If government shuts down, state plans to keep national parks open

Nov 15, 2023, 1:09 PM | Updated: 1:12 pm

Zion National Park...

With a potential government shutdown looming, Utah state officials say the state's five national parks will remain open. (KSL TV)


SALT LAKE CITY — With a potential government shutdown looming on Friday of this week, state officials say they have a plan in place to keep Utah’s five national parks open.

With the help of the Utah Office of Tourism, state officials have set aside $5 million to keep the parks open. The funding will allow the parks to remain open from the week before Thanksgiving through the week after Christmas.

The funding will allow each of the parks to operate with full operations, including visitor’s center, trash pickup and bathroom cleanup as well as shuttles running as usual in Zions National Park.

“The federal government may be shutting down,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. “But Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks will be open and welcoming to visitors. Utah residents and international tourists alike seek winter adventures in these magical places, and we are planning to do right by all of them.”

According to a news release from the Utah Office of Tourism, Utah was among the top three states in the country for economic output for visitor spending at national parks with $2.6 billion added to the state’s economy.

Additionally, the release also states that Utah’s national parks see on average more than 16,900 visitors a day in November and more than 10,000 visitors per day in December.

The 46 state parks around the state are open and ready for visitors.

“With a federal government shutdown looming, Utah is providing an early holiday present to national parks lovers,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “The certainty that they can have a full national park experience during peak holiday demand at any one of the Mighty 5® national parks, despite the pending federal government shutdown.”

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If government shuts down, state plans to keep national parks open