UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 28, 2024

After dark recreation unjustly not allowed in parks

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It’s a perfect St. George night.

It’s warm and just breezy enough to cool the droplets of sweat forming on your brow. The crickets are lightly chirping in the distance, the June bugs buzzing their song, and the moon is hanging full just over the Dixie rock.

It’s just the kind of night you want to spend outside, agreed?

Take a nice jog through the vacant streets, maybe a stroll down historic downtown, or perhaps play a game of ultimate Frisbee with friends at the nearest park. No harm in that, right?

Well, according to the four—yes, four—police cars that showed up last time I attempted a jaunt through a local park on Rollerblades after 10 p.m., the previous statement is very wrong.

St. George may be famous for a lot of different things: beautiful scenery, the October marathon, Dixie State College, and an abundance of other impressive attractions. However, our dear St. George is infamous for one thing among college students and other young adults alike—and that is the park after dark ordinance. 

During the peak summer months, May through August, all St. George City parks are only permitted to be used between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Please, somebody tell me why I have to leave the park before the sun has even fully set? My game of sand volleyball must be cut short—even my dog hasn’t gotten all of his energy out yet.

In comparison, all Mesquite, Nev., city parks—just 45 minutes south of us–are open for recreation 24 hours. If it’s safety city officials are worried about, I would like them to explain to me why Mesquite parks are permitted to be open all hours of the day, yet St. George calls it a night before dark.

It could be argued that our little St. George is not as safe as we may like to think. After all, crime does take place under the cover of the night sky—and a park is the perfect stage. So the goal here is to get adolescents out of the parks and off to do something a bit safer, right?

Well city officials, here is my soapbox. If you are going to kick us out of the parks once the sun goes down, give us something remotely entertaining to do. No, I don’t want to go see a movie; no, I don’t want to eat one more bowl of frozen yogurt; and no, I will not go home and get some rest. I’m 20 years old, thank you. It’s 9 p.m. and the night is still young. I just want to Rollerblade in peace.