ST. GEORGE — Those planning to visit the North View Overlook at the Cedar Breaks National Monument this winter are in for a treat — a new visitor contact station is now at the famous spot.

The North View Overlook at the Cedar Breaks National Monument is getting a face-lift with a new warming visitor station, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, unspecified date | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

The visitor contact building will serve as a warming station and learning center, as well as a place from which rangers will lead snowshoe hikes.

Kathleen Gonder, who serves as superintendent for the monument, told St. George News that she was excited that Cedar City business Zip Kit was able to construct the portable unit. The funding for the insulated building came from the nonprofit Zion Forever Project organization.

“I’m really excited about focusing and highlighting a local business in Cedar City. We contacted Zip Kit about what we wanted,” Gonder said. “We wanted a large room with a storage room in the back, and it’s got a wood stove in it. We will be adding solar. We will run our snowshoe hikes in the wintertime out of it so that visitors and our staff have a warm place to gather before and after the hikes.”

The building may be small but it will have insulation and utilities, she said. The portable booth that has been there for the last few years will be removed.

Gonder added that during winter, the monument staff has been working closely with the Utah Department of Transportation to keep that stretch of state Route 143 open for travelers. Efforts will be made for the parking lot to stay plowed and operable throughout the winter. That area is accessible from the Cedar City area through Brian Head on SR-143.

“Sometimes, when we’ve had a big storm, it takes UDOT a while to get the road clear,” Gonder said. “So they’re going to try and keep it open from Brianhead to just past North View Overlook so visitors can at least get into the North View Overlook. UDOT has been great to work with.”

The nonprofit Zion Forever Project used funds they had to pay for the building, Gonder said, so the monument did not use appropriated funds to purchase the unit. The funds came from donations and items sold in the Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks Monument bookstores.

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

“I think this will be a wonderful facility for our visitors and our staff to be able to run our snowshoe hikes in the wintertime, but also programs, activities and festivals in the summertime,” Gonder said. “It’ll have year-round use.”

Zion Forever Park Project Director of Communications Zachary Almaguer emailed St. George News, “As the official non-profit partner of Cedar Breaks, we are always overjoyed anytime we can help fund needed projects like this one.  At over 10,000 feet of elevation, Cedar Breaks experiences all kinds of weather conditions, and this new station will serve the park and visitors year-round.”

Chief Ranger of Visitor and Emergency Service Jonathan Pyne told St. George News the visitor station would be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday to provide snowshoe hikes. An astronomy program will be available on Saturday nights as well.

“We try to cater to the local folks and folks who might be visiting and try to offer those services that we offer during the summer and extend those out to the wintertime as well,” Pyne said.

Depending on staffing and snow levels, a more detailed schedule will be developed in the next couple of weeks. Pyne added that the ranger station hours could expand if enough volunteers signed up. Those interested can apply by email.

Construction of Cedar Breaks National Monument’s main Visitor Contact Station is ongoing at the Point Supreme Overlook. It is currently blocked from visitor access.

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