Kolob Canyons Visitor Center to see expansion, improved accessibility

File photo of the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, built in 1984 with money raised from the Zion Natural History Association (now known as the Zion Forever Project), Zion National Park, Utah, May 19, 2017 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The National Park Service is working to expand and improve the restrooms at Kolob Canyons Visitor Center on the northwest side of Zion National Park.

The new facilities will double capacity, improve accessibility and reduce water use. Site preparation is underway now, and the park service anticipates finishing the project in fall 2022, according to a press release issued Thursday.

Staff at the visitor center will continue to provide services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Visitors can use portable toilets at any time while the expanded restrooms are under construction.

Construction will only happen in the area next to the visitor center.

The park service does not anticipate the project will affect the Kolob Canyons Road, the news release adds. And park service biologists will work with the project contractor to protect native species and restore the landscape when work is complete.

Illustration provides details of the expansion | Image courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

This project complements previously completed projects to increase restroom capacity and improve accessibility in park campgrounds, at trailheads in Zion Canyon, on the east side of the park, and along the Kolob Terrace and Kolob Canyons Roads. It also builds on previously completed long-term planning and construction projects at Kolob Canyons.

Since 2010, the National Park Service has done work at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center to proactively:

  • Increase water main capacity.
  • Expand the septic system.
  • Improve accessibility by reducing the steepness of the parking lot in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration.
  • Update signs on I-15 in collaboration with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).

The park service is proactively working to identify other opportunities to improve visitor services in the park.

Zion recorded about 2.8 million visits in 2011 and more than 5 million in 2021. As the number of people who visit Zion continues to rise, the park service is preparing a plan designed to sustain high-quality visitor experiences and sustainably manage park resources. The park service plans to share an update on the plan and ask for public feedback about it later in 2022, the news release states.

Park fees at work 

Fees make the park – and visitor experience – better. Some improvements happen behind-the-scenes and others, like work on the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, are very visible parts of a visitor’s experience. Learn more about how fees support essential park operations.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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