SPRINGDALE – The perfect combination of good weather, cheap gas, a long weekend, and no entrance fees resulted in a very busy weekend in Springdale and at Zion National Park.
Hotels were full, and local businesses were hopping; while locals were taking it in stride.
At the Whiptail Grill, server Jon Stratton said the weekend was busy, and traffic was backed up in front of the restaurant.
“This is our first week open for the season, and it’s been really good,” Stratton said.
“The traffic’s been bumper to bumper the past couple of days, trying to get into the park. We’re about a quarter mile from the park entrance, so we see the worst of it.”
Business will start slowing down a little Monday, Stratton said. “People start leaving today, because they have to work tomorrow.”
“It’s been a great busy weekend, that we were expecting, and everything’s been perfect so far, no complaints whatsoever,” Stratton said.
Stan Smith, owner of the Bumbleberry Inn in Springdale, said the free entrance contributed to an already busy weekend.
“It’s Presidents Day week, it’s always busy up in Springdale,” he said. “It was a good weekend.”
The hotels in Springdale are completely full, Smith said. “Just like a summer day, with lots of traffic, very busy. The town was full, lots of cars, very, very busy. That’s what Presidents Day is usually like up here.”
“When you add up warm weather and cheap gas prices, and free park entrance, and 128 rooms not in service,” he said, “the town had a very good weekend.”
The Zion Park Inn is closed for remodeling, so there are 128 rooms that are not available right now year, Smith said. “That adds to the equation, too.”
Business will slow down for a couple of weeks, Smith said, but then get busy again, and stay that way.
“The next time that I’ll be booked is on the 14th of March, which is the half-marathon weekend,” Smith said. The Zion Canyon Half Marathon starts in Virgin and follows state Route 9 into Rockville, ending near the entrance to Zion National Park.
After the half marathon is St. Patrick’s Day, which Springdale celebrates heartily with the Zion Canyon Spring Festival. Then comes Easter and spring breaks, so the busy season is just around the corner, Smith said.
Meanwhile, locals like Dan Mabbutt were taking it in stride.
“Traditionally, February is the low season for the park, so some businesses in Springdale were caught with their ‘Open’ signs down,” Mabbutt said. “The rest of the town is enjoying gold-rush business.”
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