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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, April 28, 2006

Miller Auto/Cycle Racetrack Set To Open

Miller Motorsports Park will officially open with a public “sneak peak” on June 10, 2006.

The Honda Summit of Speed AMA Superbike Championships will be the first major event, on June 16-18. Before that date there will be smaller events, driving and riding school opportunities and the chance to drive on the Go-Kart track.

Deseret Morning News writer Ray Grass describes the track in this article.

This sidebar has more facts.

The track is being called “one of the finest road-racing courses in the country, and possibly the world,” by drivers who have tested it.

It is being built by local businessman Larry Miller, who also owns the Utah Jazz NBA team. The article quotes Miller: "I am pleased with the interest people are showing in the track. I never would have expected this much interest this soon.”

Alan Wilson, track designer and CEO, said: "If you'd asked me a year ago just how many days we'd have booked by now, I would have said 100, maybe. We're at about 320 days at the moment. That's pretty exciting.

"I've been to more than 200 tracks around the world and I've never seen a track with the viewing opportunities this track has.”

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Taking the Chaos Out of Camping

The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper has a very good article giving tips to help people who want to get into camping. The article also suggests some destinations for campers.

Tom Wharton writes:

“...camping is the No. 1 outdoor vacation activity in America, according to the Adventure Travel Report. About one-third of the U.S. population has camped in the past five years and only 6 percent did not like it.

“In Utah, the best times to camp in southern Utah's deserts are in the spring and fall. In the summer, consider hitting the U.S. Forest Service alpine areas including the High Uintas, Nebo Loop, Logan Canyon and Boulder Mountain, or higher-elevation National Park Service areas such as Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks.

”Because of the popularity of camping, reservations are a good idea, especially on Memorial Day, July 4, July 24 and Labor Day as well as most summer weekends.”

Read the entire article

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Minor Spring Flooding Expected

Mother Nature seems to be cooperating to lessen flood dangers around Utah this spring. Warm days are melting the mountain snowpack and streams are running high, but serious flooding is not expected in any area as of this writing.

The runoff should not affect travel. Recreational plans may need to be adjusted because of the high stream flows. Stay out of the streams when they are running high and cold. People die every year because they underestimate the danger runoff brings. Don’t try to wade or drive across streams that are flood and always supervise children closely.

Many Utah trout streams will be unfishable for the next few weeks because of the high water. But some of our best stream sections are fishable because they are located below dams that contain the runoff. See our latest Fishbytes report for more information about fishing conditions.

This article provides a good discussion about our snowpack and flood danger.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kayak Adventures on Lake Powell

Sunset Magazine has a great article on kayaking Lake Powell. Writer Lawrence Cheek describes the experience:

“Paddling the canyons is, of course, a vastly different experience from hiking them. It’s like touring a huge sculpture park, one where otherworldly formations rise from a waterscape designed for the most dramatic contrast imaginable.

“In Cathedral Canyon, a 3-mile-long channel that meanders south off the lake, a sheer sandstone cliff soars about 500 feet out of the water, its face carved as cleanly as a holiday ham. Twilight Canyon is a corkscrew of scoops and swirls, its wind-buffed walls narrowing until they squeeze the sky into a tortured blue ribbon over our heads. It’s like paddling through a cave, only with color and light. By official count there are 96 of these canyons (we probe just 10 in our five days), and their variety seems endless.”

Read the entire article.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Final Ski Weekend for all but Snowbird

Recent heavy snowfall persuaded Snowbasin Ski Resort to stay open through this weekend. It will close for the season when the lifts close on Sunday.

Alta and Brighton will also close Sunday.

Snowbird will be open daily until May 14, and on weekends through May 29.

Ray Grass sums up the ski season in this Deseret Morning News article:

“Snowbird and Snowbasin are offering reduced rates to late-season skiers. Snowbird, for example, will be selling all-day pass for $44 between May 1 and 7, then drop the price to $35 from May 8 until closing. Snowbasin is offering a pass for its final weekend for $35.

“This is the second season in a row that Alta has recorded snowfall well over 600 inches.

“The final count on the number of skier days recorded in Utah for the 2005-06 season won't be tallied for at least another month.

“But, said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, ‘We expect to be close and could very easily exceed last year's record.’"

Read the entire article.

Fall skiing will begin again a week or two before Thanksgiving at some resorts.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Backpack to Havasu Falls

Recently I had the opportunity to backpack to Havasu Falls, in the Grand Canyon. My daughter came with me and we had a great time. The waterfalls are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life.

Havasu Falls are located in a remote part of the Grand Canyon, about 235 miles east of Las Vegas. Getting in requires a rugged 10 mile hike. But it is well worth it.

See this page for more information.

Here’s a video clip showing my trip. (Flash video, 5.4 M)

- Dave Webb

Monday, April 17, 2006

Moab trumps all West superlatives

That’s quite a headline for a travel-news article. The Courier News put that headline over an article about vacationing in Moab. That paper serves suburban Chicago.

Writer Beth J. Harpaz talks about how her family got vacation burnout touring national parks, but they were revitalized when they hit Moab.

“The tallest trees, the top scenic drives, the most breathtaking trails — too many superlatives had taken their toll. We couldn't tell where the Painted Desert ended or began, and the kids refused to view the Grand Canyon from yet another scenic overlook.

“Then we arrived in Moab.

“Suddenly, our vacation doldrums evaporated.

“So many different adventures are offered from this small desert town that you could try something new every day for a week. Mountain biking, whitewater, Jeeps, ATVs and horseback rides — every storefront promises a unique thrill.”

Her article was pickup up by AP and has appeared in several papers. The Courier News is the latest.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Warm Weather Brings Flood Danger

Streams throughout Utah will be flowing high for the next few weeks, as warm weather melts our mountain snowpack. People involved in recreational activities near streams need to be cautious. Children near streams must be supervised at all times.

Localized flooding may occur along some streams, but such events are not expected to hamper travel on major roads. At this time it looks like the Ogden Valley may have the most serious flooding. Sandbags are being placed to protect homes and roadways. This news report has details.

Warm weather will increase snowmelt Thursday and Friday, and a wet storm is expected to high the area Friday afternoon. As a result, the National Weather Service has issued the following hazardous weather outlook for the western two thirds of Utah and for SW Wyoming. That includes most Utah cities, from Logan to St George.

Hazardous Weather Outlook
National Weather Service Salt Lake City UT
600 Am MDT Thu Apr 13 2006

Cache Valley/Utah Portion-Castle Country-
Central And Southwest Mountains-
Glen Canyon Recreation Area/Lake Powell-
Great Salt Lake Desert And Mountains-Henry Mountains-
Northern Wasatch Front-Salt Lake And Tooele Valleys-San Rafael Swell-
Sanpete/Sevier Valleys-South Central Utah-Southern Wasatch Front-
Southwest Utah-Southwest Wyoming-Utah's Dixie And Zion National Park-
Wasatch Mountain Valleys-Wasatch Mountains I-80 North-
Wasatch Mountains South Of I-80-Wasatch Plateau/Book Cliffs-
West Central Utah-Western Uinta Basin-Western Uinta Mountains-
600 Am MDT Thu Apr 13 2006

This Hazardous Weather Outlook Is For The Western Two Thirds Of
Utah And Far Southwest Wyoming.

.Day One.. Today And Tonight

Warm Temperatures Will Cause Snow Melt Today Through Friday. Creeks And
Streams That Feed From Mid Elevation Snow Pack Will Be Running High.
Water In These Waterways Will Be Very Cold And Swift.

.Days Two Through Seven.. Friday Through Wednesday

A Storm System Is Expected To Impact The Area Friday Afternoon
Through Early Saturday. This System Will Bring Valley Rain And High
Mountain Snow. Thunderstorms Will Accompany This System Friday
Afternoon Through Friday Night. The Precipitation Will Be Locally
Heavy Friday Night. Significant Snowfall Is Possible At The Highest
Elevations. Showers Will Taper Off Early Saturday Morning.

Additional Rain Showers In The Far Northern Areas Will Occur Saturday
Afternoon Into Sunday As A Front Stalls Near The Idaho Border
But Most Areas Will Experience Dry Weather Into Sunday With
Slightly Above Normal Temperatures.

The Next Pacific Storm Is Forecast For Monday. This Could Push A
Strong Cold Front Through Utah Sunday Night Into Monday. Rain And
Snow Will Accompany This System With Much Cooler Temperatures.
Some Snow Could Accumulate In The Northern Valleys.

Visit Weather.Gov On The Internet...Or Tune Into Noaa Weather
Radio...Or Your Favorite News Source For The Latest On This
Developing Late Week Storm.

.Spotter Information Statement..

Weather Spotters Are Encouraged To Report Significant Weather
Conditions According To Standard Operating Procedures.



Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hwy 12 Shows Utah in the Raw

Calf Creek FallsThe Akron Ohio Becon Journal has an interesting article about Highway 12 through southern Utah, saying it offers travelers the chance to “see (the) West's famed untamed beauty.”

“The road offers new vistas guaranteed to take your breath away at every turn in Utah's red-rock, high-country desert and beyond.

“The route offers camping, hiking, trout fishing, mountain biking, hunting, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and riding all-terrain vehicles.”

Read the entire article.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Utah Ski Resorts Taking Business From Colorado?, the Denver ABC affiliate, has an interesting report about the competition between Utah and Colorado ski resorts.

Most Utah resorts will close after this coming weekend, and expect final numbers to show yet another record ski season.

“Overall, Utah resort officials think they're taking traveling skiers from No. 1 Colorado, which logged 11.81 million skier visits last winter, but industry officials in Colorado say they're not seeing any losses,” the report says. It continues:

“(Utah Governor Jon) Huntsman said the secret was getting out, thanks in part to the 2002 Winter Olympics -- that Utah resorts have good skiing, abundant snowfall and quick access from Salt Lake City's airport. Eight resorts are within a 45-minute drive of the airport. Huntsman said the ski industry contributes nearly $1 billion to the Utah economy.

"’How is it that we can have it so well?" he asked.

“Huntsman rates himself an intermediate skier but was seen racing down the slopes ahead of his bodyguard and other companions. (Ski Utah President Nathan) Rafferty said he barely had time to buckle his boots on the first run before Huntsman took off.

"He skis like a rocket," Rafferty said.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Final Days of a Great Ski Season

The snow keeps falling but Utah resorts are putting final touches on what appears to be yet another record ski season.

Sundance, Wolf Mountain and Beaver Mountain are now closed. Most other resorts will close after Eastern weekend. Snowbird plans to continue daily operations through May 14, and weekend skiing through May 29.

"We don't know final numbers, but I'm confident we will come close and could even exceed last year's record,” said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah. “The one measure we have at this point is the number of hits on our Web site, which are up 25 percent over last year."

The Deseret Morning News has this excellent article on the waning season.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Utah Desert Yields Strange New Dinosaur

Fossils from an interesting new dinosaur species have been unearthed in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. The species is named Hagryphus giganteus, or giant four-footed, birdlike god of the Western desert.

This AP news report describes the dinosaur as birdlike, resembling a 7-foot-tall brightly colored turkey that could run up to 25 mph.

Fossils of the meat-eater's hand-like claw and foot were found near the Utah/Arizona border.

Grand Staircase-Escalante "is the last great, unexplored dinosaur bone yard in the lower 48 states," said Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History. He co-authored a scientific article on the new dinosaur.

The monument has yielded other important dinosaur finds, which are being studied and will be described in future articles.

Grand Staircase dinosaur dig sites are not open to the public. Some fossils from the monument are displayed at museums around the region, including the Museum of Natural History. Utah has a number of excellent dinosaur sites that are open to the public.

Grand Staircase includes a vast area offering great opportunity for many kinds of recreation, particularly hiking, canyoneering, horseback riding and jeeping.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Please Catch the Lake Trout in Flaming Gorge

There are so many lake trout in Flaming Gorge Reservoir, wildlife biologists want anglers to come on up and catch a few. And spring is a great time to do that, while the lake’s water is cool and the fish can range freely. Later in the year most of the fish will move into deep water where they will be more difficult to catch.

“So many lake trout are in the reservoir that the lake trout limit for 2006 has been raised to eight fish (not more than one can be longer than 28 inches, however)”, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said in a recent news release.

“Biologists from Utah and Wyoming feel there is an overabundance of lake trout less than 28 inches in the reservoir. In the future, that could mean trouble for the fishery when these small lake trout mature and switch from their current diet of crayfish and aquatic insects to a diet of fish. The kokanee salmon population at the reservoir is currently in a down cycle, and additional predation by lake trout could keep kokanee numbers from rebounding.”

The big reservoir straddles the Utah/Wyoming border. The Utah side is now pretty much ice-free and Utah boat ramps are open. The best way to catch the fish is to troll small lures from boats or fish with heavy plastic or marabou jigs. The DWR news release includes practical tips for anglers. The small fish taste great.

Flaming Gorge is one of the premier trophy lake trout fisheries in North America. Fish up to 40 pounds are caught every year and the Utah record went a whopping 51 lb 8 oz. The new regulation change is designed to protect the trophy fish while improving the overall predator-prey balance at the reservoir.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Moab Easter Jeep Safari

Easter Jeep Safari runs April 8-16 in Moab. This is a major area event and so the town will be bustling with activity. Many hotels and campgrounds will be filled to capacity.

The event consists of trail rides, mostly day-long trips, departing from Moab throughout the week. It is hosted by Red Rock 4-Wheelers, Moab’s local four-wheel drive club. Participants provide their own vehicles, food and non-alcoholic beverages for the trips. The club officially runs approximately 9 different trails every day. On "Big Saturday," some 30 groups will line up in downtown Moab before heading off in every direction to ride 30 different trails.

Pre-registration has concluded but there may be last-minute openings for some rides. Check at the at the registration desk at the Spanish Trail Arena if you are interested in participating.

Many people come to Moab at this time to enjoy the festive atmosphere, but choose not to participate in organized rides. Some stay in town, others go hiking or biking, while some 4X4 enthusiasts head on to ride on their own. All of those activities are fine as long as participants obey applicable regulations.

People sometimes get into trouble driving into areas not open for vehicle travel, and also driving while intoxicated. The extremely rugged terrain around Moab makes both those activities highly dangerous.

More info
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