This year, Zion will celebrate 100 years since it became a national park. If the celebration feels a little like deja vu, that’s because it’s the second such celebration in the last 10 years. The first was in 2009. The park celebrated one century since it was established as a Mukuntuweap National Monument.
While that was certainly something to celebrate, the centennial of the national park designation is sure to bring much more fanfare. In fact, celebrations are already underway and set to kick-off at the end of this month.
“We the Keepers” Centennial Celebration
This year’s centennial festivities have been dubbed the “We the Keepers” celebration. The title pays homage to the efforts that park officials are taking to manage and preserve the fourth most popular national park in the nation.
In recent years, large crowds have descended on the relatively small park. This has been causing traffic jams and destroying some of the natural resources of Zion. Efforts are underway to control crowds and educate visitors on other activities and hikes in the park beside the most popular destinations like Angels Landing or The Narrows. “We the Keepers” refers to the joint effort that needs to be taken by park officials and visitors alike to care for Zion now in order to preserve it for future generations.
Sting with the Utah Symphony
Zion’s centennial celebration will kick-off on August 31 with a concert by the Utah Symphony and special guest Sting. Grammy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy-winner Sting will perform a selection of fan-favorites, re-imagined for an arrangement with the symphony. Hits will include “Roxanne,” “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” “Next to You,” and “Every Breath You Take.”
Tickets are still available for the event. Gates open at 6:30 pm. All proceeds from the concert go to the Zion Forever Project and will benefit the park and the centennial celebration.
2019 Zion Centennial Celebration of Art
On November 6, a celebration of art in the park will kick-off. Running until November 10, the 2019 Zion Centennial Celebration of Art event will welcome many professional artists to the park. They will give free demonstrations of their work, host a paint-off, and auction off their work to benefit the park.
Featured artists include:
- Arlene Braithwaite
- John Cogan
- Michelle Condrat
- Bill Cramer
- Cody DeLong
- George Handrahan
- Buffalo Kaplinski
- Roland Lee
- James McGrew
- Kate Starling
- Suze Woolf.
Admissions to these events are free, and everyone is welcome to join in.
New Visitor Center Film Set to Debut
Another exciting part of the centennial celebration will be the release of a brand new film for the Zion Visitors Center. The Zion Forever Project, one of the organizations working to care for and preserve the park, commissioned the new film from Local Studio, a Utah-based video production company.
The current visitor center film is over 20 years old. While the film is an excellent introduction to the park, it no longer reflects the way that modern visitors interact with the park. Two decades ago, most visitors to the park didn’t have access to the internet. Their impression of the park came from guidebooks or word of mouth from other visitors. If they had never visited before, the video served as an excellent introduction to what they would see and experience in the park.
Today, visitors to the park have unprecedented access to Zion before they ever set foot in the park. From breathtaking Instagram shots to YouTube videos of hikes, many visitors come to the park full of ideas about what they want to see and do. Some even have plans down to the exact photos they’d like to take–or more specifically, the selfies they’d love to have. They no longer need a video at the park to show them the best spots to see during their trip.
The new video will better serve the needs of today’s visitors. Rather than highlighting specific trails or landmarks, the film will encourage tourists to not just visit the park, but instead to do their part to preserve it. The film showcases interviews with a variety of people, each attached to the park in a different way. The subjects range from park rangers to new visitors, each of whom will tell their story about how they interact with the park and what they are doing to take care of it. It will debut at Dixie State University’s Cox Auditorium on November 19, 2019.
Future Projects Underway
Zion National Park’s centennial festivities won’t end with the concert and the new film. The Zion National Park Forever Project has several projects already underway for 2020 as well.
One major project is a new visitor center set to open at Cedar Breaks National Monument, one of Zion’s sister parks.
The Zion Human History Museum has also opened an exhibition of historical artifacts and photographs. The exhibition is titled “Keepers of the Sanctuary: Zion’s First 100 Years.” Open now, the exhibit will run until December 1, 2019.