ST. GEORGE — While the partial shutdown of the federal government drags into its fourth week, Southern Utah’s national parks continue to remain accessible thanks to support from local organizations and government agencies.
Zion National Park has the funding necessary to continue functioning on a bare-bones level, and Bryce Canyon National Park announced Friday that previously closed roads will become accessible and additional visitor services will be provided.
According to a press release issued by the National Park Service, continuing generous donations from the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association will allow the visitor center to remain operational through January.
In the case of Zion, additional donations from the Utah Tourism Office, Zion Forever Project, Washington County and the city of St. George are allowing park operations to continue until at least Wednesday.
Additional information specific to either park can be found below.
Some areas of the park previously closed are now accessible as of Saturday, including the roads to both Bryce and Inspiration points and Loop A in the North Campground. Most outdoor areas of the park will also remain accessible to the north of the Rainbow Gate.
Entrance stations will be open as much as possible to provide safety and information to arriving visitors, but entrance fees and camping fees will not be collected.
The Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Center will remain open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at least through Jan. 30.
“We greatly appreciate the generous contributions of park partners who have supported Bryce Canyon National Park during the lapse in appropriations,” park Superintendent Linda Mazzu said in a news release. “Their efforts have contributed significantly to keeping the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center open at Bryce Canyon National Park throughout the shutdown.”
While basic visitor services have been restored, other services may be limited or unavailable during government shutdown, including ranger talks and programs.
The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to all visitor vehicles but may be temporarily closed at times if parking capacity is exceeded or weather events necessitate closure for visitor safety. Shuttle buses will not be running. Kolob Canyons remains closed for an extensive road maintenance project.
Entrance and campground fees are not being collected, but the Zion Lodge is open and in full operation.
Canyon Visitor Center, Loop B of Watchman Campground and adjacent restrooms will remain open at least through Wednesday thanks to the aforementioned donations from local agencies.
During the shutdown when staffing is minimal, the park urges visitors to be careful and take responsibility for their own safety. The park asks that visitors help park staff protect Zion’s resources by:
- Following park rules and notifying rangers of any visitors who are not.
- Using open restrooms only and reporting any problems with those to the visitor center.
- Packing out trash when using trails and disposing of trash in proper receptacles at trailheads or parking areas.
- Staying on designated trails and being mindful of slippery conditions and cliff exposures.
- Parking vehicles only in designated parking lots and roadside paved pullouts.
- Not feeding, touching or harassing wildlife.
For additional updates on the shutdown, visit Department of the Interior website.
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