Winter is normally the quiet time at Arches National Park.
But not this year.
The park will waive entrance fees Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the recent completion of a monthslong road project that inconvenienced visitors and caused closures much of 2017.
The project lasted nine months and replaced roads that were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The $16 million worth of road work included the resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation of approximately 23 miles of roads and pullouts, including those along the entrance (U.S. 191) and main roads, in the campground and other spurs and loops.
Devils Garden Campground remains closed, however, awaiting the completion of a new water tank. Park officials expect the popular camping area to open sometime later this month.
The park visitor center hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For general park information, visit www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm or call 435-719-2299.
In related news, Arches officials have extended the comment period for a plan to help alleviate traffic and parking congestion at the increasingly popular park. Comments will be due Dec. 18 on a plan that could require advance reservations to enter the park much of the year.
The plan can be viewed on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at go.nps.gov/archestrafficplan.
Comments can be sent to National Park Service, Southeast Utah Group, Attn: Planning and Compliance Coordinator, 2282 S. West Resource Blvd., Moab, UT 84532. Comments must be postmarked by Dec. 18. Comments will not be accepted by fax, phone or email.