Utah Tourism Rose 7.8% in 2012, Record Set

September 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on Utah Tourism Rose 7.8% in 2012, Record Set 

Zion National Park was the most visited national park in Utah in 2012, attracting 3 million visitors. Photo courtesy of National Park Service

Click here to watch a video, courtesy of KUTV-TV, Salt Lake City, about the following story.

New tourism and economic numbers released Tuesday (Sept. 17) show visitors to Utah at an all-time high.

In 2012, 23.5 million tourists from the U.S. and abroad flocked to Utah, a 6.4% increase from 2011.

The amount of money travelers spent in the Beehive State saw even a larger year-over-year increase in 2012, up 7.8% to $7.4 billion.

Visitors to the state contributed $960 million in state and local taxes last year, Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governors Office of Economic Development or GOED, stated in a press release.

Utah is increasingly getting international attention as a must-visit destination, tourism officials say, mostly due to the state’s 14 world-class ski resorts and five national parks.

There’s basically something for everyone here, said Joyce Kelly, international marketing director with the St. George Area Convention and Tourism Office. Each one of our national parks is different, they’re very diverse, they’re beautiful and everyone wants to see them.

International travelers are especially attracted to Utah’s Zion National Park, Kelly says, adding that not only are more visitors coming, but they’re staying longer, too.

Zion is the most visited national park in the state of Utah with 3 million visitors each year, Kelly said. There’s nothing like hiking through the narrows on the Virgin River in the entire world.

The influx in visitors also created more jobs in 2012, with 127,781 Utahans employed in tourism-related industries, up 3% from the previous year.

The growth of Utah’s tourism industry over the past decade has improved rural economies, stimulated entrepreneurship and small business development, in turn, strengthening our rural communities, Governor Gary Herbert said in the press release.

In many of Utah’s rural counties, the tourism industry employs a significant portion of the workforce, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services. In Garfield and Summit counties, for example, nearly 40% of jobs are tied to tourism.

“It’s a lifesaver”, said Workforce Services regional economist Lecia Langston of the tourism jobs. “In our smaller counties it’s running sometimes between 30% and 40%, and obviously very, very important to those smaller economies.”

Utah has six counties where tourism employs more than one quarter of the workforce, according to the Department of Workforce Services. In additional to Garfield and Summit, the others are Grand, Kane, Wayne and Daggett counties.

“They buy our gasoline, they buy our products, they’re shopping in our stores, Kelly said of the states visitors. Its a great, huge economic impact,” Langston said.


The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs

January 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on The Latest RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From the Rockport Pilot:

The Fulton Town Council approved rezoning 4.2699 acres at 1508 Lone Star Road from residential to business to allow for construction of an RV park during their Jan. 15 meeting. The approval followed the recommendation of the Fulton Planning and Zoning Committee.

During the December meeting, Randall Rowe, owner of the Lone Star Road property, said he plans to place 21 RV sites at the property. “These sites will be a little bigger than other RV sites,” said Rowe at the time. “Our site will presently be primarily for winter Texans.”


From Charlottesville Tomorrow, Charlottesville:

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors denied an application for a 48-space camping facility on the banks of the James and Rockfish rivers in Howardsville.

The denial came in the form of a 3-3 vote Jan. 16.

“The Howardsville community is in complete unity in their opposition to this proposal,” said attorney Steve Blaine, who represented an adjacent landowner.

However, the applicant said the opposition was unwarranted and would prevent a recreational amenity for the county.

“I’m up against people who don’t want to hear children laughing and playing,” said Roger Nelson, the man who would be general manager of the site.

The board’s denial of the campsite came despite the Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation for approval after a public hearing in November.

Click here to read the entire story.


From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Rangers at Zion National Park have fined a photographer accused of offering guided tours for profit.

Steven Sieren paid a $500 fine for operating a business in the park without a license, according to a press release from park managers.

The press release said rangers received a tip about Sieren operating a commercial business in the park and contacted him as he was attempting to buy a permit to hike The Subway.

“He later admitted to investigating rangers that he was operating an advertised commercial photography workshop in the park and was planning on leading one into the wilderness,” the press release states.

Rangers issued the fine on Dec. 4.

Sieren runs a website with a lot of photos of Zion. As of Friday, his website also advertised photography workshops in national parks in California.

Here is a tip for anyone wanting to pay for a guided tour of a national park: Ask the guide if he or she is properly licensed.


From CBS News, Miami:

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is making it easier for Florida’s foster kids to enjoy the great outdoors.

The DEP has partnered up with state child welfare officials to give thousands of foster kids free passes to state parks this year.

The agencies donated 15,000 state park passes for foster families to use in Florida’s 171 state parks and trails in 2013.

Officials said learning about nature is a great way to strengthen families.

Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said he wants foster children to have the same experiences as other children including enjoying sports and other outdoor activities.

Last year, DCF created the “Fostering Florida’s Future” initiative aimed at better recruiting foster parents. Part of the initiative provides normal activities to children in care so they can have the same experiences as any child.



Flooding Closes Some Zion N.P. Campgrounds

March 2, 2011 by · Comments Off on Flooding Closes Some Zion N.P. Campgrounds 

Floodwaters have closed down all 12 backcountry campsites in southern Utah’s Zion Canyon Narrows area of Zion National Park, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Park spokesman David Eaker said Tuesday (March 1) the sites will be closed indefinitely, until rangers can safety enter the areas to assess damage and make needed repairs.

In late December, heavy rains caused extensive flooding along the North Fork of the Virgin River, including the Narrows.

All overnight trips in the Narrows require a backcountry permit. In an average year, reservations for such trips are available two to three months ahead of time through the park website.