Delicate Arch trail stream crossing repair/relocation
The trail accesses Delicate Arch, one of the park's most famous features and an icon of the state of Utah. Salt Wash is the only perennial stream in the park. The stream flows past Wolfe Ranch, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park has established a temporary reroute of the trail, crossing the wash on the shoulder of the Delicate Arch Viewpoint road. To develop a long-term solution for the trail crossing, the park will be developing an environmental assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The planning process will consider and assess the impacts of a range of alternatives for the trail. A short-term interim solution on the original trail is expected to be implemented this winter, using wooden steps and a boardwalk across the washed out crossing.
Preliminary issues to be considered in the EA process include effects on hydrologic processes, wetlands, the floodplain, historic resources, and visitor safety and experiences. The preliminary list of possible management alternatives includes filling the new breach and reconstructing the missing trail section, with or without culverts, a new bridge across the breach, and continuation of the current reroute using the Delicate Arch viewpoint road shoulder.
The park is seeking public input on issues and management alternatives for the trail crossing. The scoping phase of the planning process will continue until December 22, 2006. After that an environmental assessment will be developed, which will be available for public review and comment.
Dave Wood 435-719-2133
Recent flooding in Arches National Park washed out a section of the Delicate Arch trail. Record rains during the month of October (4.67 inches, over half of the park's annual average) generated the floods that eroded a new channel in Salt Wash, removed a section of trail, and cut off access to the existing bridge over the wash.