by Lindsay Gough
on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 9:37pm.
With 2017 coming to a close, parks across Utah are set to break attendance records.
The Spectrum reported, attendance was up 5 percent from last year at Zion with 4.4 million visitors as of the end of November. Bryce Canyon was at 2.5million visitors up from the 2.4 million visitors last year. Capital Reef has already seen 1.1 million visitors. Both Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef have doubled their visitors in the past decade. Canyonlands and Arches have also past the records from last year.
Discussion about the increased visitors has focused on Zion as attendance is up 70% since 2010. The park is the fifth most visited national park in the country and is a huge part of Utah’s tourism industry.
The number of visitors in the parks has many worried about overcrowding in the park. This has prompted park officials to propose unprecedented changes such as a reservation system and increasing car fees to $70 during peak summer months. The park argues that the money is needed to deal with the $11 billion maintenance backlog.
These proposals have drawn critics that say the hike in fees would make it harder for some families to visit the parks.
Parks across Utah, including the ones in southern Utah, are expected to continue seeing an increase in visitors.