Zion National Park Begins Flood Damage Control Near South Entrance

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Zion National Park will soon begin working to improve drainage pipes under the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway near the park’s South Entrance. Work should begin around Monday, November 14.

A flood that happened in June 2021 caused damage to the drainage pipes. National Park Services engineers and maintenance staff designed these improvements to decrease the likelihood of flooding in the future. 

One lane will be open into and out of the park at the South Entrance during construction. This will help workers complete the project more quickly and efficiently, according to NPS. Drivers will follow a clearly marked detour route through the South Campground.

When the project is done, there will be multiple new or improved culverts along the road. Additionally, the park will resurface effected areas of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. 

NPS writes that “having a single entrance lane open at the park’s South Entrance can slow drivers’ entry.” They said that park rangers will actively manage traffic.

They added that work will not affect the park’s pedestrian and bicycle entrance near Zion Canyon Village. 

This project builds on past work to relocate a park entrance monument and improve the fee booths at the park’s south entrance. It also coincides with park plans to improve the entire south entrance area. The NPS works to identify other opportunities to improve visitor services in the park.

Zion recorded about 2.8 million visits in 2011 and more than 5 million in 2021.

Heartbreaking Footage From Zion National Park Flood Shows Deceased Hiker’s Final Moments, According to Brother

Back in August, tragic video footage was released, appearing to show the 22-year-old Arizona tourist who died at Zion National Park moments before her death. Jetal Agnhihotri, whose body was found three days after this video, is thought to be one of the figures being swept away by a rush of floodwater. The victim’s brother believes one of the figures in the water is his sister.

In the clip shared by KUTV2, a few people cling to fallen tree limbs and logs as they sweep past the worried bystanders on the bank. The muddy water travels quickly and barrels over trees and anything else in its path.

In the video, one woman shouts “Dad!,” possibly at one of the people visible in the clip, or perhaps someone else watching the tragic events unfold. Another helpless onlooker gasps, “Oh my God!”

“We believe it’s her,” the brother, Pujan Agnihotri, told the local station.

Agnihotri hiked with friends through on Friday afternoon when the group was swept downstream by flash floodwaters overtaking the Virgin River.

Monsoon rains increased the amount of water flowing there by a staggering 8,229 gallons, officials said.

Park rangers quickly found an injured hiker who had been swept downstream several hundred yards. They also found several hikers who were isolated by water on high ground. They believed everyone had been accounted for, until Jetal Agnihotri was reported missing.