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Reopening of national parks in Utah draws throngs

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 12:24 p.m. MDT

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Visitors and shop owners were upbeat as all five national parks in Utah were fully operational on Saturday for the first time since the partial government shutdown began 12 days ago.

Park officials reported large crowds at Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef national parks after the state sent $1.67 million to the U.S. government in hopes of saving its lucrative fall tourist season.

The main and overflow parking lots at Zion's visitor center filled to capacity by noon, and visitors faced a minimum 15-minute wait to enter Arches.

James Milligan of Zion Outfitter in Springdale says business was almost back to normal Saturday after his store sold "absolutely nothing" while Zion National Park was closed.

Mesa Arch with a rainbow in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. (Bret Webster, Deseret News archives) Mesa Arch with a rainbow in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. (Bret Webster, Deseret News archives)

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Main Street business was humming in Moab after many businesses lost 30 percent last week while Canyonlands and Arches national parks were closed.

The money from the state will allow the parks to stay open for 10 days, and local officials are hoping the federal government will resolve its budget dispute by then.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company