Number of visitors to Arches National Park is on the decline

Aug 9, 2022, 6:30 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2022, 4:43 pm
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FILE: (Arches National Park/National Park Service)
(Arches National Park/National Park Service)

MOAB, Utah — In recent years, Arches National Park has been overwhelmed with visitors. 

The park recently implemented a time entry system to help cut down on traffic jams and overcrowding in the park, which were creating poor visitor experiences. However, that system could actually be working against the park as fewer people have visited the park in recent months. 

Arches National Park Spokesperson Kait Thomas says the decline in the number of visitors to the park can be blamed on several issues.

“The drop in visitation is likely a combination of factors,” she said. “We do think that it is possible that time entry may have slightly decreased some visitation. But the thing is, we still have tickets that are available. We have more tickets available than are being sold. So, we actually have filled or exceeded the demand for tickets.”

Thomas says the popularity of the park made it necessary for park officials to put a reservation system into place.

“Over the last several years, especially the last decade or so,” she said. “Visitation to Arches climbed over 66%, and it created a lot of hazards in the park.”

Those hazards created dangerous situations and ruined the experience for some visitors. 

“Really just poor visitor experiences,” Thomas said. “Where people were on top of people.”

Thomas says before the time entry system was put into place, the park would have to close the park gates temporarily and delay access to the park. Thomas says with the time entry system, park officials took the visitation and spread it out throughout the day.

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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Number of visitors to Arches National Park is on the decline