The National Park Service is offering free admission to every national park in America on Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.
People from all over the world visit the national parks within Utah. Over 11 million visitors attended Utah’s 13 national parks this year, according to the National Park Service.
Aidan Reiri, a BYU student from Australia, said she believes every country has beauty to offer the world, but Utah has something very unique.
“I think people travel from all over the world because there’s something special about being an eyewitness to masterpieces like the national parks of the U.S.,” Reiri said. “Sometimes visiting these national parks is kind of spiritual. You get a humbling sense of how big and amazing the world really is, and your own small, insignificant place in it.”
Angie Jensen, a Utah native from Hyrum, said Utah’s incredibly diverse landscape may be one reason why so many people all over the world come and visit Utah’s national parks.
“In one park, there might be pine trees, rocky and ridged mountains and mountain goats, and in another just south of it, there’s smooth, red sandstone, natural arches and sand dunes,” Jensen said. “I’ve talked with people at the park from different countries all over the world, and it’s always surprised me how far people will travel to come specifically to Utah.”
Reiri and Jensen are not the only ones who feel Utah’s national parks provide travelers with something special. Barry Bounous, a BYU musical theatre professor and avid runner, has taken his family to Utah’s national parks for years. Bounous feels Utah’s national parks provide solace from fast-paced living.
“Utah’s national parks elevate and quiet the mind,” Bounous said.
Bounous said he strongly recommends BYU students take advantage of visiting all the national parks nearby, whether in Utah or surrounding states.
“BYU student ‘must-do’ hikes include a cross-park hike in Bryce and many of the hikes in Zion National Park,” Bounous said. “Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, the Emerald Pools and a mile or two up the Narrows are great, but if they’ve never hiked Angel’s Landing, they need to get on it. Not the longest or hardest, but hugely memorable.”