National Park

How a government shutdown could impact Utah’s national parks

SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – If the government shuts down, it could also lead to the closure of national parks, as officials tell ABC4 they are reviewing a contingency plan.

Sarah Adent is the director of the Springdale Visitor Center near Zion National Park. After suffering a government shutdown last winter, she says she is worried.

“Last year has been like the craziest winter I have ever seen here, we’ve been slammed all day which shouldn’t have been this way due to COVID but it was so busy” , she says.

Adent says that without the park rangers, many tourists visit the park without professional advice. She says planning ahead is essential.

“It’s going to be chaos there, people who are just trying to get in and out probably turn around because it’s going to be too busy for them to even want to stay, so they’re probably going to come see us and think where the heck are going. “we, what are we doing, what’s going on inside the park? And at this point, I don’t really have the answers,” she said.

National Park Service officials told ABC4 they were “reviewing a contingency plan and decisions about specific operations and programs had not been made.” A 2018-19 closure planning document mentions that the park has ceased visitor services, including restrooms, garbage collection, and campground reservation services.

“If people still come, if they don’t know what’s going on, it’s probably going to be good for business, I would say since there isn’t much to do in the park, people will resort to to the city, ”she said.

Zion National Park officials say operations will continue as normal for now. If the government closes at midnight on Thursday, Adent suggests people avoid the park to avoid traffic and congestion and resort to local towns and villages instead.