More private homes could be built in Zion NP
Written byBRANDON LOOMIS, Salt Lake Tribune/Greenwire
Hundreds of homes could start popping up in Utah's Zion National Park, due to a swath of private homestead land sandwiched between the park's acres.
The 3,300 acres of private land is positioned between the 147,000 acres of the national park's public lands, and some homes have already been built in the area. Currently, the land is zoned for one home per 20 acres, which could result in the construction of up to 165 homes. Other subdivided parcels predate a 1972 plan and don't carry the 20-acre requirement.
Bruce Nielson, a guide who shuttles hikers up a road where two large homes have popped up in the past five years, complained about the onset of development.
"It ruins people's experience when they come up to hike here," he said.
But the National Park Service doesn't have the money to buy the private land to prevent development.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who represents the area, is opposed to the federal government buying more land.
"Not only do we not have the funding to procure land, but we currently do not have the funding resources to maintain the land that's already in the federal estate," Bishop spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said.