Cleanup Underway After Massive Rainstorm Dumps Mud And Boulders
Jun 30, 2021, 5:32 PM | Updated: 8:55 pm
SPRINGDALE, Utah – It’s normally peaceful in Springdale. That’s part of the draw of this small town just outside Zion National Park.
Wednesday, though, with shovels, bulldozers, and heavy equipment running through town, the only peace was in knowing nobody was hurt.
“The bottom line is everyone is safe. That’s what is most important,” said Nate Wells.
Wells is thankful the rainstorm that swept through the area Tuesday afternoon didn’t result in any injuries, but the damage to his hotel is what really hurts.
“It’s hard to imagine it being worse, but just the progress that we’ve made in the last 20 hours since this happened,” said Wells. “That’s been, I think, the most amazing part of all of this.”
A lot of mud came through Springdale after the rainstorm.
Much of it ended up in businesses whose owners are looking forward to July 4th weekend tourists after a year where so much has already been lost.
“There have been so many restaurants that are struggling and for us this is high tourist season. This is what we’re waiting for all year,” said Jolene Pace, who owns the Zion Canyon Brew Pub. “It just feels like one thing after another.”
Springdale mayor Stan Smith, who was helping to move mud, has declared a state of emergency.
Springdale mayor Stan Smith has declared a city emergency. He says there are millions of dollars in damage. pic.twitter.com/bC8VJIuogw
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) June 30, 2021
“I mean, hundreds of boulders. I don’t know where they came from,” said Smith. “I mean, yeah, everybody says they came from the wash. But where?”
The entrance station to nearby Zion National Park had to be cleared from some of those boulders.
Crews were still digging them out a full day later.
The popular Watchman Trail near the Visitors Center was also closed because the damage to the trail from the river next to it was too much to be considered a safe trail.
There is also a lot of damage to roads and parking lots.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it was still too soon to know just how much overall damage the park has.
“To be honest with you, we’re still assessing,” said Amanda Rowland, who is the public information officer for Zion National Park. “So, to be fair, we do have the state hazard geologist out with us today, out with our physical scientists. We also have our engineers out on the ground. There’s a couple of areas to be thinking about, right? So, the flooding of buildings, but also the flooding of those roads and trails.”
The Park is open, and visitors are still coming.
Shuttle service was available within the park Wednesday but was temporarily suspended in Springdale to allow work crews room to continue clearing mud and debris.
“Folks driving need to be very very conscious of people around them,” said Rowland. “There’s a lot of debris on the road still, just having patience.”
Meanwhile, business owners are cleaning as fast as they can.They know not even a massive rainstorm can wash away the rush of a holiday weekend.
“We have great people here helping and doing what they can to just get things put back together,” said Wells. “What else can you do? We’re trying.”