Zion’s East Side Visitor Center
-A New Home-
Updated in 2013, Zion’s Foundation Document, created by park leadership, identified the need for additional visitor resources. In 2016, the park reaffirmed the need for a new visitor center to serve a growing population of visitors entering the park from its eastern border. Today, with more than 5 million park-goers, the call for relief is more urgent than ever.
Approximately 20% or 1 million visitors annually, arrive in Zion from the east entrance. There are currently no resources to serve them. Thanks to the continued efforts of a dedicated group of stakeholders, donors, and supporters that is changing.
In an initiative led by Kane County and supported by partners like the National Park Foundation, commissioners secured $15.5M through Utah’s Community Impact Board, now transferred to a newly formed service district. This grant, along with gap funding provided by Zion Forever Project, will provide the base needed to finish planning and ultimately constructing Zion’s new visitor center. Even though planning and construction are assured, additional support is required to complete all the accompanying details to fulfill the long-term vision. Staffed by National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Kane County, and Zion Forever employees, this multi-agency location will provide visitors everything they need to feel comfortable and connected during their trip around the region.
“The only orientation available to visitors is the ranger in the park entry booth who can only spend one or two minutes with each car. Building a new visitor center will help extend and disperse visitation beyond the park gates, featuring four seasons of new programs, farmers market, orchards, and other place-based active learning experiences.” –Jeff Bradybaugh, Superintendent, Zion National Park
More than just a building, the new visitor center will become a regional home for new trails, new experiences, next-gen learning, and a central transit hub with green shuttles transporting visitors around the southwest desert. With your donations to this project, the next round of fundraising will complete interior displays, parking lots, restroom facilities, interpretive signs, park museum exhibits, and the high-tech equipment needed to make sure the park’s new theater is ready to share information about Zion with the world. The 17.7 acre site was donated by the McLaws family who see the gift as an inspiration to the next century of park planning.
This new facility is fully aligned with the park’s general management plan and helps the land agencies respond to the growing visitor needs on Zion’s high elevation plateau. With a planned groundbreaking in 2023, this multi-year project leaves a legacy that will define the park experience for decades into the future.