As a licensed Utah broker, I can sell properties statewide. Most agents are members of at least one Realtor board, but I am lucky enough to belong to both the Salt Lake and the Washington County boards and just listed a home in Sun River in Bloomington. On my travels south to meet with the family, I stopped to see my friend, Julie, who owns a flower shop in the old part of downtown Hurricane. I hadn't been there in decades and thought for sure I had gone the wrong way from St. George, because no sooner had I left the St. George city limits than I was at a Walmart and wall-to-wall housing. The patio-home retirement lifestyle has pushed out of St. George and is quickly eating up surrounding developable land.
The buzz, though, among locals is not so much the growth of homes but a type of temporary housing, known as "glamping," popping up quietly here and there but now arriving loudly at nearby private property.
Many folks who travel to Zion National Park come through Hurricane and stay there because lodging in Springdale just outside the park is often full. The quiet beauty of the area is a treasure to locals and travelers alike, and Utah has such done a great job promoting its parks and landscapes that visiting them nowadays can be a nightmare of traffic and overcrowding.
For those seeking a more rustic experience, glamping resorts such as Zion Ponderosa Ranch in Orderville and Moonlight Oasis in Virgin have opened to meet the demand, but one project called Above Zion is now being proposed on 1,700 acres in and around Kolob Reservoir and Kolob Creek. Its various glamping sites could host up to 4,000 people at a time if their game plan of 2,000 sites comes to fruition. The developer, Ian Crowe, is a St. George real estate broker who wants to offer glamping sites, RV pads and primitive sites for more tourists to come to Southern Utah. The project will also require utilities, water, sewer as well as roads to the various planned locations.
To get glampers up and above Zion to see the wonders of Kolob, the developer will need a conditional-use permit from the planning commission. Locals have gotten wind of the plans and are justly concerned about the project's impacts to roads, water and ecosystems/nature in general. So many people wanted to chime in at a recent planning commission meeting that officials had to end the meeting to regroup later.
With Above Zion's high altitude (8000-plus feet above sea level), it will be snowed-in during winter months, so it won't have year-round access, but it's a great place for night sky watching. Kolob is a star or planet described in the Book of Abraham, a Latter-day Saint text that said to have been translated from an Egyptian papyrus scroll by Joseph Smith. You might even be able to see Kolob if you look hard enough when you camp, or maybe glamp, up there in the future.