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National park and recreation area data shows Lake Powell visitation way down, Zion up

Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 20:45:35-04

SOUTHERN UTAH — It doesn’t feel like they had fewer visitors, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area spokesperson Mary Plumb told Fox 13 when asked about what appears to be a substantial visitor decline over the summer of 2019 when compared with the summer of 2018.

Glen Canyon, home to Lake Powell, is an economic driver for the Four Corners region, bringing an estimated $411 million to the regional economy in 2018, when the park counted 4.2 million visitors.

But visitation numbers from January through August of 2019 are down 31 percent compared with the same period in 2018, signaling the potential for a hundred million dollar hit to the local economy.

Plumb said it’s too early in the year to evaluate visitor numbers.

“We probably won’t know until the end of the year,” she said.

While Glen Canyon is estimated to generate more tourist, business and labor dollars, Zion National Park draws more total visitors.

Zion saw a sharp increase in summer-to-summer visitation, up 17 percent in June-August of 2019 compared with the same months of 2018.

Utah State Parks don’t provide month-to-month numbers until the end of the fiscal year, but they say they are seeing continued growth in visitor numbers.

“The word's getting out that while Utah does have the Might Five, we also have 44 beautiful state parks and recreation areas along with some museums and heritage sites as well,” Utah State Parks spokesman Devan Chavez said