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Utah State Parks getting ready for Labor Day weekend

People gather at the Jordanelle Reservoir to browse the water sport tents and try out a multitude of water crafts on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s state parks took a hit earlier this year with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, issuing regulations that scared away many foreign tourists. 

However, Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said they were quickly able to pick up the slack. 

“Some of our southern Utah parks, during the early spring, had lots of visitors from our neighboring states,” Swalberg said. “Overall, it’s been a great summer as far as visitation.”

That’s one of the reasons the state parks system is preparing for a big rush this Labor Day weekend. 

The other is increasing demand as Utahns vacation closer to home. 

“The visitation increase from July 2019 to July 2020, just for those months, was over 20%,” Swalberg said.  

It’s not just popular parks like Jordanelle that can sometimes burst at the seems, according to Swalberg. Lesser-known parks have had to put in reservation systems to handle all the traffic. 

“Many of our state parks have seen their visitation rise to the level where they need to start restricting parties and recreators from coming in for a time,” Swalberg said. 

An upside from all this increased business is the parks are planning to pay for much-needed upgrades to its infrastructure.

Swalberg recommends people who want to go to the state parks over Labor Day to check if they need a reservation first. 

Visitors will also need to wear masks and social distance from others.