ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to make improvements at the Wire Pass trailhead, including an expanded parking lot, upgraded restrooms and improved internet connectivity.
According to a press release from the BLM, construction was slated to begin March 10, but hikers will still be able to visit the area while the site is under development.
“As visitation to this area has increased exponentially in recent years, our intent is to strike an appropriate balance between meeting visitor’s needs and minimizing environmental impacts to the surrounding area,” Kanab Field Office Manager Whit Bunting said in the press release. “We trust these improvements will meet that need for years to come.”
The Wire Pass trailhead serves as a jumping-off point for a number of scenic destinations on the Utah/Arizona border, including Wire Pass, Buckskin Gulch and North Coyote Buttes – which contains the well-known geological formation known as The Wave.
The trailhead, located in Kane County along House Rock Valley Road, is approximately 40 miles east of Kanab and accessible via U.S. Highway 89.
BLM Public Affairs Specialist David Hercher told St. George News that the parking lot will expand to approximately four acres and should accommodate more than 200 passenger vehicles and up to three oversized vehicles, such as RVs or campers. The project will also add another vault toilet to the premises.
In addition to announcing the planned improvements, officials at the Kanab Field Office encouraged hikers to use the digital pass system launched in November 2020. Hercher said the system will offer credit card field sales for walk-up customers through Recreation.gov.
“Should hikers be unable to pay digitally on-site, we ask them to not fret, as they may pay upon returning from their hike at a location with internet access,” he said. “Visitors may also pay ahead of time.”
Hercher said he hopes that LTE and Wi-Fi equipment installed in the past week at the site will allow visitors to pay with ease. A day-use pass to access the Wire Pass trailhead costs $6 per person and $6 per dog. This permit does not cover access to any other permit area, including overnight use for the Paria Canyon, Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) or Coyote Buttes South.
Fees collected are used to help maintain the site and preserve the surrounding wilderness, in addition to providing funding and equipment for BLM staff, interns and volunteers.
The BLM press release stated that motorists should practice caution while the improvement project is underway, as equipment operating near the trailhead may kick dust into the air. In addition, the Recreation.gov website cautions that while it’s usually possible to reach the trailhead in a two-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, when the road is wet, four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicles may be required.
More information can be found at Recreation.gov.
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