National Parks in Utah during Gov. Shutdown Jan. 2019


A huge question for our guests in Kanab right now. So this week in my “Know Before You Go” post, I have tried to track down the most up to date info possible.
The National Government shutdown has affected a lot of people in many areas. But the Parks are our “nearest and dearest” here in Southern Utah. You can still enjoy our amazing natural wonders, just bring some extra respect and patience (and your own trash bags) with you this month.

We have all seen the photos and stories – Trash and human waste are piling up in some national parks that lack employees in visitor centers, rangers on roads, and custodial workers to clean bathrooms and empty garbage cans during the partial federal government shutdown. But NOT IN UTAH! Rangers are being paid with state and private money and are safeguarding park roads and resources in Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon national parks. Hoo-Ray!
I have heard the visitors who have been to Zion have, for the most part, been very careful to do their part by packing out their trash, and some have paid their entrance fees in the form of a donation.

Zion National Park
 The Zion Canyon Visitor Center is open through January 30, 2019 along with one loop of Watchman Campground, the park store and restrooms at the visitor center.

The shuttle service will be discontinued, but cars can travel the shuttle route. Please be aware that the park staffing will be minimal and visitors need to be careful and take responsibility for their own safety.

The Utah Office of Tourism has agreed to spend another $4,275 to keep Zion National Park open through Wednesday Jan 16th. After that, they expect private funding to continue so the park can remain open through the end of January.

Bryce Canyon in winter, Southern Utah
12019 / Pixabay

Bryce Canyon National Park
The park is open with most areas and services available. The main park road and the road to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point are closed to vehicles at the Bryce Junction. The Sunset and Sunrise viewpoints and all the roads below Sunset are open and will be plowed in the event of snow.
Bryce Canyon National Park will remain open for at least the next 10 days (up to Jan 24) due to funding from the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association, though the state might step in with “nominal” contributions to extend that through January, according to the budget office.

Visitors centers are open through:

  • Arches: January 30
  • Bryce Canyon: January 30
  • Canyonlands (Island in the Sky District): January 30
  • Zion: January 30

After these dates, should the shutdown continue, the parks will still be accessible, though the visitor centers will be closed. All other federal welcome centers are closed.

The Utah Department of Transportation plowed snow-covered roads in Arches and Canyonlands national parks last week. The Canyonlands Natural History Foundation has committed to cover the costs for visitor services in both parks for 30 days.

“We want to make sure people can plan out weeks in advance. We know what we can do for the next six weeks, two months if this continues,” said Kristen Cox, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She told reporters – “If we can’t sustain it after a few months, then we’ll have alternative plans for people to visit state parks.”

The Governor’s office has a weekly update page you can check out here;

Looking for an awesome alternative to Zion? Check here:

Looking for an awesome alternative to Bryce? Check here:

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