ST. GEORGE — Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane saw an overwhelming amount of people enter into the park Saturday – so much so that they reached capacity and were forced to close their gates.
The line to get into the park down Sand Hollow Road stretched for about a mile and visitors were seen parking their cars on the sides of city streets as well as state Route 7 to then hop the fence surrounding the state park.
“I think everyone has seen the opportunity to come camping and it’s overwhelmed the capacity of the park,” Sand Hollow State Park manager Johnathan Hunt said. “We’ve always been one of those places that tries to fit people in, but we are full.”
The park has closed its gates and will not be letting anybody new into the park for the remainder of Saturday. Those who have already paid to camp – in some cases on Friday – can come and go but Hunt said there are no parking stalls for boats and the beachside parking is full. He brought up a scenario from earlier where for every 10 people who entered the park, five would ask for a refund because there were no parking spots.
Hunt also mentioned a procedure for the future to let people know of a possible closure. That way, people can be notified before they bring their boats.
As for social distancing, Hunt said that was one of the reasons for the closure. While announcing that state parks in the state of Utah would be opened to everyone, not just those that live in the same county, he still urged people to keep their social distance.
“We do have the benefit where it’s outdoors, that you’re not in a confined space, but that’s one of the reasons why we’re closing,” Hunt said of social distancing. “There’s just not the room to keep social distance. If you have three cars parked back to back to back, there’s no way to keep them separate. We kind of feel like it’s our duty to close down today.”
Hurricane Police were assisting with the parking issues but some people were parking their cars on city or private streets and then jumping the fence that surrounds Sand Hollow. Some were even parking their cars on state Route 7. Hunt urged people to follow guidelines and if the park is full, to come back another day.
He said that tomorrow will be busy as well but that Sundays are usually a later start.
“I assume tomorrow afternoon we will have a similar process,” Hunt said. “Hopefully, we’ll learn a little bit today so tomorrow will go smoother.”
People looking to go to Sand Hollow are asked to be patient and if they can not get into the park, go elsewhere.
“Once we’re full, find a different activity,” Hunt said.
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