Virgin River Complex Wild and Scenic Rivers
BLM-Utah manages 11 river segments totaling 19 miles within the Virgin River drainage and all are classified as "wild". Each of the segments flows into or out of Zion National Park and a majority are within wilderness areas that were also designated in the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act (Public Law 111-11). These river segments are managed under a Comprehensive Management Plan in concert with the National Park Service. The rugged terrain and lack of nearby roads makes the majority of the BLM-administered river segments difficult to access.
The Virgin River and its tributaries provide a unique and intact habitat for four native fish species, including the Virgin spinedace, which only exists in the Virgin River system, and the flannelmouth sucker, desert sucker and speckled dace. The Zion stonefly (Isogenoides zionensis), an important component of the food web, is also found along the Virgin River and its tributaries.
The extensive cover, availability of water and a contiguous landscape of wildlands, creates habitat for a wide variety of animals. Mule deer, elk, desert bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, marmots, ringtails, Mexican spotted owls and the endemic Zion snail can all be found in the region.
The Virgin River and its tributaries create diverse opportunities for views of the river’s unparalleled scenery. The river creates a landscape of cross-bedded sandstone cliffs, towering thousands of feet above the canyon floor. These canyons offer world-class opportunities for canyoneering, rock climbing, hiking and wilderness experiences, and providing visitors from around the world a chance to develop personal and lasting connections with the river within some of the most unique water-carved desert canyons in the region.