UEA weekend brings crowds to Zion National Park

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SPRINGDALE, Utah - UEA weekend typically means Utah families take one last vacation of the year, and many of those families are headed to southern Utah.

Zion National Park welcomes visitors from all over the world, but a few more Utah license plates in the parking lot makes for a welcome sight for local businesses.

“We love UEA weekend in Zion,” said Zion Canyon Village general manager Nate Wells. “We get to see all of our Utah neighbors, coming to see the park and enjoying the park.”

UEA means bigger crowds and longer lines, but it's also considered a final push at the end to a successful tourist season.

“Everyone has seen a great influx of customers,” Wells said. “And everyone has seen increases. It’s been a great year.”

Exactly one year ago, businesses here in Springdale were attempting to recover from the federal shutdown, which closed Zion National Park for 10 days and deeply impacted tourism. Wells said looking back, in a way it was a good thing, because if forced them to look outside of the park.

“Tourists who were here during that time, they still had a great experience,” Wells said. “Even without Zion National Park, there was still Snow Canyon, there’s St. George and Tuacahn. There’s a lot to see."

“We’re getting away for three or four days,” said Utahn Mark Jorgensen. “Trying to get out of the city, have some fun.”

Families said despite the crowds, Zion is a perfect family getaway. 5th grader Zach Jorgensen loves climbing on the red rocks, but he said the best part is being out of school.

“I’m kind of glad to get out of school,” Zach said. “5th grade is not the best, but it’s fun.”