Utahns staying close to home for Labor Day

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The last big holiday of Summer is here, and it appears many Utahns are spending the last day of the three-day weekend, checking out what's in their backyards.

More people are expected to stick around this Labor Day, not only to save money but to rediscover what Utah has to offer.

The Utah office of Tourism says visitation to Utah State Parks this summer is up 4 percent from last year, and visits to Utah's 5 National Parks are up 10-percent.

Leigh Von Der Esch, with the Utah Office of Tourism, says, "We've always said it's not necessary to go out of state to have a great family vacation, and certainly this summer with the economy being tough, people are staying closer to home."

Visitation to East Canyon State Park in Morgan County is up 20-percent. Deanna Fair and her family were some of those lucky enough to have gotten a campsite for the weekend. Fair says staying closer to home allows everyone in her family to get together and enjoy their time off.

"It's a nice lake to come to, and it's really close to Salt Lake City," she said.

The Fairs won't be alone in their staycation. AAA expects travel will be down all across the country this holiday. A spokesperson says that means big savings for those families willing to explore their own backyards, because not only do those who vacation closer to home spend less money on souvenirs and gifts, they tend to seek out more modest dining and lodging accommodations, as well.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

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