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Zion shuts access to Narrows

May 31, 2005|Scott Doggett

Zion National Park officials are not issuing permits to hike the Narrows from end to end because melting snow is spilling too much runoff into the 16-mile gorge.

Rangers issue permits when flows in Utah's Virgin River do not exceed 120 cubic feet per second. The rate now is 10 times that amount, says Chuck Passek, chief of ranger operations for the Park Service.

Also, the park is not issuing permits for canyoneering routes that drop visitors into the Narrows, famous for their soaring walls, sandstone grottoes and hanging gardens.

Most visitors are content to wade a mile up the slot canyon and turn back, but Passek discourages that during high-flow conditions.

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