A Utah based 501(c)3 won $500,000 from the State’s Office of Outdoor Recreation to develop 24.5 miles of Mountain Biking Trails along the eastern side of Zion National Park. Forever Zion is the official non-profit partner of Zion National Park.
KUER reports that in 2020 Zion National Park was the third most visited national park in the US, with attendance rising over 47% since 2014. The park itself has no mountain biking trails and according to Forever Zion’s Director Mike Priess, this trail project is just the first step in a greater East Zion Initiative. The full plan includes a new visitor center, electric busses, 40 miles of hiking trails, and other amenities for park visitors:
“Part of the intention behind this is to create a Zion-like experience, but outside the boundaries of the park itself. So it takes pressure off of Zion Canyon itself and it extends those opportunities beyond the gates and into adjacent public and private land.”
Here’s a video of what it’s like to bike through Zion Canyon
An economic impact study on the area recently determined that the project would have “significant economic impacts” in surrounding counties including over 500 jobs created and an estimated $37.3 million in new GDP between Kane and Washington counties.
This project comes as a huge win for outdoors enthusiasts in Southern Utah and emphasizes a growing trend to promote and propagate outdoor recreation opportunities in regions and municipalities nationwide.