Property owner in Zion Narrows closure wants to welcome back hikers, but says the feds need to step up

Scott Bulloch wants you — and thousands of other hikers each year — to be able to cross his family’s land in the Zion Narrows.

Better yet, he wants the federal government to own or at least hold easements on his 880-acre parcel along Zion National Park’s eastern boundary.

He just wants fair consideration for property he and his family have held for 50 years, Bulloch said, after they posted signs announcing a “trespassing fee” where the canyon enters the area known as Simon Gulch. The sign prompted the National Park Service to suspend issuing permits to hike what is considered among the world’s most sublime slot canyons — just as the fall tourism season is ramping up.

All the agencies involved in the proposed acquisition of public easements say they want the same thing, but federal regulations over land appraisals appear to be getting in the way.

For the past few years, Bulloch and his sons have been negotiating with the feds, who the elder Bulloch now contends are lowballing the property. Out of frustration, the family posted the controversial signs, which also announce the property is for sale.

The Narrows experience may be beyond price, but federal land-acquisition rules require purchases not exceed “fair-market value.”

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