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Contact: Angie Richman, (435) 719-2140
Contact: Park Information Line, (435) 719-2313
MOAB, UT— As you begin to make your summer plans for Arches and Canyonlands national parks, the National Park Service wants to remind you to please plan ahead and expect limited available parking and extended wait times to enter the park.
Visitors are encouraged to check the parks’ websites, Twitter accounts, or traffic webcams for current entrance gate information and road conditions prior to leaving for their visit.
“Since last fall, we have seen record visitation and we expect that trend to continue into summer and beyond,” said Superintendent Patty Trap. “I am committed to collaborating with our communities, businesses, non-profit partners, and the public to find long-term, more permanent solutions to address congestion in a thoughtful way, enhance the quality of visitors' experiences, and maintain the tremendous economic engine our national parks provide.”
Since October 2020, visitation to Arches National Park has consistently risen as much as 70% in some months compared to previous years. As a result, visitors can expect some delays to enter the park to ensure roads remain accessible to public and emergency vehicles. Entrance delays occur when all three primary parking lots (Devils Garden, Wolfe Ranch and Windows) become full. Park rangers stationed at these parking lots constantly monitor vehicles coming and going and notify law enforcement officers when those lots are full. Entrance delays typically last 2-3 hours.
“We continue to increase parking capacity at Arches National Park,” said Superintendent Trap. “During the Fall of 2019, 14 new parking spots were added to the upper Windows parking lot, and 9 additional spaces will be added to the lower lot this summer."
Canyonlands is also experiencing unprecedented visitation. In January 2021, visitation to Canyonlands was up 100%, resulting in extended wait times to enter the park, illegal parking creating safety and resource preservation issues, and visitors walking in and along roadways to access viewpoints and trailheads, creating unsafe conditions.
Since 2019, the NPS has been involved in a variety of data collection efforts and workshops to better define visitor use and travel patterns, desired conditions, and to study solutions to improve access and ease traffic and congestion within Arches National Park. These include a feasibility study for shuttle systems, a feasibility study for additional entrance roads for the park, and an updated visitor-use study for the park. We are also planning visitor surveys in late spring/early summer 2021. Later this summer, the NPS plans to share those updates with the public for their feedback and to help inform how we develop and implement long-term solutions.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: September 2, 2021