Zion National Park Gets Commemorative Licence Plate, But It's No Delicate Arch

Did the state of Utah short-change Zion National Park when it agreed to issue a commemorative plate noting the park's centennial? Utah DMV images.

Zion National Park is celebrating its centennial this year, and the state of Utah's gift is a commemorative license plate honoring Zion. But it pales in comparison to the state's license plate that depicts Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

For many years Utahns have had two main choices of license plates -- the one with Delicate Arch, which debuted in 1996 as the state's centennial plate, and one that promotes the state's ski industry. There also have been a number of plates that reflect special interests, such as wildlife, disabled veteran, firefighter, etc. The special interests plates feature a white background with a relatively small logo set off to the left of the plate's number.

Sadly, the Zion National Park commemorative plate, which the state Legislature authorized in 2008, falls into the special interest category, not the Delicate Arch category.

The Zion license plate provides an opportunity for Utah residents to show their pride and support for Utah’s most-visited national park and one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Fees from the plate sales will go to the Zion National Park Foundation, a non-profit park partner, to support visitor programs, resource management projects, and facilities within the national park.

Depicting the Great White Throne and the Virgin River in Zion Canyon, the license plate image was adapted from the Zion National Park Centennial logo. The plate is one of many centennial projects designed to celebrate the park’s first 100 years.


It really could have been a much better looking plate than the one they came up with. Heck, most of the Southern states have nicer specialty college football license plates than the rather drab and mundane one issued by the state of Utah for Zion.

The Alabama plate for the Crimson Tide is really something to behold.

Zion hasn't been "short-changed", no, not unless you claim the firefighters, disabled vets, and wildlife advocates have also been short-changed. Sounds to me like the state gave Zion what they give anyone else for a commemorative plate.

I just got back from the Oregon DMV. Always a joy. They tried to up sell me, but all Oregon's "special" designs suck, especially the Crater Lake plate, which has Wizard Island at some bizarre scale and the North Rim totally fabricated. Utter crap. The Zion one wreaks, too, probably because Zion is such a vertical park and license plates are rectangular. I suppose the Great White Throne is Zion's Delicate Arch; it's too bad the designers couldn't figure out a way to make it fit. But then it would probably look like Oregon's Crater Lake plate: fictional. Too bad they couldn't have taken something of smaller scale, like the Cave Valley pictographs, the Pine Creek petroglyphs, or even a close up of Navajo sandstone. Or if landscape is what you need, then you've also got the Guardian Angels, Checkerboard Mesa, or Angel's Landing from Observation Point. Probably not iconic enough, though. Oh, well. I'm not moving back to Utah anytime soon.


I would vote for the "iconic" view of Zion Canyon by early morning (or late afternoon) light from the Rockville Bench south of Springdale, above the Virgin River and below the Eagle Crags. This scene, visited by very few tourists, would fit nicely on a horizontal license plate.

The same would be true of a panorama of early morning light on the Great West Temple, and the Temples and Towers of the Virgin as viewed from the back veranda of the old VC.

Owen Hoffman
Oak Ridge, TN 37830