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Tourism officials trying to tell visitors national parks are clean in Utah

(Rick Bowmer, AP, file, 2015)

SALT LAKE CITY – The state office of tourism is trying to clear the air about conditions at national parks in Utah.  They’ve been busy telling people that the parks here aren’t going through the same problems as in other parts of the country.

There are reports floating all over the internet describing how dirty the bathrooms have become in national Parks because of the government shutdown.

Utah Office of Tourism Director Vicki Varela says, “It breaks out hearts to hear about the things that are happening at other national parks around the country.”

For the past two weeks, officials at the department have been fielding questions about whether or not the parks are open, and if they’re clean.  Varela says her office has been authorized to use state funds to keep the parks running exactly as they have been before.

Varela says they’ve been slammed with calls, but, most of their inquiries have come online.

“We have thousands of people who check our website and it has updated information about the conditions of each of the parks,” she says, adding, “We have a web chat at where people can get interactive information.”

The Office of Tourism has been allowed to come to a specific arrangement with each national park to determine how much help they’ll need to stay running.  Some parks don’t have nearly the amount of visitor in the winter as they do in the summer, therefore, they don’t need as much help.

“We have now narrowed our assistance to the most visited parks in January, which are Zion and Bryce Canyon,” according to Varela.