After seeking input from the public, Goldstrike Canyon and Arizona Hot Spring trails will close May 15 through Sept. 30 annually. Park management implemented temporary emergency closures on these two trails in the summers of 2014 and 2015 after public safety incidents significantly increased.
In 2013, there were 17 incidents, which resulted in one fatality, 31 patients and five medical transports. In the first seven months of 2014, there were 37 incidents, resulting in three fatalities, 35 patients and 13 medical transports.
Park management added signs to discourage summer hiking, but the signs did not have the desired effect. People continued to hike the trails, endangering their lives and the lives of other visitors and rescue crews.
During the 30-day public comment period, 13 people provided opinions about the proposed closure. Three were opposed to the closure;four supported the closure and six had mixed opinions. Those with mixed opinions identified themselves as hikers who said they understand the dangers of hiking in the heat, but acknowledged that they see inexperienced people along the trails.
Goldstrike Canyon is a strenuous hike, requiring bouldering and climbing. It leads to Goldstrike and Nevada hot springs and the Colorado River. The area known as White Rock Canyon has multiple trails leading to the Arizona Hot Spring, Liberty Bell Arch and the Colorado River.
During the closure period, visitors may still access the popular hot springs via the Colorado River. Other less strenuous trails through the park will also remain open. Those who choose to hike during the summer are encouraged to follow summer safety tips found online at http://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/summer-hiking.htm.
Maps of the closure areas can be viewed online at http://cms.nps.doi.net/lake/learn/news/upload/CN-16-002-Signed.pdf and http://cms.nps.doi.net/lake/learn/news/upload/CN-16-003-Signed.pdf.