'm just dreaming. -Joe
                        • TomJones
                          ... I am working on the flower book (very, very slowly) and looking to put flower hikes in it. But these hikes would need to be on official trails or at
                          Message 12 of 21 , Jul 3 11:19 AM
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                            --- In Zion_National_Park_Hiking@yahoogroups.com, "Joe Braun" <joe@...> wrote:
                            > And I like the fantasy of the NPS building a few more trails or improving access. I can think of several trails or routes that I'd want to make official and be able to share with the general public. Not every peak or viewpoint, but a few good spots like the newer 1980s Northgate Peaks Trail. But anyway, yeah, I'm just dreaming. -Joe
                            >

                            I am working on the flower book (very, very slowly) and looking to put 'flower hikes' in it. But these hikes would need to be on official trails or at least acceptable unofficial trails. There are lots of great places to see flowers that do not fit within that description, especially all the nice Grottoes. Most of the public would not consider hiking somewhere that is not on an official trail. I think this is good, but yes I think Zion could use quite a few more official trails.

                            Fantasy of course, not gonna happen.

                            Tom
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