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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

What To See While The National Parks Are Shut Down

As of today, the U.S. government is being partially shut down and that includes our national parks, national monument and national recreation areas. These properties will not offer any services. In addition, BLM and Forest Service properties are closed.


Campgrounds and patrolled trails are also closed.

Much of the land managed by BLM and the Forest Service is backcountry and we assume there is no restriction on people recreating and camping there.

How long with the shutdown last? Nobody knows, but it probably won't be very long. There is already a bill making its way through Congress that would allow the parks to reopen, even while our elected leaders haggle about other aspects of the budget.

Nevertheless, there is plenty to do and see in Utah even with our parks closed. Adjacent towns will still offer full services.

Here are some ideas:

Drive highways near or through national parks.

Major roads that cross national park land will remain open. Spur roads inside the parks will be closed. So you will be able to enjoy national park scenery but you are asked not to stop inside the parks
Enjoy activities and scenery just outside of the parks.

The good stuff doesn't stop at the park boundary. In many areas, scenery just outside the park is every bit as dynamic as that found inside. There are campgrounds, hiking trails, scenic overlooks and other attractions just outside of all of our parks.

The entire town of Springdale, just outside Zion Park, offers national park-like scenery in every direction.

In the Moab area, attractions outside park boundaries are just as popular as those inside the parks. There are countless roads, trails and vistas to explore. BLM facilities are closed by there is still plenty of area to play.

Visit Utah State Parks

Our state parks will not be affected by the federal government shutdown - they are open and accommodating. They offer scenery and adventure that compares with that found inside the more famous national parks. Some would undoubtedly be national parks, were they located in any state other than Utah.

Explore Indian Country
Monument Valley, Four Corners and other spots owned by Native American tribes will be open as usual. They offer

Other Playgrounds
Since Utah is mostly federal ground, the shutdown is affecting many areas in our state. But there are backcountry roads and trails in many spots where you can still find room to roam. Some good options include:

The list could go on and on. Don't hesitate, get out and explore.

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