New Guidelines Implemented at State Parks to Address High Visitation
SALT LAKE CITY (April 29, 2020) — Following an announcement made last week by Governor Gary R. Herbert, most of Utah’s 44 state parks were opened to all visitors, with some limitations in areas where local health orders are in place.
After a busy weekend at some Utah state parks — especially those in the St. George area — we have received many questions regarding long wait times and visitor capacity. As a result, Utah State Parks has now implemented some temporary guidelines to address these concerns.
“We’re committed to maintaining the health and wellness of our staff and visitors. After last weekend, it’s evident that a few changes are necessary to increase safety and social distancing at our busiest parks,” said Jeff Rasmussen, director of the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. “We all play a role in keeping each other safe and healthy. We hope these changes contribute to a better visitor experience, and we ask those coming to state parks to do their part and practice responsible recreation.”
To help keep state parks operating efficiently while continuing to promote adequate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Utah State Parks will be undergoing some temporary operational changes.
- Visitor capacity at high visitation parks will be reduced and will now be determined by the number of developed parking spaces available inside the park.
- State Parks will partner with local law enforcement and the Utah Highway Patrol to enforce highway parking restrictions at select parks in southern Utah.
- Primitive camping will be closed or reduced at high traffic parks. This allows visitors more room to spread apart and practice social distancing.
- Increased law enforcement and staff presence will be added inside the parks to encourage social distancing and responsible recreation compliance.
- Park managers will update capacity estimates on their individual park social media pages and websites throughout the weekend.
Outdoor recreation is important to the health and wellness of Utahns and we all play a part in keeping one another safe. While outdoors, we cannot relax our efforts to practice safe social distancing and #ResponsibleRecreation. Visitors are encouraged to:
- Check park conditions online and individual state park social media accounts. Extensive wait times, closures, and other updates will be posted there.
- Choose to visit a state park during a weekday, or during non-peak hours whenever possible. Visit parks that are close to home.
- Practice safe social distancing. Give others at least six-feet of separation on trails, golf courses, fishing docks, overlooks, and other gathering areas.
- Avoid congregating at trailheads and other common areas, and maintain small group sizes.
- Stay home if you’re sick, or have symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Keep parks and recreation areas clean by packing out what you pack in, and respect facility closures like visitor centers, campgrounds, and restrooms.
- Visitors can also prepay for day use at select state parks at stateparks.utah.gov.