Zion officials to test mandatory shuttle service for last part of 2018

The Zion National Park shuttle fleet parked near the maintenance facility, Zion National Park, Utah, March 2, 2018 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — Zion National Park will be testing mandatory shuttle service within the park starting Saturday and running through Dec. 31. Shuttle service will also be provided in the town of Springdale to help visitors make connections within the park and town, reducing vehicular traffic.

Shuttle operation is expected to help relieve parking and traffic congestion experienced in Zion Canyon during the busy holiday season in recent years. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive within the park will be closed to private vehicles and accessible via the shuttle system.

Related story: Angels Landing trail reopening in Zion National Park after months of repairs; other popular trails still closed

Shuttle buses will be departing the Zion National Park Visitor Center and going up the canyon to designated trailhead stops beginning at 8 a.m. Shuttles will be running approximately every 10 minutes during peak hours, with the last bus returning from the Temple of Sinawava (Stop 9) at 5:44 p.m.

The in-town Springdale shuttle services will run 8:10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Shuttles in town will be running every 15 minutes.

Visitors are urged to prepare for winter conditions during recreational pursuits in and around the park. Stormy winter weather or icy conditions could delay shuttle operations at any time.  Visitors are reminded to prepare for winter driving conditions as they travel over the holiday season.

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  • tazzman December 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    About time. Hopefully, they can repair and replace their aged-shuttle fleet and even expand it further. Looking forward to see how this mandatory service works over the holidays. Then maybe we can get expanded shuttle services through Zion Canyon and less automobile congestion.

  • utahdiablo December 19, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks Zion … officials, for taking yet another part of “Our Zion” away, after having to deal with the endless millions of crap bag tourists all spring and summer into early winter, we used to look forward to driving up and down canyon like we used to be able to do before that mandated shuttles came along….like everything else here in southern Utah, it;a all going to hell to make a few people a Buck….screw this
    Ed. ellipsis

    • Dale December 20, 2018 at 10:06 am

      They are running the shuttle from Dec. 22 until Dec. 31 because too many cars are in the canyon during that time. So visit before or after that time. To make a buck? With free shuttles? Nah, to manage too many visitors. Visit another time, if driving the canyon is important to you.

    • bikeandfish December 20, 2018 at 10:47 am

      You do realize why we are dealing with this problem, correct?

      The Mighty Five Campaign, launched by the state of Utah in 2013 initially to the tune of $3.1 million. It would drastically affect visitation from 2014 on onward. ie the point of tourism advertising.

      Here are the visitation numbers leading up to that time:

      2002: 2,592,545
      2003: 2,458,792
      2004: 2,677,342
      2005: 2,586,665
      2006: 2,567,350
      2007: 2,657,281
      2008: 2,690,154
      2009: 2,735,402
      2010: 2,665,972
      2011: 2,825,505
      2012: 2,973,607
      2013: 2,807,387

      On here are the rapidly climbing visitation figures since the campaign took affect:

      2014: 3,189,696
      2015: 3,648,846
      2016: 4,295,127
      2017: 4,504,812

      We are all affected by the popularity of the park but the NPS is just trying to manage the people according to federal law and management plans. All the while Utah and local towns are raking in the tourist dollars with reckless abandon. If you want to see change than maybe you should write the state and question their advertising strategy.

      Plus, its a helpful reminder that National Parks belong to everyone, not just locals. We have no more right to certain experiences than any other citizen.

    • tazzman December 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      utahdiablo, visitation this time of year has jumped 70% in the last few years. The shuttle service is needed now. It’s a consequence of the Find Your Park national campaign and the statewide Big Five one. Heavy visitation is now year round. It’s just a reality.

  • KR567 December 20, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Job well done Zions …..good work

  • Snarkles December 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I don’t think it is right that local residents can’t enjoy the park anymore without being bussed. And disabled people who can’t walk very far and want to stay in their cars can’t get a canyon permit either unless they have a wheel chair. They could have special days for locals in Washington County and for the disabled, at least in winter.

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