“[The impact of RS 2477 claims] could be devastating. [They] could cross many miles of undisturbed fish and wildlife habitat, historical and archaeological resources, and sensitive wildlands. [They] would undoubtedly derogate most unit values and seriously impact the ability of the NPS to manage the units for which they were established.” —1993 National Park Service memo on the impacts of RS 2477 to Park Service lands
Dozens of national parks and monuments, including Utah’s Zion and Canyonlands National Parks, and Dinosaur and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, could be reopened to road-building and vehicle traffic in wild areas. According to the National Park Service, about 17 million acres in 68 parks could be impacted by these highway claims, which the agency said “could be devastating” for the parks’ fish and wildlife habitat, historical and archaeological sites, and wilderness.
Currently threatened parks and monuments include:
- Bryce Canyon National Park, where Kane County claims that portions of the scenic Under-the-Rim hiking trail and the Riggs Spring hiking trail are open to dirt bike and other off-road vehicle use;
- Zion National Park, Utah’s oldest national park, where the County claims the eastern 5 miles of the East Rim foot and equestrian trail as a “constructed highway” that should be open to dirt bike and off-road vehicle use. The National Park Service bans such vehicle use on this trail, as it has for decades. The world famous East Rim Trail includes some of the Park’s most dramatic scenery.
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, where Kane County claims hundreds of miles of river corridors and desert footpaths as routes for dirt bike and off-road vehicles. Use of such vehicles is now prohibited in Glen Canyon, as it has been for decades.
- The Paria River Canyon west of the Cockscomb, and the Dry Fork of Coyote Canyon along the Hole in the Rock Road in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where the County claims that hundreds of miles of canyons, streambeds, cow paths and hiking trails should be open to off-road vehicle use