Kanarra in the Coal Mine

KANAB, UTAH-- The Joes started the year in Southern Utah, which seemed like another planet compared to our Midwestern roots. Slot canyons are wild, y’all! 

Buckskin Gulch

Immediately after hiking part of Buckskin Gulch, we stopped at a Kanab coffeeshop, picked up a copy of The Southern Utah Independent, and saw a story that caught our eyes. Local land managers had imposed fees on a similar slot canyon just 50 miles northwest. Why? Human waste!

According to the SU Independent, Kanarra Falls Canyon has seen a significant uptick in users with an equivalent increase in impacts, especially human waste and trailside debris. With more than 40,000 visitors a year, incremental effects at Kanarra Falls threatened not just the regional water supply, but the canyon’s fragile ecosystem too.

Daily user fees are a small price to protect our public lands. Funds install pit toilets at the trailhead and increase educational outreach to trail visitors, which can prevent further impacts and avoid future rescue operations. Most of these effects, though, could be avoided through Leave No Trace.

Keep a few things in mind next time you’re hiking a slot canyon, especially if there aren’t user fees in place.

Buckskin Gulch 2.JPGPlan ahead and prepare: Read up on the area and avoid flash flood conditions.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Minimize your impact on the canyon by staying on the trail.

Dispose of waste properly: Check to see if dogs are allowed, and be sure to remove all human and animal waste (digging a cathole 200 feet from the trail is all but impossible in a canyon setting).

Enjoy your world! Don’t let a fee keep you from exploring Southern Utah, but know that it’s a team effort to keep these places spectacular.

Click here to read the original story from Southern Utah Independent.
Click here to visit Kanarra Falls Canyon.

Leave No Trace's Joe Besl and Joe Creaghead are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, and Klean Kanteen.