Zion National Park: Ideas to Control the Crowds

Zion National Park had nearly 2.1 million visitors during the first half of 2017.  This number is approximately a 10 percent increase from 2016’s record-setting 4.3 million visitors.  This traffic increase has even caused the shuttle system, installed in 2000 with the capacity of 2-2.5 million visitors, to have 45 minute to one hour wait times (not to mention the 4+ hour of wait times for popular hikes like Angels Landing).

With such high numbers visiting Zion National Park each year, park officials are currently in the process of reviewing how they can improve the visitor experience while protecting Zion from damage.

zion national park overcrowding solutions

While a lot of ideas have already been rejected, there have been a few proposals offered and Zion would like to hear the public’s input.  These alternatives are:

  1. Allow park management to focus on continuation of the management direction established in the general management plan and other relevant park planning guidance. (This basically means business as usually with park officials responding to needs on a case-by-base basis.)
  2. Establishing an online reservation system simply to enter the park itself. (This would mean you would have to pre-schedule your visit and could not enter the park without a reservation.)
  3. 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.

News releases from the park would like to remind us that the alternatives are preliminary and not fully formed.

zion national park overcrowding reservations

If you would like to comment on these ideas, please visit the National Park Service’s Zion Visitor Use Management Plan Preliminary Alternative Concepts webpage and follow the “Comment Now” link. If you would like to download the newsletter outlining these ideas in full, visit the same page and download at the bottom of the webpage.

Analysis of the alternatives and comments will be presented to the public in the draft plan and environmental assessment in fall of 2018.


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