Arches NP trying to cure 50 years of growing pains
Written byBRETT PRETTYMAN
National Park Service officials are aware of the lack of parking in Arches. They are exploring options to improve a transportation infrastructure that was designed 50 years ago for an annual visitation of 75,000, but now sees more than 1 million people passing through the gate each year.
The goal of the "Alternative Transportation System and Congestion Management Study" is to reduce traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of transportation on the parks’ valuable resources. There is a target of diverting 25 percent of intended traffic in the park. That does not mean reducing the number of visitors, only the number of vehicles in Arches.
The most obvious option appeared to be a shuttle system. It works in other national parks, including two in Utah — Zion and Bryce. Initial cost estimates, however, show that a shuttle — at least one paid for by the National Park Service and limited to park boundaries — would be costly and could be obsolete as visitation to Arches continues to grow. The cost of running the shuttle all 18 miles from the entrance to the Devils Garden parking lot is one of the main issues.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE