Unhappy tourists don’t spend money. They will leave town. They will be sure to share their disappointment.
Before we make such a rash decision to require permits for entrance into Arches, we should explore and implement every other possible solution, even if it is temporary.
Here are my suggestions, which have been obvious to me for years: Arches National Park encompasses 337,598 acres. There are 2,000 natural arches. How many are described in brochures and the entrance map? We should promote these lesser-known “hidden” arches. There should be more, not fewer pull-offs — every view is amazing, every view a photo opportunity. Open up a second entrance to the north at Willow Flats, the original entrance to Arches, which would allow people to go all the way through the park instead of having to turn around. Facilitate easier, more efficient entrance procedures. Have more, not fewer walking trails — each one with an exciting description. There are cliffs, canyons, boulders and rockslides — so many incredible sights. Have more camping areas. There is space. Yes, camp spots can require reservations. Of course, encourage tourists, with incentives even, to come at less busy times.
To open up the park, add camp spaces, roads, trails and a second entrance will cost money — but look at the big picture and see that it will be more economical in the long run than the complexities of a reservation system.