100 Years of Zion

On Nov. 19, 1919, Congress officially incorporated Zion National Park as the 16th in the National Park System and the first in Utah. 

The park, originally named Mukuntuweap National Monument by President William Howard Taft in 1909, has now seen 100 years of historical operation.

Postcard of cars at tunnel east entrance, ca. 1960. Donated by Donald Falvey. Museum Catalog No. ZION 12051.

To celebrate the centennial, the Zion Forever Project held an event on Nov. 19 at Dixie State University. This event included a new feature-length film commissioned by Local Studio, a Utah-based video production company. 

This was the first showing of the film, which will now be played at Zion’s visitor center, featuring the voices and memories of the diverse keepers of the iconic sanctuary. 

The event marked the end-of-the-year conclusion of Zion Forever Project’s campaign,“We the Keepers.”  This campaign started with a benefit performance by Sting and the Utah Symphony in August of this year. 

A similar cultural celebration was held 10 years ago, to commemorate the centennial of Zion’s initial designation as a national monument.

The Zion Forever Project is the official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park. To learn more about Zion National Park, visit the National Park Service website for conditions, fees, and other information to help plan a visit. 

The Zion Forever Project also has information regarding their mission and how they plan to preserve the park.

Zion rests on 229 square miles in southern Utah near the town of Springdale, about an hour’s drive from Cedar City. 

Zion is perhaps most well-known for Zion Canyon, which extends 15 miles through the park through towering pink and white Navajo sandstone walls and spires.

From Zion Canyon, visitors have gain access to popular hikes such as Angel’s Landing, Emerald Pools, Hidden Canyon, Observation Point, and the Narrows.

During peak months, Zion has around four million annual visitors, making it the fourth most visited national park in the U.S.

Story by: Ryan Sunderman
Photos by: Reyce Knutson and courtesy nps.gov/zion