NewsAuthor: Steven Shaw
The National Park Service wants to hear your opinions on potentially drastic changes coming to Arches National Park.
The park service is considering whether to implement a visitor reservation system for Arches as part of its Traffic Congestion Management Plan. The NPS says the plan would address pressing traffic and parking congestion that affect visitor enjoyment, access, safety, and resource protection.
“This action is needed because it is currently difficult to accommodate vehicle traffic levels during peak times and peak seasons at the park entrance and at popular parking areas while providing quality visitor experiences and protecting the natural and cultural resources of the park,” said the National Park Service in a press release.
The reservation system would spread visitors out over more hours of the day and over more months of years. The park service contends this will cut down on wait times, reduce overflow parking, and reduce congestion along the entrance road.
There are two options being floated by the park service. The first: do nothing and continue management as-is. Proponents of this approach suggest that the implementation of a reservation system into the park may negatively impact user experience and hurt the local economy.
The second: implement the reservation plan. In reading through the plan it becomes apparent that there is simply not enough parking during peak-season. Additionally, as the graphics below show, the number of visitors to Aches has skyrocketed in recent years as compared to other National Park Service Units.
You can voice your opinion via an open public comment period through December 4, 2017. Click here to submit a comment online or you can submit written comments to:
National Park Service Southeast Utah Group Attn: Planning and Compliance Coordinator 2282 S. West Resource Blvd. Moab, Utah 84532.
The National Park Service is hosting a public open house on November 16, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West in Moab, Utah. The public is invited to ask questions, and submit written comments regarding the proposed plan.
Read the full Arches Traffic Congestion Plan. (PDF at bottom of the page.)