Tourism directors in southern Utah say recent warm weather increases area’s appeal

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ST. GEORGE, Utah - Warmer temperatures may be thwarting plans for those who are looking for snow in February, but in southern Utah tourism directors say it’s actually providing a slight boost in visitation.

Tourism directors said there aren’t any hard numbers to report, but anecdotally managers said they’re seeing more people out on the trails and on the golf greens. Pete Crane is among them. He’s visiting Snow Canyon State Park from Seattle.

“People told us it was going to be 70 degrees and sunny in February in St. George, so we’re here,” Crane said.

St. George Tourism Bureau director Roxie Sherwin said February is typically when things start getting busy. Major events like the Parade of Homes and The President’s Cup bring hundreds of people to southern Utah.

“It’s peak season for golf,” Sherwin said. “Our golf courses are in amazing shape right now, so this is always a busy time for us, but certainly this great weather is helpful.”

St. George golf division director Colby Cowen said that boost isn’t as high as it could be, as much of Utah is experiencing a warm spell, reducing tourism from northern Utah. But those warm temperatures are getting a few more locals outside recreating. Directors said any boost would be minor, as many plan trips in advance before unusual weather appears.

“It seems like a waste to let a sunshine, beautiful day with no wind go by,” said St. George resident Bob Thorton. “We both do triathlons, and so we’re just getting some outdoor training.”

The boost may end next week when it’s predicted temperatures will drop to a more typical range.