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Arches National Park staff has been told to look at solutions other than a reservation system to deal with traffic congestion.

Months after a proposal to establish a reservation system for visiting Arches National Park in Utah was discarded, National Park Service (NPS) staff are ready to return to discussions with the public on how best to manage traffic and congestion at the iconic park, according to the National Parks Traveler.

It was back in March when concerns that a reservation system could adversely impact the Moab area to the tune of $22 million in lost economic spending that the proposal was taken off the board. At the time, the remaining range of alternatives included a shuttle system, which previously was deemed impractical, and a secondary entrance road, something Utah’s governor has suggested.

On Oct. 15 park staff will host an hour long public meeting at the Grand Center in Moab beginning at 5:30 p.m. to discuss efforts to further study visitor experience, transportation alternatives, and traffic patterns in the park.

Visitation to Arches National Park increased by more than 90% in the last 11 years. As a result, visitors face long wait times at the park’s entrance and parking lots. In 2015, the NPS began a planning process to manage traffic congestion.

That effort, the Traffic Congestion Management Plan Environmental Assessment, outlined options, including a reservation system for entry to the park. Based on comments from the public, the NPS canceled this environmental assessment and committed to gathering information on its traffic-management options.

“Waiting hours in line to enter the park or looking for parking are not the memories we want people to take away from their visit to Arches,” said Arches Superintendent Kate Cannon. “We want to improve access to the park, maintain a world-class visitor experience, promote safety, and protect resources. We look forward to working with the public and local leaders as we move to our next steps.”

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