ST. GEORGE — With Zion National Park temporarily closed in response to COVID-19, the Zion Forever Project and Zion National Park have a deep desire to find continued ways to serve the community.
In honor of National Park Week and Earth Day, Zion Forever Project is releasing the new in-park film “We The Keepers” to view online free for the entire week. Now through April 26, virtual park visitors will travel deep inside Zion’s canyons and learn about the people and forces of nature that make Zion a global wonder worthy of conservation.
In 2018, working with production company Local.Studio, Zion Forever Project began crafting a new in-park film to replace its 20-year-old predecessor. A festival length version of this film entitled “Where Forever is Now” is set to release later this year. When Zion resumes operations, the in-park film will have a permanent home in the Zion Human History Museum showing every 30 minutes seven days a week. Prior to this online release, the film had only debuted for two days in the park before its closure.
Jeff Bradybaugh, Superintendent of Zion National Park, feels the new film speaks directly to what makes Zion a special place for so many visitors.
“Partnerships like the one with Zion Forever are vital to meeting our mission now and for the future. This gift to the American people that Zion Forever Project supporters have provided, inspirational in its telling of the Zion story, also seeks to inspire us all to do our part to care for and protect the park,” Bradybaugh said.
This film would not have been possible without the generous support of donors and supporters. It was a collaborative effort involving federal partners across multiple land agencies, nonprofits, corporate partners, volunteers and visitors.
“That’s the awesome thing about getting to lead the Zion Forever Project. We have this amazing opportunity to work in the park as well as outside of it. Our work spans throughout this greater Zion landscape,” Executive Director Lyman Hafen said. “Each of us gets to play a part in working on something that is bigger than all of us. We are so blessed by the amazing connections we have made in support of this worthy mission.”
Significant support for “We The Keepers” was provided by Mystery Ranch Backpacks outdoor retailer.
Production of the in-park film would not have been possible without a gift from Greater Zion, Washington County’s official convention and tourism office. They serve as the link that connects not just the parks but all of the activities and experiences available in Southwest Utah. Their partnership was more than financial; it meant a promotion of the message surrounding stewardship of these lands. Greater Zion has served as a Zion Forever champion at the local, state, and regional level. As with so many Utah productions, this endeavor was graciously supported by the Utah Film Commission. A generous gift was also made from Trudy Donnell in honor of John Donnell, a lifelong supporter of Zion National Park.
“From the beginning, private philanthropy has been an essential part of our National Parks. This week ,we want to acknowledge that great legacy of giving by people from all over the world, from all walks of life.,” Forever Project Director, Mark Preiss said. “In the spirit of your generosity, we want to thank you for being a part of Zion Forever Project and for helping us to ensure the Zion experience for generations to come.”
While the coronavirus causes travel restrictions – and now is not the right time to visit national parks like Zion – National Park Week allows everyone to pause and celebrate what these lands mean to us as a nation.
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