By SHEA N. CUTLE
Forecasted sunny skies mean that many Utah residents will be driving south for the Easter weekend.
Utah Highway Patrol reinforcements will be arriving in St. George to help with the crowds, said Brent Crosby, public relations director for the city. A motorcycle unit will also be called in because of their easy mobility in traffic, he said.
A total of about 20 officers, part of the Driving Under the Influence squad and part of the motorcycle squad, along with other officers from the Utah Highway Patrol, will be in St. George this weekend, said the receptionist for the Utah Highway Patrol. She said about 10 officers will be in Moab.
The Salt Lake Tribune said a DUI van, complete with a holding cell, would be in St. George for quick processing — but Crosby said this was a mistake. He said the extra precautions taken will be in the form of “adequate numbers (of officers) to handle the crowds, just like any other big activity.”
The St. George Art Festival, a craft show, biking and hiking, along with beautiful weather — lure people to the city, Crosby said. But he’s hoping that the activities will be family oriented and not directed toward the teen-agers who crowd the streets each year.
“We’re hoping it will be more of a family event, and that families will come with their teen-agers,” Crosby said.
Hotels ranging from the Hilton with 100 rooms, to Motel 6 with 103, are all full for this weekend. Only Sleep Inn has rooms available on Saturday night. According to the clerk at Travel Lodge, where all 48 rooms are booked for the weekend, “Everybody’s booked up.”
The clerk at Motel 6 said it is not uncommon, however, to be booked every weekend from now until October, “and anytime anything’s going on.”
“On a weekend, it’s not uncommon (to be booked), at all.”
Zion Canyon Campground, located just outside the national park, is almost completely reserved. People can mail in reservations — just as they have since January, the receptionist said.
When asked how many people usually come for the weekend, the receptionist at Zion National Park said, “A lot. A big ‘a lot.'” Though it’s crowded throughout the summer, this weekend is especially crowded because of spring break, she said.
To those heading south, Crosby advised, “Like any busy weekend, everyone should use good, common sense.”