AP NEWS

Utah congressional delegation opposes Zion park reservations

February 11, 2020 GMT

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — Utah’s congressional delegation has signed a letter opposing the proposed use of a reservation system for Zion National Park.

The National Park Service plans to move forward with a capacity study that could result in a mandated reservation system for the park in southwest Utah, The Spectrum reported Monday.

The letter to Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt was signed by U.S. Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney and U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop, John Curtis, Ben McAdams, and Chris Stewart.

Park officials have sought ways to mitigate overcrowding at Zion. The number of park visitors jumped from an estimated 2.8 million in 2010 to more than 4.3 million in 2018.

Among the proposals is a reservation system requiring visitors to register before being allowed entry, especially during peak-season periods when the park’s main canyon traffic backs up to the neighboring town of Springdale.

Zion is the fourth most visited national park in the country. If the park service study concludes a reservation system is necessary, “it would likely result in reduced visitation and negative economic impacts,” the letter said.

The letter identified alternatives including improved public outreach, state and local investment in trails and shuttle system changes.