Establishing a Visitor Contact Station for Zion’s East Entrance
More than one million visitors enter Zion National Park through the East Entrance every year. The only orientation available to them is the ranger in the park’s fee entrance booth, who cannot spend more than a couple of minutes with individual cars. No services other than very small pit toilet restrooms built in 1965 are available adjacent to the entrance station.
Through vision and partnership, a new project is underway to build a visitor facility through a collaboration that includes Zion National Park, the Zion Forever Project, Zion Mountain Ranch, the Bureau of Land Management, and Kane County. Proposed on the corner of State Route 9 and North Fork Road, the new center will house park and surrounding public land orientation for a variety of experiences originating from the site. The Contact Station will also issue park backcountry permits, provide educational and interpretive programming, host exhibits and events, and house a park store operated by the Zion Forever Project with proceeds benefiting the greater Zion landscape.
This project will help fund the design of the approximately 5000 square-foot facility through sustainable design methods including use of locally sourced materials. Experiences will include heritage farming, a harvest market, orchards and ranch life on adjacent private lands protected through conservation easements.
The site will serve as a future shuttle hub and include an outdoor amphitheater for park and Zion Forever Project events and programs including Jr. Ranger, agency and partner offices, daily field reports and park/public lands updates, trail and campground status, and a natural spring water “filling” station. Public restrooms and a parking area will be included. This project will support the interior design for the facility, while exterior and landscape design will be funded by the property owners. It is anticipated that the park and the Zion Forever Project will enter into a long-term lease arrangement for use of the facility.
This project will significantly improve the visitor experience for more than one million visitors annually. It will serve as a model for public-private partnership and will extend the visitor experience across the greater Zion landscape. The facility will be a new hub of visitor services, including an extensive new multi-use trail network for bicyclists and hikers, including wilderness quality hiking and horseback riding, connecting to spectacular BLM lands north and south of the property. Future planning includes connection to the park trail system.