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Goblin Valley State Park Ready For Expansion

A massive expansion of Goblin Valley State Park is in the works. The BLM, Utah State Park Service and Emery County are working together write a proposal to push the boundaries 40-fold.

After Gov. Gary Herbert proposed to expand a state park, officials from the state and park system chose Goblin Valley. With a recent surge in tourism, officials say the land needs more attention in order to maintain the natural beauty. 

Eugene Swalberg, Utah State Park public information officer, says while writing the proposal is a challenge, the expansion of the Emery County park could be wonderful.

”And so it just kind of made sense. But in order to make it work, it had to have the ability to make it pay for itself, and with the vegetation that is going there currently, it could pay for itself.”

The park and surrounding acreage have become overused and are in need of better maintenance, signage and amenities.

“This was an opportunity to maybe take care of an area that is, some would say, getting loved to death. So if state parks were allowed the opportunity, we’re thinking that we can do a pretty good job at putting some amenities there.”

Public Lands Director in Emery County Ray Petersen says if the state takes control of the land, it will be in an effort to bring about good land management practices.

“It doesn’t matter what the resource is, whether it’s big game, water for wildlife, or raising animals, if you overrun it, you lose it, and it’s a lot harder to recover than protect in the first place.”

Some locals have voiced a concern over a possible restriction of motorized vehicles; however, vehicles, hikers, bikers and other outdoor sportsmen will still be able to use the land, according to Swalberg.