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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, October 23, 2014

'creepytings' Vandalizes National Parks Across the Western US

A graffiti artist calling herself “creepytings” has defaced rocks in national parks across the Western U.S., including Zion and Canyonlands in Utah. She may also have painted on rocks at Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

The graffiti is being considered a federal offense and officials are investigating. If anyone notices any suspicious behavior in any of the parks, they are encouraged to contact authorities. Apparently she has painted scenes on rocks at recognizable spots in prominent national parks. She signs all of the work with the tag, creepytings. She then photographed some of the graffiti and posted the images online.

The Deseret News has this report about the investigation. Below are excerpts.

Several Instagram and Tumblr posts made by artist Casey Nocket appear to indicate that she has painted on rocks in national parks and national monuments — including Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands national parks and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — across the West, according to the Modern Hiker article. The Instagram account Creepytings has since been set to private, and officials did not immediately confirm that the artist was connected.

The National Park Service says this is now a federal investigation, and although it appears rangers know who the woman is, there's no word whether she has been caught yet, or even whether rangers know where she is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We Need Your Vote For Salt Lake As Best NBA Destination City has a fun feature where its readers vote to determine the 10 Best in various categories. The latest will name the best NBA destination city. You can see the write-up here.

Salt Lake City, home to the Utah Jazz, is in the running. Actually, we think it has a great chance of winning. And it will win, if we motivate the vote. So, what are you waiting for? Go vote!

Here's the summary: “Basketball fans have until MONDAY, NOV 17 at NOON to vote for their favorite NBA destination. Our expert, USA TODAY sports writer Sam Amick, used the following criteria to make the nominations: fun things to do in city, quality and location of venue, level of fandom, iconic status of city and/or team, special events or games which are played there, likelihood of seeing a great game, star players and ease of getting to and around the city, You can vote once a day until the contest ends. Good luck to all the nominees!“

Utah fans are loud and proud - EnergySolutions Arena is one of the loudest in the NBA.

The Jazz have been “rebuilding” the past few years, but have tremendous young talent going into this season. They have played strong during the preseason, earning a 5-2 record. Final preseason action will be against Phoenix on Friday, Oct. 24, at EnergySolutions Arena. The regular season begins Wednesday, Oct. 29, as the Jazz host the Houston Rockets.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Latest And Luxest At Utah's Top Ski Resorts has this interesting article listing the best and most luxurious at the best resorts in the U.S. It's comments about Utah ski resorts are interesting. Here are a few tidbits. It is worth reading the entire article.

Utah’s 14 ski resorts beckon with 500 annual inches of the lightest and driest powder to be found on the planet—hey, it isn’t billed as the “greatest snow on Earth” for nothing. From the Alps-like setting of Alta Ski Area and Snowbird to the luxurious vibe of Deer Valley Resort and the rusticly chic Sundance Mountain Resort, world-class skiing is all within reach.

...thanks to the new relationship between The St. Regis Deer Valley and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, guests of the hotel can arrange for exclusive training with an Olympian at the USSA Center of Excellence—a national training and education center.

Once the lifts close, head over to the Umbrella Bar to share a pitcher of beer and enjoy a free concert at Canyons’ main stage across from the bar!

RUN OF YOUR LIFE At Canyons, take Lookout Ridge to the base of the Orange Bubble Express. This run offers perfectly groomed pitches ideal for carving S-turns at a comfortable speed, plus incredible views of the resort and the Uinta Mountains in the distance.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Colors In Utah National Parks

Fall colors are fading in the Utah high country, but are moving toward perfection in lower elevations including spots in our national parks.

I drove the Nebo Loop today and enjoyed seeing colors in various stages. Down near the mouth of the canyon the foliage was vivid. Up on top, most aspen were naked. The two photos that illustrate this blog post were shot on today's trip.

Right now is one of the most spectacular times to visit our national parks, particularly Zion and Capitol Reef. Here's a rundown of current conditions.

In Zion National Park high country areas, colors have peaked. Mid elevations are ablaze right now and colors are just starting to turn at lower elevations, including Zion Canyon. The park provided this info:

“We've been getting quite a few questions about fall colors! ...Zion Canyon... leaves are starting to turn. Typically, fall colors peak in Zion Canyon around the first week of November.”

In the Capitol Reef area, lower slopes on Boulder Mountain are on fire with color. (Higher elevations have peaked.) The scenic drive, near the visitor center is beautiful right now. The park provided this info:

“Fall is here and we are winding down for the season. The visitor center hours are now 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. There are still many opportunities to enjoy your national park and now is a great time to visit as the Fremont cottonwoods and box elders approach peak fall color.”

Bryce Canyon is at a high elevation where colors have already peaked.

Arches has a fair number trees, mostly junipers and some pinesthat stay green year-round. Cottonwoods and brush along streams are coloring up nicely now.

In Canyonlands, riparian areas have brightly colored trees and brush. Many areas in Canyonlands look much the same regardless of the season.

-- Dave Webb

Friday, October 17, 2014

Utah's Best Halloween Destinations and Activities

Plan now to spend Halloween at Goblin Valley. It's a natural. Where else would you want to be?

Well, it turns out there are other great spots in Utah to catch the spirit of the upcoming holiday. Here's a list of some of our favorites. We'd love to hear about yours.

1. Places like Devils Garden, Dead Horse Point, Death Hallow and Hells Backbone are wonderful spots any time of the year, and are delightful during the fall.

2. The Haunted Village at This is the Place Heritage Park: “There are a few haunted houses around, but only one Haunted Village! The most anticipated haunting of the season is at This Is The Place Heritage Park...where you can experience an entire village of hair raising haunts! Ghost hunters say the place really is haunted, but why take their word for it? All the itchy fingers are waiting for the dark of the park.”

3. Haunted Hollow at America West Heritage Center: “Take a walk on the dark side of history through the scariest river hollow in Cache Valley. Keep a weather eye on the trees, where you may run into the likes of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, mummies, and the Hound of Baskerville. There have been bumps in the night that have kept people awake for generations… and you’ll find them here. Recommended for visitors ages 8 and older.” The Center also has a great Corn Maze.

4. Frightmares at Lagoon: Haunted rides, shows and activities at a favorite amusement park.

5. Hunt Mysteries Mystery Dinner Theater: Our professional actors will mingle with your guests from beginning to end making them a part of the experience. Your guests become the detectives, working together to solve a hilarious, light-hearted mystery.

6. Haunted Half Marathon in Provo, Oct 25: “The 2014 Haunted Half Marathon is a unique party run that brings together runners and volunteers for 13.1 miles full of candy, fun, and entertainment! Grab your friends and your Halloween costumes and get ready for the run of your lives!”

There are corn mazes, haunted houses and other activities in many communities around the state. Check locally for activities where you will be traveling.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Utah Wins Big With 'Mighty 5' Tourism Campaign

Utah has been running an innovative tourism campaign touting our “Mighty 5” national parks. The campaign has been popular and effective, and has now been given top honors at the National Council of State Tourism Directors’ Mercury Awards. has this article on the award. The video below is a key part of the campaign. Below the video we give excerpts from the article.

The state won two awards: best overall branding and integrated marketing campaign, and best television broadcast advertising.

“The Mercury Awards are the Academy Awards of our business, and the category we won is like getting best picture,” said Vicki Varela, Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. “We are deeply honored to be recognized for our breakthrough Mighty 5 campaign.”

In a research report conducted by Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI), the following results are directly attributable to The Mighty 5 campaign launch:
  • The campaign reached nearly half of the target audience, or about 5.75 million households.
  • It returned $126 in visitor spending for each advertising dollar invested. The 2011 and 2012 non-winter campaigns returned $55 and $68.
  • Nearly 375,000 Utah trips between March and December 2013 are attributable to The Mighty 5 campaign.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Top 20 US Cities for 20-Somethings? Salt Lake Is Number 2 has this interesting article naming the 20 best US cities for people in the 20-Something range, and Salt Lake City is number 2 on this list.

Strange? Well, we don't think so. Here's the articles lead, which explains some of the things they looked for:

The verdict is in: 20-somethings want to live in cities. The question then becomes: Which urban centers offer the best situation for those in their 20s? Some things at the top of young adults’ wish lists are universally agreeable (cheap rent, a good job market, and great public transportation). Others are up for debate—do 20-somethings care about fitness, finding love, or the local startup scene?

We do undoubtedly have many good things going for us:
  • Relatively cheap rent
  • Low unemployment and strong job market
  • Excellent universities with low tuition
  • Abundant recreational opportunities
  • Oh, yeah, great skiing
  • Extensive public transportation
Here are tidbits from the article's comments on Salt Lake City:
SLC earned the honor of least-stressed city because of its minimal cost of living and low unemployment rate.

Salt Lake was just named one of America’s five new foodie cities.

Plus, what other major city allows you to hit the slopes right after work at one of the four major ski resorts just minutes from city limits?
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