zion national park
Rangers at Zion National Park have announced plans to expand vehicle DUI checkpoints and traffic patrols in an effort to provide a safer visit for the approximately three million visitors to Zion each year. The announcement by park Superintendent Jock Whitworth said, "Rangers in the National Parks have two essential missions. One is to preserve and protect natural and cultural resources in perpetuity. The other is to provide for the safe enjoyment of those resources by visitors.”
Using funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Zion Rangers plan to conduct high visibility enforcement efforts, including sobriety checkpoints and saturation enforcement patrols on park roads to help prevent drunk driving. The first enhanced effort is set to occur during a 2-week period around the July 4th holiday period. A second effort is scheduled for early September around the Labor Day holiday. Additional high visibility patrols are planned for late October, around Halloween and the hunting season. Regular enforcement efforts will continue to occur throughout the year.
“In addition to our continued work to protect the resources," Whitworth added, "we are planning to expand our efforts and vigilance to prevent alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Impaired driving in Zion is especially dangerous due to the narrow roads, steep drop-offs and sharp turns. Zion National Park’s enforcement is aimed to keep all visitors, local residents, and wildlife safe on the park’s roads. Our goal is to not to write a lot of tickets or make a lot of arrests. Rather it is to make people think twice about driving after drinking. Better yet, people should appoint a sober designated driver before they go out in the first place."
Patrol operations will take place at all of Zion National Park’s heavily-traveled locations, including the Main Park Road and the Kolob Terrace Road. The park plans to work collaboratively with the Utah Department of Public Safety and neighboring law enforcement agencies to increase regular patrols. These efforts will enhance the safety of both visitors and park wildlife, Whitworth said.