Highway or Toll Road?
That sound you hear emanating from extreme southwestern Utah is not tied to spring thaw but rather to some locals irate over Zion National Park officials deciding to charge them for passing through the park.
If you look at a map of Utah's southwestern corner, and a map of Zion, you'll see that Utah 9 cuts through the park between Springdale and Mount Carmel Junction. For years, folks who live in Hurricane just west of Zion and Kanab to the southeast of the park received free permits to travel Utah 9 through Zion.
By 2011, though, the park will charge those folks for the privilege. An alternative for the motorists would be to avoid the park entirely and drive Utah 59, which swings south into Arizona before bending back to the north and Kanab.
Zion Superintendent Jock Whitworth claims the move is in the name of traffic congestion. Hurricane Mayor Tom Hirschi, though, is irate.
"I've got such a bad taste in my mouth about the park. I've been going around it for a while now," he told the Deseret News. "I've heard from quite a few folks who don't like it (the new fee structure) one bit. I just quit going through the park."