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Faced with Huge Crowds, Zion National Park Considers Online Reservation System for Popular Areas

Christopher Michel
Creative Commons

Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is considering an online reservation system for people who want to visit the park’s “frontcountry,” or most popular areas. The park’s website says visitation has surged in recent years. In 2015, more than 3.6 million people visited the park, up 450,000 from 2014, which was also a record year. Visitors reportedly wait in long lines to enter the park and board the shuttle during the height of the summer. Parking spaces within Zion are routinely filled by 9:30 a.m., which adds to congestion in the nearby town of Springdale. Officials say the crowding puts a strain on infrastructure as well as natural and cultural resources, and is detrimental to visitors' experience. A planning group recently released three preliminary alternatives for dealing with the situation. Two involve different versions of a year-round reservation system. The third is a no-action alternative. The park is taking public comments through August 14th.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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