Arches Tackling Visitation

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Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
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Jan 4, 2014
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Taking actual steps to curb unsustainable visitation in Arches.
https://www.nps.gov/arch/learn/news/news110117.htm

"Arches National Park developed a Traffic Congestion Management Plan (TCMP) to address vehicle traffic and parking congestion problems that affect visitor access, visitor enjoyment, and resource conditions.

Visitation to Arches National Park doubled in the past 11 years, reaching approximately 1.6 million visitors in 2016. During high-visitation season, March through October, visitors routinely wait in long lines to enter the park and then must search for empty parking spaces at all popular sites. Long lines to enter the park cause congestion at the intersection of U.S. 191 and the park entrance road, which can be a serious traffic hazard.

The TCMP proposes a reservation system for entrance during high-visitation season and peak- visitation hours. This system would give visitors certainty of entry, reduce or eliminate long entrance lines, spread visitation more evenly across the day, and improve the visitor experience by ensuring available parking space.

Reservations would be required for vehicle entry between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week during high-visitation season (currently March through October, but this may shift as visitation patterns change), and could be made online or by phone through www.recreation.gov.

If the TCMP is approved, full implementation would occur no earlier than March 2019. Online reservations would be available six months before the required reservation start date."

Public comment open November 1st - December 4th
 

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LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
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Why oh why would you not just implement a zion style bus system. It's cleaner, less chaotuc, less burdensome on the landscape.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Why oh why would you not just implement a zion style bus system. It's cleaner, less chaotuc, less burdensome on the landscape.
I tend to agree with you but the argument I've heard is that it's all about the size. The Zion Canyon shuttle route is something like 1/3 as large as the Arches system would be. It still seems like they could figure something out though.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
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Messages
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I tend to agree with you but the argument I've heard is that it's all about the size. The Zion Canyon shuttle route is something like 1/3 as large as the Arches system would be. It still seems like they could figure something out though.

This is what I've heard too. Much further to go with more distance between stops. Wait times would be pretty long. While people pour into the park they'd fill and fill and fill buses, not impossible logistically but Zion's every 15 minutes wouldn't work (unless they had WAY more buses.) Arches has a higher quotient of visitors that do very short hikes too. The PSA cites waiting in lots for parking but in my experience spots open up regularly, with more stagnation at Delicate Arch and Devils Garden. So long waits again mean buses filled and even longer waits.

Now if they took that road that they just repaved, got Tesla involved, and tear it all up to make some sick rail system like what exist in Japan and Europe... Definitely not the leisurely driving experience but it would move people to the trails.

Oh wait, NPS already has maintenance problems...

Let's charge these people who are getting reservations 6 months in advance $70 for those reservations! That will surely fund the rail project!
 

Kishenehn

Member
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Dec 13, 2016
Messages
138
I guess they never should of paved the roads in!
If they'd let me write the report, my Preferred Alternative would have absolutely been, "tear out the whole damn road and make people hike in."

Reading the NPS document, though, it seems like there are some significant problems with this idea. There are going to be lots of reservation no-shows, lots of people streaming into the park at 6:55 AM to avoid the reservation window, and lots of other people tackling the 4WD roads in from US 191. It's going to be really easy to evade the system ... and I'd probably do that myself, mostly because I really hate paying the stupid recreation.gov fees.
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
Messages
983
I've lived in Utah for 17 years and visited Arches for the first time in October. I'd have rather done another day in Needles but got outvoted. The scene on the road, at the Devil's Garden parking lot, and on the Devil's Garden loop trail was pretty bad.

Luckily there's a ton of BLM land where not too many people ever go... not too long ago I was out on the Sam's Mesa road and despite being a short, easy drive from Hans Flat I was the first person driving there since the last rain several weeks earlier.
 

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