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Contact: Aly Baltrus, 435 772-0160Zion National Park received a record number of visitors for the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Over the four-day weekend, visitation was approximately 80,000, representing a 20 percent increase over 2013.
Parking lots inside the park were full by 9:40 a.m. on Saturday, and by 8:40 a.m. on Sunday. Overflow parking extended throughout the town of Springdale and visitors packed themselves on to the free shuttle Zion National Park operates from the town into the park.
For the first time since the shuttle program began in 2000, all 32 buses were in service between the park and town routes. Ridership on both the town and park shuttles broke all previous records. The buses ran at capacity from 10:00 a.m. to nearly 9:00 p.m. Despite the expanded service, many visitors experienced long lines at the entrance stations, while waiting for the shuttles and on more popular trails. The evening shuttle bus drivers even reported seeing a string of lights coming down from Refrigerator Canyon from people finding their way down with the help of flashlights.
Park staff also responded to several medical events, including two staff-intensive evacuations in the Narrows, which were just hours apart from each other.
As visitation continues to increase at Zion National Park, the park is working on several projects to maximize its efficiency and address overcrowding in an effort to continue to provide excellent service. Park visitors are also encouraged to plan ahead, and if possible, visit earlier in the day and avoid holiday weekends or at least be prepared for crowds.