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Zion National Park sees record-breaking visitation

Sydney Berenyi

Zion National Park has seen an increase in tourist visitation, making it another record-breaking year for the park.

The rise of COVID-19 led to an influx of people looking for activities to do outside in the fresh air. Zion National Park, in southern Utah, was one of the national parks hit hard by an increase in tourism because of the constant great weather found in that region of the state.

“Last summer, you know, we saw some of our busiest numbers,” Susan McPartland, Visitor Use Manager, said. “This summer, they’re pleniminary numbers, but we believe we are setting records. This fall, so far, our preliminary numbers [are showing that] visitation is remaining high. It’s not setting the same records as last fall, but it is still pretty busy around here.”

McPartland said the numbers of visitation are not as high as 2020’s statistics, but this year’s records look about the same as 2019’s visitation records, which were still higher than previous years. 

With this influx of tourists, the park rangers are continuing to work to educate visitors to not litter or vandalize the park.

“We’ve really been trying to hone in on that recreation responsibility messaging, and give visitors that education that they may not understand what vandalism [in a national park] is. For us, putting mud hand-prints on canyon walls or scratching your name into a cliffside is considered vandalism.”

Park workers are continuing to enforce COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing masks in the park buildings and shuttles to ensure visitor safety.