B.A.R.K. in the park: Pets are now allowed in selected sections of Zion National Park.
ST. GEORGE, S.D. — Through a new initiative that encourages visitors to conserve the area and their pets, dogs will be allowed into Zion National Park.
The B.A.R.K. program's goal is to encourage people to come out here and explore a park in a safe manner, said Ben Gibson, B.A.R.K. Ranger program manager. As well as providing visitors with the tools they need to interact with the park in a way that contributes to its preservation and protection for current and future generations.
Pets may be found in places that are accessible by car, such as campgrounds and the Pa'rus Trail. Leashes must be no longer than six feet in length. A leash keeps pets safe from things like cacti and dangerous algae. The goal, he explained, is to minimize the disruption of native desert flora and creatures.
Cleaning up pet trash is critical at Zion National Park, according to Gibson, because it can harm wildlife and native flora, and garbage does not decompose on its own.
The B.A.R.K. Ranger Oath is now available in the Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyons Visitor Centers for the first time, with participants receiving a B.A.R.K. Ranger Sticker. At any Zion Forever park store, visitors can sign a pledge card or purchase the official B.A.R.K. Ranger badge, according to Gibson.
Sidewalks, public roadways and parking spots, as well as picnic and campsite locations, are all pet-friendly. On the grounds of Zion Lodge, pets are permitted.
Unspecified date, a dog on a leash rests near the River Entrance of Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and Abi Farish of the St. George News.
Shuttles, other park paths, wilderness areas, public buildings, and sites with posted notifications are all off limits to pets.
In the spring and summer, Gibson encouraged pet owners to keep an eye on their pets to ensure they don't overheat. The park's pets may be stressed by the heat. You should do the following to keep yourself and your pet happy and healthy:
Never leave a pet in a car with windows that are closed or only slightly cracked.
Keep an eye on your paws if you're walking on scorching pavement.
Bring enough water for both you and your pet.
In Zion National Park, you may learn more about pets and interact with others.
Visitors are urged to visit the park's bookstore to commemorate their visit with their pets. The store, according to Michelle Temiquel, office coordinator for the Zion Forever Project, provides a variety of things that will help preserve those memories.
For example, we have a bandana that mentions our B.A.R.K. Ranger program, as well as a patch that says they're official park rangers, Temiquel explained. "We also have a name tag that says they're a Zion National Park park ranger.
The initiative is part of Zion National Park's National Park Week and Earth Day celebrations, and it aims to encourage visitors to safeguard the park and their pets.
Domesticated sheep and goats are not allowed in the park to protect desert bighorn sheep from disease, according to Jonathan Shafer, Zion National Park Public Affairs Specialist.
According to the park's website, visitor numbers have increased dramatically from over 2.8 million in 2011 to more than 5 million in 2021.