Arcadia Publishing On July 31, 1909, Pres. William Howard Taft authorized the creation of Mukuntuweap National Monument in southern Utah. Encompassing miles of rugged mountain peaks towering above the Virgin River, the national monument was renamed Zion and designated as a national park in 1919. The area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, was settled by Mormon pioneers in the early 1860s. As the beauty of the region gained national fame, roads were constructed, tourist accommodations were established, and from 1927 to 1930, the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, a 5,613-foot-long engineering wonder, was constructed. Recognized around the world for its geologic, scenic, and historic value, Zion, Utah's first national park, draws millions of visitors each year.