(KUTV) — One hundred years ago — Nov. 19, 1919 — the U.S. Congress redesignated a monument as a park and Zion National Park was born.
The act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson, changing a protected canyon known as Mukuntuweap National Monument into the park, now a century old.
According to historian Hal Rothman, part of the reason behind the change was the belief that nobody would visit a park with a native name or a Spanish name. The name Zion was used since it was in familiar use by the local religious community.
Zion is known worldwide and attracts visitors from around the globe. It is one of Utah's "mighty five" national parks, and the busiest of them. In 2018 the National Parks Service reported 4.3 million visitors, more than the famed Yellowstone.
The park is home to many native species, including birds such as the California condor, the Mexican spotted owl, the peregrine falcon, and the bald eagle. Many of the mammals in the park are nocturnal but it includes, coyotes, ringtail cats, porcupines, skunks, raccoons, badgers, bats, fox, beavers and mountain lions in the high reaches. Bighorn sheep were re-introduced in 1973. It is a refuge for insects, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.
For humans, it offers hiking, backpacking, river trips, cycling, and other ranger-guided activity.
Visit the official website for more information including current trail closures: nps.gov/zion/index.htm.