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Zion sees record-breaking visitation, again, in 2017

Zion sees record-breaking visitation, again, in 2017 (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) It was yet another big year for one of Utah’s Big Four, Zion National Park, with reports showing it saw 4.36 million visitors in 2017, surpassing last year’s visitation record, just through November.

After a quick start out of the gate in 2017 park officials were positive they would get close to or end up breaking their 2016 record of nearly 4.3 million people. They were right, it happened, with December yet to be counted.

Even with the massive construction project going through the town leading to Zion, Springdale, Utah, and the controversial discussion over a possible fee increase to the national park, people are still making their way to Zion.

According to the Associated Press, attendance at Zion is up 70 percent since 2010, when 2.7 million people visited the park.

A recent proposal by the National Park Service suggests Zion and 16 other parks around the country address a backlog of maintenance by raising entry fees.

It proposes raising the fee at Zion to $70 a vehicle, up from the current fee of $30 for a weekly pass.

The entrance fee proposal applies to Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Zion, all in Utah. It would also apply Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Joshua Tree in California; Grand Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming; Mount Rainier and Olympic in Washington; Shenandoah in Virginia; Acadia in Maine; Rocky Mountain in Colorado; and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Comment period on this fee proposal has been extended until Dec. 22, with 65,000 comments have been submitted so far. The plan was announced in October. Utah Rep. Mia Love was critical of the increase.

Associated Press reports that Utah's five national parks, along with its other monuments, are estimated to have brought more than $1 billion in direct visitor spending, according to National Park Service analysis.

Other Utah parks are also experiencing record growth.

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