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Starting this Saturday, National Park Week will begin with free park access



Moab, Utah – This Saturday is free admission to celebrate the start of National Park Week, which runs from April 20 to April 28.

“Plan to either arrive early or a little bit later in the day to avoid the rush in the middle of the day,” said Charlie Reed the supervisory park ranger at Zion National Park.

It’s possible to escape the hassle of driving and parking in Zion, according to Reed.

“Use the Zion Line in the park and also use the Springdale Line in the town of Springdale to be able to get to the park and not have to worry nearly as much about parking,” he suggested.

The Mighty Five parks in Utah are all getting ready for large crowds.

“Moab is just busy,” said Karen Garthwait, a spokeswoman for Arches and Canyonlands. “Anybody who’s been here knows that from mid-March clear through October, it’s going to be a hoppin’ place down here.”

Free admission days, according to Garthwait, are uncommon since park entrance fees fund everything from restrooms and signage to ranger pay and search and rescue operations.

“A lot of people ask why national parks charge a fee — aren’t we fully funded through taxpayer dollars? And the answer is, I wish, but that’s just not the reality,” she said. “Actually, a small portion of our budget comes through that.”

Garthwait thinks every Utahn should take this week to enjoy the natural splendor our state has to offer, even if they are unable to travel down south to celebrate.

“I’ve been privileged to work for the National Park Service for 20 years, and 18 of those years have been right here in Utah because I showed up and fell in love as so many people do,” she said.

Timed-entry reservations are now required for Arches; while most times in April are booked up, more spaces become available at 7 p.m. the evening before you wish to visit the park.


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