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Contact: Aly Baltrus
Springdale, Utah - Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the traditional summer season at Zion National Park. Historically, it has also been the park's busiest weekend of the year. Last year over 71,000 people visited Zion on Memorial Day Weekend. While the park is extending facility hours and increasing staffing, visitors should expect crowded conditions, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when wait times to enter the park and board shuttles is common. Parking typically fills by 9 a.m. so visitors should plan on parking in Springdale and take the free shuttle into the park.
The Zion Canyon Visitor Center information desk and wilderness permits desk will extend hours until 7:00 p.m. The Zion Nature Center, which houses hands-on exhibits and activities geared for junior rangers, will also open on Saturday and remain open through Labor Day from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Shuttles will also be running at full service at four to five minute intervals in the park during most of the day.
Visitors with flexible schedules are encouraged to arrive early or start their visit after 2:00 p.m. This will help them avoid the most crowded periods. "Visitors should come prepared," said Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. "Not only for crowded conditions, but also for the hikes and other activities they are planning. With so many people visiting, we ask that visitors show additional patience with others and respectful trail etiquette. We also ask that visitors keep in mind and take responsibility for their own safety. Please avoid unsafe behaviors and risk-taking." Search and Rescue incidents increased 30% last year.
Here are a few tips to help you have a more enjoyable visit to Zion. Visit the park website (www.nps.gov/zion) for important information on shuttle buses, trails and other facilities. It is recommended that visitors arrive at Zion National Park either before 9:00 a.m. or after 2:00 p.m. For those staying in local hotels, visitors should leave their cars there and walk or take the free shuttle into the park. Similarly, those arriving between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. should park in Springdale at designated parking areas and walk or take the shuttle. Park only in designated lots or paved pullouts and avoid parking on road shoulders. When parking in Springdale, please do so in areas where parking is allowed.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 410 national parks. Visit us atwww.nps.gov/zion, on Facebookwww.facebook.com/zionnps, Flickerwww.flickr.com/zionnps, Instagramwww.instagram.com/zionnps, Twitterwww.twitter.com/zionnps, and YouTubewww.youtube.com/npszion.