Utah parks in disrepair

By Amy Brunvand

In July, an intense thunderstorm hit Zion National Park. Rockfall and water damage closed popular trails to Angel’s Landing and Upper Emerald Pools. As of this writing the trails are still closed, with the cost of trail restoration adding to an already existing $65,291,893 maintenance backlog at Zion.

For many years the U.S. Congress has failed to fully fund the national park. Deferred maintenance projects are building up. As of 2017 Utah’s national parks needed $266,100,893 worth of repairs on buildings, campgrounds, trails, roads and water systems.

Meanwhile, park visitation has continued to soar. National Park Service statistics show that in 2017 Utah’s national parks had more than 15 million visits with Zion, Glen Canyon Natural Resource Area (Lake Powell), Bryce Canyon, Arches and Capitol Reef each attracting over a million visitors.

Last spring the Trump administration threatened to address the maintenance backlog by raising entrance fees and by privatizing park management in order to increase campground fees. Public backlash resulted in a smaller fee increase, but parks still need money.

NPS Maintenance Backlog: nps.gov/subjects/infrastructure/maintenance-backlog.html

This article was originally published on October 8, 2018.