Wilderness Volunteers: Giving Something Back

Zion National Park, JMU Spring Break , UT


Mar 7th - Mar 14th 2009

Service Project

Trail maintenance

Agency logo
Free Days

Hiking, exploring, photography, wildlife viewing


Tents in volunteer campground

Trip Rating

Active : Bending, lifting, lopping, digging, shoveling, raking

Dave Pacheco
Equipment List Desert.pdf


Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons. Zion's unique geographic location and variety of life zones combine to create a variety of habitats for a surprising array of plant and animal species including bighorn sheep and deer. Located on the Colorado Plateau, but bordering the Great Basin and Mojave Desert Provinces, Zion is home to plants from each region.

In 1909, Zion Canyon was practically inaccessible to outside visitors; and while only a few had laid eyes on the towering cliffs, the country still understood its significance and established Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 2009, National Park Service will celebrate the Nation's commitment to preservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources and providing visitor enjoyment in Zion National Park over the past 100 years. Evidence of Ancestrial Puebloans, known as the Anasazi, date from 2,000 years ago; Paiutes from about 800 years ago to present. Mormon settlers arrived in the 1860s and planted orchards along the Virgin River towns of Springdale and Rockville.

This unique spring break service project is a partnership with James Madison University, Wilderness Volunteers and Zion National Park. Of the 45+ service projects that Wilderness Volunteers organizes in 2009, this is the only all-student project, setting the stage for more spring break focused efforts in the future, in wilderness all across the country. The service project consists of seasonal trail maintenance on several popular Zion backcountry trails, potentially including West Rim and East Rim trails, Observation Point, and Watchman trails. We'll drive short distances to the project sites daily from our base camp in either Park Service vehicles or van. Work is mostly digging, raking, lopping, shoveling and generally clearing and stabilizing trails for the upcoming season.

Our campground is the result of a service project last year where student volunteers from the University of Utah built tent pads and placed tables for exclusive use of volunteers lending a hand to the park. The site is located up Oak Creek, a small, lush and private canyon behind the park staff residential area. It offers great hiking opportunities, quiet, and dark night skies.