ZION NATIONAL PARK — The parking lot at Zion National Park's Middle Fork of Taylor Creek Trailhead is being reduced to help fight overcrowding. The trail, which is in the Kolob Canyons section of the park, is part of the park's designated wilderness.   

Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth said he is sympathetic to trail users. "We know this will inconvenience some visitors, but that is not our intention. We are mandated to manage that part of the park as wilderness, which involves limiting the number of visitors and the size of groups on certain trails," he said. "This enables us to provide a sense of solitude that can't be found in the main canyon at Zion."  

"Instead of everyone visiting all at once, we hope that people will think about hiking the Middle Fork Trail in the early morning, late afternoon, or during weekdays, when it is less crowded. Also, please do not bring groups larger than 12 out on the trail at a time. This will really help us continue to provide that wilderness experience and preserve the primitive character of the landscape," Whitworth said.   

The parking lot size reduction will be accomplished through the construction of fences. Park staff will monitor the success of the effort and may remove the fences if they do not accomplish the project's goals.   

If the fences do not achieve a reduction in overcrowding, other methods will be considered, such as creating a permitting system.