Outdoor Updates: Historic deal keeps Utah’s Zion Narrows open to the public forever

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Historic deal keeps Utah’s Zion Narrows open to the public forever

Zion National Park’s famous trail to the Narrows will remain open to hikers forever thanks to a historic land deal. The 16-mile-trail, accessible to hikers via permit only, winds near Zion National Park’s eastern border before entering an 880-acre parcel of land privately owned by the Bulloch family. For many years the family has allowed hikers to access the property known as Simon Gulch, but last year the family put the land up for sale after the federal government valued it low for possible public acquisition. 

On Tuesday, The Trust for Public Land announced that the public would continue to have access to the Narrows forever via a $1.5 million land deal providing easements that block the land from development. The management of the land remains with the Bulloch family and the state will monitor the land to ensure it remains undeveloped. The $1.5 million price tag reflects administrative costs as well as the price the Bulloch family received for the easement.

Start the New Year off right with a hike in a Virginia State Park

Looking for a healthy way to kick off 2020? Head to a Virginia State Park and participate in a First Day Hike. All Virginia state parks will offer free parking on January 1, and the first 100 visitors to each park will receive a commemorative bumper sticker. Visitors also have a chance to win gift certificates valued at up to $500 that can be used for camping and cabin reservations or to buy an annual pass. Participants can win by simply registering, hiking and then recording their hike on January 1 or by partaking in the annual photo contest.

There are 38 award-winning Virginia State Parks. For a list of scheduled hikes and programs, visit: https://vasp.fun/2020FDH. For complete contest details, visit: https://vasp.fun/2020firsthike

Seasonal road closures for Nantahala Ranger District begin January 2, 2020

The Nantahala National Forest begins seasonal road closures in the Nantahala Ranger District on January 2, 2020. Roads are expected to reopen March 15, depending on the weather. Closing roads to motorized vehicles seasonally helps reduce road maintenance costs. It also decreases wildlife disturbance so they can conserve energy while food is scarce. During long bouts of adverse weather, roads may be closed to protect public safety.

The following roads close January 2 through March 15, 2020:

  • Boardtree (FSR 388)
  • Upper Nantahala (FSR 67)
  • Deep Gap (FSR 71)
  • Shingletree (FSR 713)
  • Shope Fork (FSR 751)
  • Ball Creek (FSR 83)
  • Connelly Creek (FSR 86 through Alarka-Laurel)
  • Wayah Bald (FSR 69)
  • Winding Stairs (FSR 422)
  • Little Yellow Mtn. (FSR 367)
  • Big Creek (FSR 4567)
  • Cold Spring Gap (FSR 4663)
  • Moses Creek (FSR 4651)
  • Old Bald Road (FSR 4652)
  • Sugar Creek (FSR 4665)
  • Gage Creek (FSR 4648)
  • Wolf Mountain (FSR 4663C)
  • Charley Knob (FSR 4654)
  • Beech Flats (FSR 4668)
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