SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah national park famed for its otherworldly sandstone arches will require visitors to get timed entry tickets during its high season next year, the second Utah park to implement such a system as visitation swells.
Arches National Park officials said Friday they’re not trying to decrease the number of visitors during the six-month period, but rather spread them out over the course of the day. The announcement came a week after nearby Zion National Park said it would require reservations to hike the famed cliffside Angels Landing trail.
At Arches, visitation skyrocketed 66% over the last decade, and is on track to break another record this year with nearly 1.7 million visitors as of the end of October, said park spokesperson Kait Thomas. At times, Arches has gotten so crowded officials have had to close the gates for hours at a time to delay entry.
Tickets will be available for a total of 2,700 vehicles per day, about the average number on a busy day in 2019, she said.
“We’re not trying to limit visitation, we’re just trying distribute it,” Thomas said.
The system will only be in place between April and October next year, and tickets are only required from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. People can enter without a ticket outside those hours and months.
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