MOAB, Utah, Dec. 10, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The National Park Service on Friday announced its intention to implement a temporary, timed entry reservation system at the highly-visited Arches National Park in 2022.
“By implementing a temporary, timed entry reservation system, our goal is to better spread visitation throughout the day to reduce traffic congestion and visitor crowding,” said Arches National Park Superintendent Patricia Trap. “We believe this will create a higher-quality experience while maximizing access for our visitors. Additionally, we will use data gathered from this pilot to adapt and improve this system throughout the season, as well as to inform our future responses going forward.”
The pilot will run from April 3 to Oct. 3, 2022, said a news release from the National Park Service. Visitors can book reservations first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov beginning at 8 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2022. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks. On Jan. 3, reservations will open for April 3 through April 30. On Feb. 1, reservations will open for the month of May and any remaining reservations that have not been booked for April. Additional months will continue the same pattern according to following schedule:
- April reservations (April 3–30) open Jan. 3.
- May reservations (May 1–31) open Feb. 1.
- June reservations (June 1–30) open March 1.
- July reservations (July 1–31) open April 1.
- Aug. reservations (August 1–31) open May 1.
- Sept. reservations (September 1–30) open June 1.
- Oct. reservations (October 1–3) open July 1.
After booking a reservation, visitors will receive a timed entry ticket, the news release said. Timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour specified window of availability. After entering, visitors may stay in the park as long as they wish for the remainder of the day. Reservation holders may exit and re-enter the park on the same day with a correctly validated ticket.
For those without early reservations, a limited number of additional reservations will be available for purchase at 6 p.m. the day before entry through Recreation.gov. Reservations must be purchased online or by calling Recreation.gov before entering the park and will not be available at the park entrance. Timed entry reservations will not be required for those with camping permits, backcountry permits, Fiery Furnace permits, special use permits, concessions contracts, or commercial use authorizations. All reservations are expected to sell out quickly, and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead.
“During 2009 to 2019, visitation to Arches grew over 66%, from 996,312 to 1,659,702,” the news release said. “This high level of visitor use creates congestion and crowding that can negatively impact public safety, visitor experiences, and park resources. The National Park Service met with the public in two virtual meetings in September to discuss potential solutions to these challenges and solicited comments about congestion management during a 30-day comment period. Additionally, park leadership has been working to collaborate closely with the local community and other stakeholders in the implementation of this pilot.”
After analyzing visitation patterns and considering comments from the public and stakeholders, the National Park Service determined that a temporary timed entry pilot could ease vehicle congestion and visitor crowding by proactively pacing visitation into the park, the news release said.
For more information, click here. Details and updates will also be posted on the Arches National Park Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.