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Substantial increases in the number of visitors to Kodachrome State Park in southern Utah have been reported by Park Superintendent Tom Shakespear, attributed to a new bridge over the Paria River and paving of the road leading to the park.

During late summer and fall months, general visitations increased by 115 percent. There was an even greater increase in camping, 127 percent. Shakespear visualizes double the numbers next year, stating the only drawback to visiting the park in the past has been poor access.The bridge was completed and the road paved from Cannonville, Garfield County, to the north entrance of the park in mid-August. The superintendent believes many potential visitors were turned away by the prospect of crossing the river and traveling the unpaved road to the park.

By comparison, the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park recorded decreases in visitation numbers. Only about 50 miles separate the distance between the two parks. Shakespear serves as superintendent of both parks.

He said seasonal ranger programs have been discontinued at Kodachrome, but the park's self-guided trails appeal to hikers at other times of the year. Some visit the park in the winter. It has hot showers, 26 campsites, a group camping area and a new dump station.

Shakespear said a building is being renovated for a new visitor center at the Petrified Forest Park, located near Escalante, Garfield County. Completion is expected by spring.

Reservations for individual campsites at the parks should be completed 120 days in advance and for group areas a year before visiting, Shakespear suggested. Reservations may be completed by calling (801) 679-8562.