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Zion National Park to take traffic control measures in March

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This Jan. 20, 2011 file photo shows shadows creeping up on sandstone cliffs glowing red as the sun sets on Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah.

This Jan. 20, 2011 file photo shows shadows creeping up on sandstone cliffs glowing red as the sun sets on Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah.

Julie Jacobson, Associated Press

SPRINGDALE, Washington County — For the next three weekends, Zion National Park will implement traffic control to ensure visitor safety. March 15-16, March 22-23 and March 29-30 are heavy traffic weekends in the park, and park visitors should expect long lines at entrance stations and are encouraged to carpool. The park's shuttle bus system does not begin operation until April 1.

Visitors in the park on these dates should expect designated parking lots and pullouts along the Scenic Drive to fill up quickly. For the protection of park visitors and park resources, parking outside of designated areas is not permitted. During weekends in March, if it becomes apparent that visitation exceeds parking availability on the Scenic Drive, rangers will proactively manage traffic on the Scenic Drive.

Traffic control measures could include one- to two-hour periodic closures at the turn off onto the Scenic Drive from state Route 9. Vehicles parked outside designated areas, on vegetation, or blocking or restricting the movement of vehicle traffic may be cited. Visitors to Zion Canyon should be prepared to visit other areas of the park or to park farther than usual from their expected starting point and may find parking is full.