Local businesses oppose proposed oil and gas leasing next to Zion National Park
Trump administration plans to drill near Zion NP could threaten local economy
Today, approximately 25 local businesses sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management St. George Field Office opposing a plan to sell three oil and gas leases near to Zion National Park. The businesses join a chorus of concern for the leases. Washington County, the City of Springdale, and over 40,000 citizens have also voiced concerns for the proposed lease sale.
“Zion National Park is the lifeblood of our local economy,” said Trish Jennings, co-owner of the Bit and Spur Restaurants. “Allowing oil and gas drilling so close to the park would have a direct negative affect on tourism, and therefore local businesses such as ours and many others.”
Zion National Park had 3.7 million visitors in 2015, generating $274.6 million in economic output for local economies. This direct spending also supported almo st 3,000 jobs.
The lands around Zion NP are also very important for local recreation. The popular Flying Monkey mountain back trail cuts through two of the proposed lease parcels.
“As a resident and business owner in the Zion area. I’m particularly worried about the impact of these leases on our high-profile recreation assets, such as the Flying Monkey Trail,” said Scott Williams, owner of Zion Cycles. “People come from all over the world experience Zion National Park and the surrounding area; developing leases so close to the park would greatly decrease its attraction.”
Zion National Park helps contribute to one of the fastest growing tourism based economies in the state of Utah. Jobs from leisure and hospitality have increased by 28 percent in Washington County over recent years.
How to comment
Electronic copies of the BLM assessment are available online at http://bit.ly/2kio6pF under the “documents” page. Hard copies can be obtained in person at the BLM St. George Field Office, 345 E. Riverside Drive in St. George.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or via paper mail to:
Bureau of Land Management
St. George Field Office
345 E. Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790
Attn: Dave Corry