Zion NP Receives $33M Grant For New Electric Shuttles

Feb 3, 2021, 4:42 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm
FILE: Yellow leaves frame white shuttle buses in front of red sandstone cliffs at Zion National Par...
FILE: Yellow leaves frame white shuttle buses in front of red sandstone cliffs at Zion National Park. (NPS/Facebook)

SPRINGDALE, Utah – National Park Service officials said Zion National Park will begin replacing its aging shuttle fleet with electric buses thanks to a $33 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The park’s propane-powered buses will be replaced over the new few years with 26 zero-emission, battery-powered buses.

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to begin replacement of our shuttle fleet,” said Jeff Bradybaugh, park superintendent. “The existing fleet has served us well for 21 years but has started to deteriorate with age and use. The new equipment consists of quiet, zero-emission buses that will help to further improve the visitor experience and demonstrate National Park Service leadership in environmental sustainability.”

Engineering and service connections have been completed for the first set of charging stations to be installed this year. Eventually, there will be 27 charging stations for buses at the park.

New buses will arrive at the park periodically over the new few years.

The $33 million grant will couple funding through USDOT’s Nationally Significant Lands and Tribal Program with contributions from the National Park Service, Iron and Washington counties and the Zion National Park Forever Project, the park’s official nonprofit partner.

“We are incredibly grateful to our longtime partners at the Department of Transportation for their support in receiving this transformative grant funding investment,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “This project has universal and bipartisan support from local, state, and federal elected officials and demonstrates the NPS commitment on finding collaborative solutions for Zion’s visitors and neighboring communities.”

The current shuttle fleet began service in July 2000 and accommodated more than 6 million visitor boardings in 2019.

Zion recently passes Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks to become the nation’s fourth-most visited national park.

“These funds to modernize Zion’s transportation system will benefit our visitors and the rural economies who depend on those visitors,” Gov Spencer Cox said. “Additionally, this new electric bus system will better serve the sensitive ecosystem of Zion, preserving its beauty for future generations.”

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Zion NP Receives $33M Grant For New Electric Shuttles