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Zion National Park breaks record with 5 million visitors in 2021

Zion National Park line
Posted at 3:32 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 17:32:52-05

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah — Zion National Park set a record last year which may not be a good thing in the long run.

According to officials, Zion recorded 5,039,835 visitors in 2021, the first time in park history that attendance broke the 5 million mark. In fact, last year's attendance nearly doubled the number of annual visitors from just a decade ago.

But while business is certainly booming at Zion, there are concerns over whether capacity issues are hurting the park.

“Clearly our visitors value their parks and public lands. At the same time, intense visitation presents challenges to achieve our mission to conserve the park’s resources and provide engaging visitor experiences – experiences that lift and renew our spirits,” Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent said. “More visitors are enjoying Zion than ever before. At the same time, we are straining to protect the unique resources that make Zion special and live up to our high standards for visitor service.”

Those areas affected by Zion's record-breaking attendance include:

  • Landscapes, plants, animals and history
  • Staff, volunteers and infrastructure
  • Visitors’ experiences
  • Partners and neighbors

Moving forward, the National Park Service is looking into what can be done to preserve park resources. A park service plan created in 2016 has been collecting visitor data which is being used to test possible solutions to keep the visitor experience high, while also protecting the park itself. One of those solutions is the creation of a reservation system for the popular Angel Landing area.