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This is what Zion National Park might do to solve overcrowding issues; how to comment

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ZION NATIONAL PARK — Southwestern Utah’s top tourist destination, Zion National Park, has reached the next step in its current Visitor Use Management Plan effort to address the crushing increase in visitation it has experienced the last 10 years, proposing an online reservation system as part of the solution.

The current stage seeks visitor comments on three “preliminary alternative concepts” aimed at improving the visitor experience while exacting less damage on the resources the park is tasked to protect.

“The alternative concepts were developed from public comments, National Park Service staff input, and other information gathered for this purpose, which include the Park’s enabling legislation and the desired conditions identified in previous park plans,” a recent news release stated.

Alternative A would allow park management to focus on continuation of the management direction established in the general management plan and other relevant park planning guidance.

Alternative B would be establishing an online reservation system simply to enter the park itself.

Visitors line up for shuttle access to Zion National Park, Utah, circa 2017. Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News
Visitors line up for shuttle access to Zion National Park, Utah, circa 2017. Photo courtesy of Zion National Park, St. George News

Alternative C would create an online reservation system that would be more restrictive – reservations for specific areas and trails of high traffic such as Angels Landing and the Narrows.

“Visitors would only be able to visit those sites in the park for which they have obtained a reservation,” the newsletter detailing the alternative concepts states.

Either approach, B or C, would improve the visitor experience and reduce degradation on park resources, the newsletter states, but would require visitors to proactively plan their trips to Zion far in advance, an option that doesn’t sit well for some, especially locals accustomed to spur-of-the-moment trips to the popular park.

The comment period on the alternative concepts is now open through Aug. 14.

Those who would like to comment, should visit the National Park Service’s Zion Visitor Use Management Plan Preliminary Alternative Concepts webpage and follow the “Comment Now” link.

To read the full story, visit St. George News.

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Reuben Wadsworth


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