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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, August 29, 2014

Permits Now Required For Group Rim-To-Rim Hikes At Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon view - photo by Dave Webb
Going from one rim to the other at Great Canyon in one long day hike is an amazing adventure - 21 miles, up and down over steep and rugged trails.

In the past, hikers and runners have been allowed to make this trek with no permit required. Now, with more people on trails and more impact on resources, organized groups are being required to obtain a permit.

The park service provided this news release:

Grand Canyon Announces Interim Permits for Organized Groups Conducting Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hiking and Running

Grand Canyon, Ariz. - The National Park Service (NPS) will begin issuing Special Use Permits on an interim basis for organized, non-commercial rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running in the inner canyon of Grand Canyon National Park. The inner canyon is defined as the area below Tonto Platform (Tipoff and Indian Garden) from the South Rim and below Manzanita Resthouse (Pumphouse Residence) from the North Rim. Permits will be issued to groups with activities planned for after September 15, 2014.

Rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running, which also includes rim-to-river-to-rim and rim-to-rim-to-rim, is not new in Grand Canyon National Park but has been increasing in popularity over the last several years. The NPS estimates that up to 800 people are traveling in the inner canyon during peak weekend days in spring and fall. Of that, 400 to 600 people are hiking or running rim-to-rim in a single day. The activities take place on the Bright Angel, South and North Kaibab Trails (known as the corridor trails). These trails provide diverse recreation opportunities for hikers, backpackers, mule riders, and runners.

Increased day use on these inner canyon trails has resulted in increased user conflicts. Other issues related to inner-canyon use include abandoning or caching gear on the trails;increased litter, including human waste;crowding at restrooms and attraction sites;an overburdened waste water treatment plant;vehicle congestion and crowding at trailheads;and general concerns over trail courtesy with other visitors. Park rangers are also seeing an increase in un-prepared and injured rim-to-rim participants resulting in additional search and rescue responses, which then results in an overall delay of all search and rescue operations.

The NPS is currently revising its 1988 Backcountry Management Plan through the preparation of an environmental impact statement. Organized, non-commercial, rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running, are among the uses that will be addressed in the plan. The park expects to release a draft plan this fall for public review and comment. Special Use Permits will be issued for rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running to protect park resources and the public interest until the plan is completed. Park staff will continue to monitor this activity and any associated impacts and may implement changes through the interim permit process if necessary.

Organized groups, including non-profits, conducting rim-to-rim and extended hiking and running will be required to obtain a Special Use Permit. Information about Special Use Permits for these activities, including permit applications and fees can be found on Grand Canyon National Park's website at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/sup.htm.

Generally, any group, regardless of size, which has advertised to the general public, required individuals to sign up prior to participation, or that has an organizer who has been compensated for their services, including subsidized participation, will be required to obtain a Special Use Permit. Commercial rim-to-rim day use will not be authorized. The NPS will not limit the number of permits issued;however, group size, under a permit will be limited to 30 individuals, including organizers. A permittee or their organization (club, non-profit, group, etc.) will be allowed to obtain one permit per day. Permits will include guidelines built on the Leave No Trace principles to help protect park resources and enhance the experience and safety of all trail users.

"With rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running increasing in popularity, we needed to find an interim solution that would give us the tool to educate hikers and runners on best practices until we have a longer-term solution in place," stated Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga.

Park rangers encourage all visitors who are planning a hike in Grand Canyon National Park to learn more about Trail Courtesy Practices That Leave No Trace and How to Hike Smart. Information about these practices can help save park resources and lives, and can be found at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/courtesy.htm and http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-tips.htm.

All inner canyon users are encouraged to participate in the planning process for Grand Canyon's Backcountry Management Plan. To follow the process click on the National Park Service's Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca.

For questions about Special Use Permits, please call 928-638-7707.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adventure Dreams: 10 Classic Adventures

Hamburger Rock In The Indian Creek Area
The title for this post comes from this National Geographic Adventure article describing what the author calls "great American classics." He continues: "Our top ten cover life-list terrain in the mountains, ocean, and the desert and include the expert advice, gear tips, and training ideas you'll need to go from dream to reality."

Two of the 10 are in Utah (White Rim and Indian Creek, both in the Canyonlands area). Another is nearby (Grand Canyon). Not bad.

I keep reporting on top adventure lists published by respected media because these national writers give Utah destinations glowing recommendations. It's one thing for Dave Webb to say Utah has world-class adventure. It's quite another when National Geographic says these Utah adventures are bucket list quality...

These destinations make the list. The article gives extensive detail about each.
  • Mountain Bike the White Rim Trail, Utah
  • Surf Waikiki, Hawaii
  • Raft the Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • Climb Mount Rainier, Washington
  • Bicycle Across America
  • Ski Tuckerman Ravine, New Hampshire
  • Hike the Presidential Traverse, New Hampshire
  • Climb Desert Cracks at Indian Creek, Utah
  • Hike the John Muir Trail, California
  • Climb a Colorado 14er
– Dave Webb

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Best Utah Labor Day Destinations

Flaming Gorge Reservoir - photo by Dave Webb
Labor Day Weekend is fast approaching and it will bring wonderful opportunities to get out and enjoy Utah destinations.

As the official last holiday of summer, I always think of outdoor recreation when I plan Labor Day activities. But that doesn't have to be the case. There are plenty of theatrical productions, concerts, movies, shopping malls, restaurants and pubs available for those so inclined. For this blog I'll focus on outdoor recreation, thank you.

National parks, most state parks and other popular recreation areas will be crowded, but will still offer plenty of opportunity to have fun. Crowds can actually be part of the attraction. I enjoy interacting with international tourists in Zion Park and other area. But, even more, I enjoy escaping congestion and finding solitude. That is a prime factor as I zeroed in on recommended destinations.

The weather should be nice. Warm but not scorching hot. The weatherman has added a few clouds to the prognosis for Saturday and Sunday, so watch as we get closer, but at this writing it looks like conditions will be wonderful.

Here are some extra helps:
Ok, here are my top 10 choices:
  • Lake Powell - Arrive early and boat away from the marinas to avoid the crush.
  • High Uintas - Highway 150 and road-accessible lakes will be crowded. Backpack to find solitude.
  • Flaming Gorge - Excellent fishing, perfect conditions and not as many people as Powell.
  • Skyline Drive - This is a high-elevation area, not as well know, protected by rough roads. It offer great camping and fun fishing in small lakes.
  • San Rafael Swell - Temple Mountain and Little Wildhorse will be crowded. Get into the backcountry.
  • Grand Staircase Escalante - Hole In the Rock slot canyons will have quite a few people but you can drive jeep roads or hike to get away from it all.
  • Canyonlands National Park - This place is huge and backcountry roads are rough, but it is a great place to escape on busy holiday weekends.
  • Capitol Reef National Park - There is scenery here the rivals Zion, but far fewer people.
  • Monument Valley - I never get tired of this scenic treasure.
  • Great Salt Lake - Often overlooked, this is a wonderful water for sailing, kayaking and just relaxing on the beach.

– Dave Webb

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crowdsourced Art Features Landscapes In Utah And Around The US

Zion National Park posted this to Twitter today: Need inspiration to go out and “See America”? Maybe the http://seeamericaproject.com art campaign will help!

The See America Art Project has motivated many people to create art depicting our national parks and other scenic areas, and - hopefully - it will spur more people to visit these places. See the images here. You can buy the images on poster, greeting cards, mugs, t-shirts and other items.

Here is background info:

In the 1930's, as part of the New Deal efforts to put artists to work, our government commissioned posters to showcase the country's most stunning natural features under the banner: "See America." These iconic images put thousands of artists to work, helped link our natural landscape with our American identity, and live on nearly 100 years later as celebrated works of art.

...But there are hundreds more parks deserving of beautiful artwork to bring the great outdoors and our country's history to a new generation. That’s why we're launching a crowdsourced campaign seeking new "See America" posters highlighting the beauty of our natural landscape and historic sites in all 50 states.

Many Utah parks and landscapes are depicted - you can see them here. In any crowdsourcing effort, there are bound to be miss-identifications. Two such images quickly caught my eye. They are mistakenly featured in the Utah section:

Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River just below Lake Powell, in actually in Arizona.

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is also in Arizona. The cliffs extend into Utah, into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Some landscapes extend into two states and naturally appear on both state pages. These include Monument Valley, Hovenweep, Glen Canyon and Dinosaur National Monument.

The images are impressive.

Moab, Utah, A Bikers' Playground

Matador Network just posted the video below to its youtube channel. It's fun and worth watching.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Soldier Hollow Classic Sheep Dog Championship Runs Aug 21 – Sept 1

This video is a few years old, but provides a great
overview of the festival.
Have you ever seen well-trained sheep dogs in action? It is amazing to watch them take control of a flock of sheep, rounding them up and herding them into a corral.

Sheep dogs, other dogs and critters will be celebrated over Labor Day Weekend when Soldier Hollow hosts its annual Classic Sheep Dog Championship & Festival. Some of the best dogs from around the world are brought to Heber Valley to compete in the events.

Spectators enjoy watching the dogs work, watching other impressive animals, and participating in events.

Some other activities at the festival include:
  • Splash dogs – Where pets compete for distance, diving from a dock into a 40 foot pool. This is open to all dogs, from great danes to toy poodles.
  • Police K-9 dogs and their handlers.
  • Raptors - Earthwings brings exciting birds of prey: hawks, owls and falcons to the soldier hollow classic for both daily shows and 1-on-1 opportunities between their shows.
  • Native American rug show - for four days Linda Meyers and the good people from adopt a native elder, will bring you beautiful tapestries and the Navajo weavers who produce them.
  • Kid and family activities.
  • International food.
IFA Country Festival

The IFA Country Festival is held in conjunction with the Soldier Hollow Classic. It celebrates the products, activities and traditions of rural America. The festival provided this information:

This year the Soldier Hollow Classic's I.F.A. Country Festival will offer an even wider assortment of crafts, activities and demonstrations. Dozens of top artisans from throughout the west will offer a wide array of handmade products. Demonstrations will include weaving, spinning, sheepdog training and police K9 demonstrations. Our Navajo Rug Show, sponsored by Adopt-a-Native Elder, features finely woven traditional Navajo textiles and demonstrations by Navajo artisans. Families will also enjoy a wide array of animal demonstrations and activities including an the Earthwings Raptor Show, Wild Wonders Animal Show, and daily bagpipe performances by the Salt Lake Scots! See the daily schedules for days and times of individual performances.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The World's 25 Best Ski Towns

Adventure.NationalGeographic.com has another best in the world article, this time listing the 25 best ski towns. As expected, Park City is included.

With summer winding down, leaves will soon be turning and ski enthusiasts will be pining for snow. It won't be long before the first flakes fall in the high country. Now's the time to plan ski trips and to make lodging reservations.

The ski magazines will soon be out with the best of lists and Utah annually places very well. We usually dominate for best snow and best accessibility. Deer Valley often tops lists for best overall resort, with Snowbird and other Utah resorts close behind.

Here's the ski towns list. See the article for details about each location.
  • Girdwood, Alaska
  • Fernie, British Columbia, Canada
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Chamonix, France
  • Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
  • Whitefish, Montana
  • Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Niseko, Japan
  • Kitzbühel, Austria
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
  • Taos, New Mexico
  • Park City, Utah
  • Truckee, California
  • Whistler, British Columbia
  • North Conway, New Hampshire
  • Banff, Canada
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Telluride, Colorado
  • Jackson, Wyoming
  • Wanaka, New Zealand
  • Stowe, Vermont
  • Ketchum, Idaho

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Visit Salt Lake City, Where You Are Free To Leave At Any Time

Salt Lake City is the "Crossroads of the West," the gateway to attractions in every direction. It is about halfway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton to the north and Utah's Mighty 5 national parks to the south.

The city stars in a new tourism video which reminds views they are free to leave at any time, but if the choose to stay there is plenty to see and do.

The unique campaign is attracting media attention and news reports, which undoubtedly will boost its success.

We pulled the video at right from TheOnioin.com, which also ran this article about the campaign

It will be interesting to see the numbers.
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