Zion National Park Sees Record-Breaking Number of Visitors
The number of visitors at Zion National Park has increased since 2012. The spike in visitors has led to overcrowding, said Alyssa Baltrus, Zion National Park chief of interpretation and visitor services.
She said with the increasing number of people visiting Zion National Park, park rangers have seen a surge in the amount of people disrespecting the fragile vegetation and ecosystem, especially by people creating their own paths and parking their cars outside of designated areas.
“We’re seeing a lot of increase in graffiti [and] we’re seeing a lot of social trailing,” she said. “It doesn’t take very many people to wear sandstone back down to sand.”
When sandstone breaks down to sand, it can be damaging to the plant's root system.
Baltrus said the majority of the complaints from visitors are about other visitors.
“We’re trying to just ask people to be nice and to remember that they are not the only ones in the park,” she said.
Baltrus said it is important for everyone to comply with all of the park's rules to preserve Zion for future generations.
“Even if we have one percent of visitors that are not following rules, that’s completely different when you have 3.6 million people than when we only had 2.5 million,” she said. “One percent of a million is a lot of people.”
She said Zion National Park officials estimate the number of visitors will increase by from 3.6 million in 2015 by another 10 percent by the end of 2016.