Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Town wants to limit access to Utah’s popular Kanarra Creek Canyon

Located just north of Zion National Park, Kanarra Creek Canyon has become one of Utah's busiest hiking destinations, but the two-mile trail to a slot canyon and waterfalls also introduced at least 40,000 people to Kanarraville's watershed last year. With no restrooms or prohibitions against pets and horses in the canyon, town leaders fear the recreational traffic could degrade the drinking water, which comes from a spring on a state trust section near the falls and is piped to tanks at the canyon's mouth. The southern Utah town of 350 is now pursuing a leasing deal with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration that would enable officials to severely limit the number of people hiking the scenic canyon, even though the trail crosses public lands. Town Manager David Ence said officials would be remiss in not protecting Kanarraville's year-round drinking water supply, which he noted is "at ground zero for the hike." "It's being loved to death," Ence said. "Last year was over the top. Nobody could believe it. On Labor Day we estimated 3,000 people. It was a parade of people." Ence anticipates limiting trail access to 20 hikers a day. That's on par with some of Utah's most coveted hikes such as Moon House and the Wave, yet far less than the 300 who now visit on a typical weekend day...more

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