Utah state parks anticipate raised attendance after government shutdown

Utah state parks anticipate raised attendance after government shutdown

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's state parks are making new plans to build on the buzz that grew when the national parks were shut down earlier this year.

Visits at Utah's state parks exploded when tourists came to see Utah's national parks and were turned away during the government shutdown.

State Parks director Fred Hayes said they expect the excitement and attendance to grow as people return home and talk about what Utah's parks have to offer.

"We expect they'll go home and take that message back home: ‘Go see the national parks, because they're worth seeing, but plan some time in the state parks too, because there's some fun to be had there," Hayes said.

To build on that anticipated growth, Hayes said they are planning new programs and activities in the parks. For example, Starvation and Deer Creek are creating archery programs in the spring.

"When ‘Avatar' came out, it had some archery in it. Then ‘The Hunger Games' came out, and there has just been a resurgence in interest in that traditional archery thing," Hayes said.

Hayes said many parks will update hiking, mountain biking and ATV trails as well.

"Our mission is a little different from the national parks. We expect people to come and do and play, not just come and see and leave," Hayes said.

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Mary Richards


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