Utah works to minimize disruption to state’s park visitors after federal gov’t shutdown

Bryce Canyon National Park amphitheatre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jean-Christophe Benoist

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 22, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state is taking steps to minimize the disruption at three federal parks here that lost their funding with the government shutdown.

The state will keep visitor services open at Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks, says a statement released by the Utah Department of Tourism. Herbert is quoted in the news release.

“We take great pride in our hospitality and want visitors who come to Utah’s Mighty Five national parks during the Christmas holiday to have a safe, clean and enjoyable experience,” Herbert says in the prepared statement.

“Many travelers have planned their visit for months in advance and have traveled from all over the world to be here. We want them to return home with memories of magnificent vistas and welcoming people, not locked doors.”

In keeping with federal guidelines for government shutdowns, national parks and other public lands remain open to visitors, though National Park Service cautions visitors that all park activities are suspended “except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

Under the leadership of Gov. Herbert, the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Utah has opted to go beyond maintaining basic access by working with the national parks to underwrite the costs of staffing visitor centers and maintaining custodial services at Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.

Tom Adams, Director of Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, noted that this is the third time this year that Utah has dealt with a shutdown.

“While the federal government faces another impasse, the State of Utah and Utah’s Federal Land Managers are committed to safe, high-quality access for all visitors to America’s public lands,” Adams said in the released statement.

Any questions potential visitors may have about the parks will be answered, via live chat, on the Utah Office of Tourism’s website, visitutah.com, the statement says.

Economists estimate the 2013 shutdown cost Utah’s tourism economy $30 million despite Utah being the first state to open their national parks during the shutdown, the news release says.


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