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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, August 31, 2009

Civil War Comes to This Is The Place Heritage Park

Note: Below is a news release provided by This is the Place Heritage Park.

Civil War Comes to This Is The Place Heritage Park

The tranquility of This Is The Place Heritage Park will be broken by the thunder of cannon and the of rattle musket fire as the Civil War erupts there Sept. 11 and 12.

Civil War Days is an annual activity at the Park, but this year promises more reenactors and more action than in the past, according to event organizer Greg Bowman. He said Federals and Confederates from California and the Intermountain West have committed to participating in this year’s event.

Park visitors will not only observe battle scenes in and around Heritage Village, but may visit with soldiers in their camps and learn about day-to-day army life. Civilian sutler’s stores also will have period items for sale.

While Utah Territory was not as directly affected by the Civil War as the eastern states, there are several connections, Bowman said. Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who commanded Union troops in Utah during the “Utah War”, later became a prominent Confederate general who died in battle. To free Union troops to fight in the East, a Utah cavalry unit was commissioned to patrol sections of the Oregon Trail through southern Idaho and western Wyoming. Under-equipped and poorly supplied, that unit suffered a number of hardships during its assignment.

The Park will maintain its regular hours during Civil War Days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: $8/adults; $6/children (3-11) and seniors (55+). More information at or 801-582-1847.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vernal Offers Famed Dinosaur Sites

Dinosaur National MonumentThe Canadian Press has this interesting article about Vernal, Utah, and Dinosaur National Monument. Below are excerpts.

But not until steel magnate Andrew Carnegie learned of the bones did Vernal and the surrounding Ashley Valley get the nation's attention 100 years ago. Now, Vernal, a Western outpost whose wide streets are lined with energy, mining and agricultural businesses, makes a business of its bones. It's home to a large dinosaur museum and is the base for a National Park Service site at a bone quarry Carnegie established in 1909.

Carnegie's bone quarry is the central dinosaur-related attraction of the area. Located 32 kilometres outside of Vernal, it's part of Dinosaur National Monument, an 85,000-hectare park with rocky and rippled canyonlands stretching into Utah and Colorado.

The park is best known for its visitors' centre, with a wall of 1,500 fossilized bones from 11 different types of dinosaurs. In 2005, the visitors centre, which sits atop Carnegie's bone quarry, was closed because of severe structural problems.

It's not expected to open again until 2012. But there is still plenty to see. A bed of fossilized bones extends outside the shuttered building. A trail nearby passes fossils naturally eroded from a cliff, including a string of vertebrae, a large femur, and a humurus bone.

The park has a temporary visitors centre with fossils and a gift shop featuring giant replica dinosaur bones to take home.

Read the complete article.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moab Music Festival Sept 3-14

The Moab Music Festival will be held Sept 3-14, at venues in and around Moab.

Many news organizations are carrying info on the festival. Here's a blip from today's LA Times:

"The concerts will be performed at the Colorado River Grotto, a natural space that the festival organizers call "nature's perfect concert hall," and at various other locations. The Sept. 3 concert includes works for strings by Dvorak and Schubert. On Sept. 11, the festival celebrates the 200th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn with performances at the Sorrel River Ranch. Back at the Colorado River Grotto, the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 is on the schedule for Sept. 14."

See the festival website for detailed information.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Come and Play, Don't Come and Die

On Saturday I hiked in the popular Peek-a-boo/Spooky Gulch area in south-central Utah. A loop hike there takes people through two incredible slot canyons, in a moderate adventure suitable for families.

As we came out, a number of people were heading in and some did not seem prepared for the difficult of the route. In that remote, harsh region, even a moderately challenging canyon can turn into a death trap if you don't follow basic safety rules.

Every year, a few people get injured (or worse) in such canyons. Recently a solo hiker suffered serious injury but was saved in a dramatic helicopter rescue. My experience and the news events prompted me to post this review of some basic safety measures.

1. Know where you are going. We visited with one group who asked, "When we get to the top of this gulch do we go left or right?" In the backcountry, you're asking for big trouble if you don't know the route. Get a map and learn how to read it. Get GPS coordinates. Read guidebooks. Talk to people. But don't go in until you know where you are going.

2. Know the difficulty of the route. We passed 3 different families where the father was carrying a baby in a baby-pack while shepherding two or three other children who were under age 6. Anyone under about age 12 will need considerable help getting through Spooky and Peek-a-boo. You've got to climb up ledges, over rocks and down dry falls. Younger kids need to be boosted over many obstacles and handed over others. The younger the child, the more help he/she will require.

Spooky and Peek-a-boo are so narrow you've got to scoot through sideways. If you are wearing a pack you've got to hold it out to your side as you scoot. In many places you can't move forward if you are carrying a child. You've got to hand the child to someone who has already climbed the cliff or dropped down the dry fall. You've got to do that multiple times for every child. You need a team to get one child through. Three or four children make the trek very difficult.

3. Don't hike alone. We passed one tourist who was hiking all by himself. I know it's tempting. You've saved and juggled vacation time to take the trip. You've read the guidebooks and you want to see all of the best in the area. You're in good shape and you're an experienced hiker. But every year several such people die in Utah. Some of them probably would have survived if they had been hiking with a companion.

The rescue efforts last week reinforce that point. They involved a multi-day search for an outdoorsmen who disappeared in rugged terrain. A companion may have been able to call in help within a matter of minutes, and perhaps minimize injuries or save a life.

There are numerous sources for information about hiking/canyoneering routes. Often overlooked are the knowledgeable staffers in visitor and information centers. In the national parks, talk to rangers in the visitors centers. You'll also find knowledgeable staffers in visitor centers in St George, Moab, Kanab, Escalante and other areas.

Come and play - safely.

- Dave Webb

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photos of Utah's Red Rock Country

The LA Times has published a gallery of beautiful photos by staff photographer Mark Boster, showing the red rock country around Moab.

See the photos here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Enjoy Kanab's Western Legends Roundup

Note: The information below was provided by the Kane County Travel Council. It describes the Western Legends Roundup, which is a celebration of cowboy culture, held annually in Kanab, in southern Utah.

Saddle Up! Classic Hollywood Western movie stars & wild West performers ride into "Little Hollywood" August 26-29, 2009, ready to give you the Wild West Ride of your Life!

This Cowboy Celebration features Music by The Sons of the San Joaquin, Chris Ledoux's Band, Western Underground , Eli Barsi and many more!

New for 2009, history meets Hollywood with Dr Buck's Wild Bunch, Wild West Comedy Gunfight & Stunt Shows, featuring REAL Hollywood Stuntmen and don't miss the stage show, Sidekicks, Stunts & Six Guns, a tribute to America's Westerns starring Rob Doudell as Gabby, Hollywood Stuntman Dr Buck Montgomery & Gun Spinning Champion Hotshot Johnny! Meet Hollywood stars including Clint Walker, Peter Brown, Ed Faulkner, Dan Haggerty, Neil Summers, Denny Miller, Wyatt McCrea, Cheryl Rogers Barnett, James Hampton & Don Shanks.

Shop the vendors & street fair for rare finds, enjoy great food and discover why 100's of movie westerns where filmed here! Don't miss the big Cowboy Poetry Round-Up, Quilt Show, Hollywood Film Festival, Folklife workshops, Kids Korral arts & crafts, fiddle contest, live music, trail rides and one-of-a-kind tours of real movie sets that include Gunsmoke & Outlaw Josey Wales!

Experience what it was like to be a local celebrity when Dakota Livesay from the Chronicle of the Old West interviews Kanab locals reliving their stories and remembrances of working with and meeting famous movie stars. The Saturday "High Noon" Parade is a must see for cowboys & cowgirls of all ages! Why heck!, there's even a wagon train you can ride prior to the Festival {See Web Site for details}.

So pard'ner, for a best in the West, rip-roarin' good time, there's only one place to be this year...The 11th Annual Western Legends Round-Up! For complete details visit our Website or feel free to call us Pard'ner!

Contact: Carla Avant

Phone: 435-644-3444

Event Hours: Thurs-Sat , 9:00 am - 7:00 pm

Admission: Free

Location: Downtown, Main Street, Kanab, Utah

Address: Main Street, Kanab

Web Site:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fishing Utah's Uinta Mountains

August is prime time to hike, backpack and fish Utah's expansive Uinta Mountain Wilderness Area. These are the highest mountains in Utah. They are heavily forested and shelter about 1,000 small lakes and reservoirs managed for fishing. There are also numerous streams with thriving populations of sport fish.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article about fishing the mountains. Photos and a video clip illustrate the narrative. Below are excerpts.

When it comes to creating memories of fishing in Utah, few places rival the scenery, diversity and opportunity of the state's northeastern corner.

State wildlife officials stock fish where they can reach them with hatchery trucks and use adapted Cessna 185 airplanes to plant fish in back country lakes. Waters along Highway 150 (more commonly called the Mirror Lake Highway running from Kamas to Evanston, Wyo.) are planted on at least a weekly basis throughout the summer with fish in the 8- to 12-inch range. Backcountry lakes are stocked with fish under 3 inches via aerial plants every three to five years.

On the Uintas lakes menu: rainbow, cutthroat, brown and brook trout and grayling. A small population of golden trout remain from a stocking in the late 1970s despite competition from brook trout.

The tiger trout -- a sterile hybrid mix between a brook and a brown trout -- were recently introduced to the Uintas. Some anglers are still trying to figure out exactly what kind of Frankenstein fish they are catching, as the seemingly weekly e-mails and calls to DWR fisheries officials illustrate. But many have grown fond of the aggressive trout with the worm-like mottled pattern across their entire body.

If you are looking to get away from the crowds and have a full day, consider a short hike into the backcountry. Numerous trailheads in the Uintas provide access to 450,000 acres of true wilderness. Once you've made a decision on where to fish, the question is what to use. Most anglers, particularly along the Mirror Lake Highway lakes, use bait. Night crawlers, Power bait and salmon eggs are all good choices. Bait isn't a good choice, however, if you plan on practicing catch and release fishing, as was evident on a recent trip, with dead fish scattered around the edges of several lakes.

Read the complete article.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fed-State Land Swap Includes Corona Arch

Corona and Bowtie arches, near Moab, are popular destinations, very photogenic, sitting on land owned by the State of Utah.

Now, in an interesting swap, the state wants to trade ownership to the federal government, in exchange for oil-rich land in NE Utah. That means appraisers have to somehow come up with a dollar value for the arches, to work out an equitable deal. has this interesting article about the swap. Below are excerpts.

The state is giving up 72 square miles of wilderness-worthy parcels around Moab, including Corona and Morning Glory arches.

In return, the federal government will turn over energy-rich lands totaling 56 square miles, mostly in the Uintah Basin oil patch.

The legislation landed Tuesday on the desk of President Barack Obama, but it could take appraisers a year to decide if the swap is fair for both sides.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cedar Breaks Celebrates 76 Year Anniversary

The information below was provided by Cedar Breaks National Monument. See the National Parks Service Cedar Breaks website for more details.

August 21, 22, 23, 2009 - Cedar Breaks National Monument 76th Anniversary Celebration

Come join Park Rangers, volunteers and special guests as we celebrate the 76th anniversary of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Events include special guests and programs that highlight the Monument’s history, magnificent scenery, natural resources and wildlife.

On Saturday August 22, Martin Tyner, founder of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, will give an informal wildlife program accompanied by his Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, and Harris Hawk. If you ever wanted to get up close to some of the world’s most powerful birds to learn their life history from Utah’s best loved environmental educator, this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

Other park events throughout the month of August will focus on telling about pre-Monument history, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Cedar Breaks Lodge, and share stories about what it was like to work for the Utah Parks Company.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Royal Compliment

Our website continues to draw interesting comments from readers and we will post some here occasionally. Normally we will also post our response. However, the one below left us speechless.


I am planning a trip to Utah hopefully for next March/April and being an experienced user of websites to plan trips I have to say what an absolutely wonderful website this is. Truly excellent. Send whoever designed it to England and I will recommend him/her for a knighthood/damehood.

Thank you for giving me everything I can think of needing. I just wish I could meet you while I am there.


Ron (Brit)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Zion's Kolob Canyons Reopen After Wildfire

The Kolob Canyons scenic drive in Zion National Park has been reopened after crews fully contained a wildfire burning in the area.

The park service gives details in this news release. Here is an excerpt:

Firefighters have fully contained the Cliff Fire that has been burning in Zion National Park and adjoining Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Due to the hard work of the firefighters and some timely precipitation a few days ago the fire was contained yesterday afternoon. With the fire no longer a direct threat to visitors, the Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive has been reopened. In addition, all the trails in the Kolob Canyons area have been reopened to day use only. No overnight camping will be allowed until fire managers are certain there is no longer a threat to backcountry users.

In addition, a separate wildfire burning near Lava Point is no longer considered a significant risk but the West Rim Trail remains closed. Here are excerpts from this news release:

Firefighters have been monitoring the fire over the last few days with no direct management actions taken. Recent burnout operations along the east side of the West Rim Trail have created a solid buffer zone that has greatly reduced the threat from the fire crossing the trail and moving into the western portion of Horse Pasture Plateau. Most of the activity is on the eastern portion of the fire on a mesa between Goose Creek and Corral Hollow. The majority of the acres burned to date is inactive or out. The northern portion of the fire is showing no activity.

For visitor safety, the West Rim Trail is closed from Lava Point to the junction with the Telephone Canyon Trail (near campsite #6). Imlay Canyon is also closed. The West Rim Trail from the Grotto to the Telephone Canyon remains open, as does the Angels Landing Trail and the Wildcat Canyon Trail.
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