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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

High Winds and Wildfire Shut Down I-80, Damage Great Salt Lake Marina

I-80 west of Salt Lake City has reopened after high winds and a fast moving wildfire caused problems yesterday.

Flames and thick smoke prompted the closure of I-80. The fire started south of the interstate and jumped the freeway, where they destroyed structures at Great Salt Lake Marina. No boats were damaged.

Here are excerpts from this Deseret News report:

Two maintenance shops owned by the Department of Natural Resources, two other small buildings and parts of a Union Pacific rail line burned in a dangerous, wind-driven wildfire near Saltair. High winds created erratic flames and thick smoke, which led officials to close parts of nearby I-80 and state Routes 201 and 202.

A Union Pacific spokesperson said a converted flatcar and an unknown amount of rail line was damaged by the fire near Kennecott. It was unclear whether the damage will affect trains running.

"I'm quite pleased, actually," said Bob Rosell, manager of the Great Salt Lake Marina. "We missed getting any boats damaged."

The biggest problem the fire caused at the marina was that it knocked the power out. With the tourist season just around the corner, Rosell said his biggest concern was getting power restored to the marina.

About 1:10 p.m., a truck pulling an empty box trailer on U.S. 89 in Sardine Canyon rolled after it was hit by a strong gust, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden. Troopers closed the highway to high-profile vehicles for about two hours.

Elsewhere, UDOT crews cleared a messy accident on northbound I-15 near Santaquin, where a truck hauling a trailer full of mulch lost control around noon and spilled the mulch, closing both lanes for more than an hour.

High winds also led Snowbird to close Mineral Basin, High Baldy and its tram. The resort was blasted by 36 mph steady winds, with gusts up to 72 mph. Brian Head resort in southern Utah also had problems with winds.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Major Construction Will Cause Delays on I-15 In Provo Area

I-15, one of Utah's most important arteries, is about to undergo major surgery and the result will be temporary traffic delays in the Provo/Orem area.

I-15 runs north-south through Utah. It carries most of the traffic along the densely populated Wasatch Front (from Ogden on the north, through Salt Lake City and south through Provo.) The new construction will take place in Utah County. Early phases are already underway. Major work with begin in later April or early May and continue through Dec 2012.

The Utah Department of Transportation website will have updated info on the project as it unfolds.

The Deseret News has this article about the project. Below are excerpts.

Somewhat similar to the I-15 reconstruction in Salt Lake County prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics, I-15 Core is a reconstruction of 24 miles of freeway in Utah County, from Lehi Main Street to a mile south of Spanish Fork Main Street. I-15 Core will bring two new travel lanes in both directions, 10 new and improved interchanges and a widening of 55 bridges.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Utah County had 530,000 residents in 2008. By 2020, the governor expects 725,000 residents and the freeway reconstruction is necessary to accommodate the growth, Herbert said.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article. Below are excerpts.

Motorists in Utah County will start seeing the telltale orange barrels on the side of the freeway during the next two weeks, and state highway officials say the major traffic shifts - and inevitable delays - will begin in late April or early May. Interstate widening season is about to begin, and this time it will be the biggest public-works price tag in Utah history. Provo River Constructors, a 31-company consortium headed by Fluor Enterprises and Ames Construction, has a $1.1 billion contract to rebuild and widen Interstate 15 from Lehi to Spanish Fork. In all, the project will cost the state more than $1.7 billion.

It will cost commuters a little time, but for a shorter period than they experienced on the I-15 project in Salt Lake County. "Yes, it's going to be painful," Provo River project manager Tuhr Barnes said, but the contractors are on a schedule unprecedented for a billion-dollar project in the state. Construction will wrap up in less than three years, by December 2012. Usually a billion-dollar project takes four to five years, Barnes said.

he contractors have pledged to keep most segments flowing with the same number of lanes - sometimes moved to temporary pavement on the sides, sometimes shifted to narrowed lanes on the other side of the freeway divide - during daylight hours.

One exception, though, starts by May and lasts about five months, between University Parkway and Provo's Center Street. There, the three southbound lanes will shrink to two, Utah Department of Transportation project director Dal Hawks said. Most of next month's work will involve preparations such as grinding down the shoulder rumble strips and adding temporary pavement for planned lane shifts, Hawks said.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amangiri Resort Brings Sophistication to Lake Powell

Luxurious resorts are changing the landscape in southern Utah, from Monument Valley to Lake Powell. This article in the NY Times talks about the trend, and the changes. It mentions The View Hotel in Monument Valley but focuses on the new, posh Amangiri Resort near Lake Powell. Below are excerpts.

Perhaps the most precarious part of opening a place like this, on the border of the country’s largest American Indian reservation, is “melding in,” as Adrian Zecha, the founder of Amanresorts, told me. “The elders expected we were building a Las Vegas-style hotel. They were relieved when they realized we are sympathetic to the land.” Incorporating Navajo tradition is a key element of the property. The solemn confines of the spa, for example, hold a sage-burning fireplace; its square skylights evoke a Navajo hogan. Glenda Bennett, a young Navajo spa therapist, sought the blessing of the elders as she helped design some of the treatments. (About one-tenth of the resort’s staff go home to the reservation each night.) She explained all this as we sat by the fire and she scooped some smoking ashes into a shell, signaling the beginning of “serious talk.”

These days, spectacular houseboats — rented out regularly to folks like Barbra Streisand — line the docks of the new $35 million Antelope Point Marina. I spent part of the day on a 75-foot boat with coffered ceilings and a roof with a bar on top, reading the diary of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran who ran the Colorado and scaled the “carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments” of which I had a spectacular view from the houseboat’s hot tub. I felt like a sellout, so I turned up the bubbles.

As nostalgic as I am for the Lake Powell of my youth, the reality is that this place is in far better shape than it was when I camped its shores. During the 1990s, parts of the lake were closed temporarily due to E. coli contamination. Today the National Park Service coordinates volunteers who pick up an average of 50,000 pounds of garbage every year. Nearby, Lake Powell Resort is renovating, turning recycled glass into bathroom countertops and used plastic into deck topping.

Twist Thompson, who co-owns the Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge across the street from the museum, said Page had the potential to be the “next Moab,” if its town elders would allow newcomers to “sexy up” Main Street...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Closing Dates For Utah Ski Resorts

Snowbird plans to stay open through Memorial Day weekend, snow conditions permitting. Other Utah resorts will be closing during the next few weeks.

Ski Utah reports the closing dates listed below.

In all, this has been a good year for Utah resorts. Not a record year, but decent. Snow totals have been a little below normal. KLS has this article about the ski year. Here's a quote:

"Ever optimistic, though, the way Utah's ski resorts are looking at it, this year's below-average snowfall is still better than anywhere else. Solitude's Nick Como says we've been spoiled in years past. 'When you get kind of used to counting in the 600 and 700 [inches], sure, 400 doesn't seem like a lot, but it's a lot of snow," Como says. "Our base is in the 70 and 80 inches, and that's phenomenal.'"

Closing Dates

Alta: April 18 (Alta will reopen April 23, 24, and 25, Collins and Sunnyside lifts only, $49/day)

Beaver Mountain: March 28

Brian Head: April 18th

Brighton: April 18 weather pending

The Canyons: April 11

Deer Valley: April 11

Park City Mountain Resort: April 11

Powder Mountain: April 11

Snowbasin: April 18 weather pending

Snowbird: Memorial Day Weekend

Solitude: April 18

Sundance: April 4

Wolf Creek Utah: Closed

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Major Genealogy Conferences Coming To Salt Lake City

People interested in genealogy and family history research will converge on Salt Lake City beginning on April 26. Much of the activity will be centered around the LDS Church's Family History Library, near Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. has this report about the conferences. Below are excerpts.

Family history buffs will be all over Salt Lake City starting April 26 and filling The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Family History Library. Jan Alpert, with the National Genealogical Society, can't rave enough about it.

Alpert says the society picked Salt Lake at the same time as three other family history conferences to make it easier for everybody. She says the conference is already on pace to have double the attendance of last year's meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Alpert says new family history shows on television have also increased interest. She teaches classes and tells students it's not as easy as it looks on TV, but it's much easier than it used to be.

Alpert says people can register for all week or just a day at a time. They will also have free vendor exhibits and a free class for librarians. Click here for more on that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Dinosaur Species Discovered In Utah

Fossils from a previously unknown species of dinosaur has been discovered in the red rock canyon country just north of Monument Valley. Utah has numerous dinosaur sites, and new fossil discoveries occur fairly regularly. This one is unique because it introduces a new species, and also because the find occurred in Navajo Sandstone, which does not hold many fossils.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the discovery. Below are excerpts.

The 185-million-year-old specimen is a sauropodomorph, a category of plant-eating dinosaur that stood only four feet at the shoulders and could walk on its hind legs. They evolved into sauropods, such as the apatosaurus and camarasaurus commonly found in Utah's younger Morrison Formation and replicated as plastic bath toys everywhere else.

Bluff sculptor Joe Pachak discovered the bones protruding from the base of a 200-foot face near Anasazi cliff ruins known as Eagle's Nest. After reporting the find, Mark Loewen, a paleontologist with the Utah Museum of Natural History, dispatched a team of graduate students to recover the bones in the spring of 2005.

"The first thing we saw was the hand. It had this big thumb claw, which really threw us," Sertich said. After he separated the specimen from its sandstone sepulcher, Sertich and his colleagues realized they had nearly every bone of a dinosaur type previously unknown in North America.

Loewen and Sertich gave the new species an eerie name, Seitaad ruessi (pronounced SAY-eet-awd ROO-ess-eye), in honor of the young artist Everett Ruess, who disappeared while wandering Utah's red rock country in 1934. The genus name comes from "Seit'aad," the sand-desert monster from Navajo creation stories that swallowed its victims. Scientists believe the Comb Ridge specimen was buried, perhaps while still alive, in a collapsing sand dune.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Utah Valley Festivals Bring Color To Spring

Two fun festivals will be held in Utah Valley/Provo area during the next few weeks. Learn more about Utah Valley festivals here.

Holi Festival
The annual Holi Festival will be held March 27 at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah. There will be two celebrations, one at 12 Noon and one at 4 pm. Highway 89 south from Spanish Fork will be congested at those times, and all parking spaces will fill up. Go early if you want to attend.

The Temple provided the info below about the festival. Read more here.

Holi is the Festival of Colors, a traditional Indian holiday celebrated in our own innovative fashion. By far our biggest festival of the year, during Holi 2009 thousands of revelers flooded the temple and grounds for a day of brightly colored powder, mantra, music and a bit of "holi" mayhem.

This year, realizing that Holi has developed a national following especially among college festival-goers, we are preparing more parking and more colors (by far) than ever before. The music, the dance, the worship, the facilities -- everything is being upgraded for Holi 2010.

Thanksgiving Points Tulip Festival
The 6th annual Thanksgiving Point's Tulip Festival will be held April 16-May 1, at Thanksgiving Point in northern Utah Valley. Thanksgiving Point provided the info below. Learn more here.

Featuring 250,000 tulips spread throughout the 55-acre Thanksgiving Point Gardens, the Tulip Festival is an awe-inspiring sight that is redesigned each year to create a new display. In addition to the spectacular tulips, on Fridays and Saturdays the Tulip Festival includes music, vendors, food, and even storytelling for children. Garden tours and demonstrations run every day.

Also, stop by the art exhibit featuring Sarah Samuelson’s locally famous paintings, inspired by her love of tulips and the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. And though there are hundreds of volunteers and staff working behind the scenes to create the festival, make no mistake about it: Mother Nature is in charge of the show. Regular Garden admission fees apply, free admission for Thanksgiving Point members and Thanksgiving Point Gardens members.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet 16 Games Come To Salt Lake City

NCAA West Region semifinal Sweet 16 college basketball games will be played in Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on March 25 and 27.

On Thursday, Syracuse will take on Butler and Xavier will face Kansas State. The winners of those two games will battle it out on Saturday.

Energy Solutions is located in downtown Salt Lake City, close to Temple Square and the Gateway Mall. Thousands of people are expected to be in the city to take part in or watch the tournament, so hotels and restaurants in the downtown area may be crowded.

Streets around Energy Solutions Area will be busy before and after games. But that is not an unusual occurrence, since the NBA Jazz play there are regularly pack the house.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the tournament. Below are excerpts.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, local fans will see something more than just first and second-round games, with four teams coming to town for the West Regional portion of the Sweet 16 at EnergySolutions Arena - arguably the biggest college hoops event in Utah since the legendary 1979 Final Four that pitted Magic Johnson and Larry Bird at the Huntsman Center and launched a new era in college basketball.

The event is massively popular, with tickets in the upper bowl going for no less than about $100 apiece at online resellers. City tourism officials expect it to generate $8 million to $9 million for the local economy - equivalent to about half of the annual Outdoor Retailer trade show.

"Of course, the exposure is going to be pretty difficult to beat," said Shawn Stinson of the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Deseret News has this breakdown of the upcoming games.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tips For Participating in the Easter Jeep Safari

The annual Easter Jeep Safari will run March 27 through April 4 in and around Moab.

The safari is a massive event that brings thousands of people to the area. Many come to drive the trails that make Moab a mecca for offroad enthusiasts. Others come to show products or participate in the festive atmosphere.

Moab will be crowded during the festival. Motels and campgrounds will be full. Organized trail rides fill up quickly so act now if you want to participate in the official activities. See the safari website for details.

May people drive trails on their own, not joining an official group. People need to be aware of regulations related to off-road travel in the area, and obey all laws.

There will be music and food and parties all around town.

The Daily Herald newspaper has this article giving background about the safari and excellent tips for participants.

Chrysler will be showing new products at the safari. The Detroit News says the company will bring about 15 Jeeps and Dodge Rams that have received the Mopar accessory treatment. "Chrysler will use the event, which attracts about 7,000 attendees, to show what kind of accessories are available and gauge reaction to new ones under consideration as Mopar develops future parts and accessories, said spokesman Bryan Zvibleman." More Info.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St George Art Festival Runs April 2-3

The annual spring Art Festival will be held April 2-3, in downtown St George.

The festival provided this info:
The St. George Art Festival began 30 years ago showcasing the many artists who call St. George their home. Over the years it has expanded to include over 110 artists juried from hundreds of entries from throughout the United States.

This festival has regional appeal for both artists and festival goers. Displaying thousands of original works of art, the festival is punctuated with pageantry, music and food. The festival takes place in the beautiful Town Square, the centerpiece of the Historic District, and is known for consistently outstanding artwork.

Location: Main Street between Tabernacle and St George Blvd, and in the Town Square

Click here for more information.

Other Activities
This is a beautiful time to be in St George. The weather will be perfect for the show, and for the multitude of recreational opportunities that make St George a popular destination. Conditions are prime on the city's 13 excellent golf courses. Zion National Park is nearby and is beautiful during the spring. Snow Canyon State Park is also close and is a popular spot for a spring getaway.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Utah To Host Its First-Ever National Amateur Golf Championship

The USGA is bringing the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship to Soldier Hollow in Midway, according to this news story on KSL. Utah has many great public and private golf courses. This would be the first national amateur championship held in our state.

Below are excerpts from the KSL report.
"The USGA is extremely proud to have Utah's Soldier Hollow Golf Course as a future host of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship," said USGA President Jim Hyler.

"Utah's got some spectacular golf courses, and Soldier Hollow is one of the most spectacular of all," said Gov. Gary Herbert. "To host this national championship is gonna expose Utah to the rest of the country, and I think improve our golf tourism."

"This is an exciting opportunity for Utah and our golf community. We have a rich history of golf in this state and we look forward to sharing it with the rest of the country," said Utah Golf Association Executive Director Thomas Pagel.

"This is no ordinary championship. The Amateur Public Links Championship is one of the most coveted championships to get, of all the USGA events, and so this is a very big deal," said Michael Bailey, volunteer member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee.

The 2010 tournament is scheduled for July 9 through July 14. The winner of this championship gets an invite to the Master's.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Readers Digest Says Utah Has Some of Best Roads In America

I-80 in Utah is one of the best roads in American, according to this new ranking by Readers Digest. Here's what the magazine had to say:

“You come down into Salt Lake City, and you’re surrounded by mountains, you see the lights of Salt Lake City in front of you, and off to the west, you see the Great Salt Lake. The only issue is that it’s easy to get distracted by how beautiful it is.” - Trucker Kevin Johnson, Rushville, Illinois

The Deseret Morning new has this article about the rankings. Below are excerpts.

Utah has the fifth-best roads in the nation, according to a new ranking by Reader's Digest.

Only Kansas, Wisconsin, Montana and New Mexico have better roads, according to the rankings.

North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Virginia and Oregon round out the top 10.

Combine that with Forbes Magazine recently ranking Utah as the No. 1 commuter friendly state in the country, and transportation in the Beehive State is looking pretty good these days.

The "Best Roads" list was determined by the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration, while the "Deadliest Roads" ratings were calculated using a simple ranking of fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

Complete statistics, as well as the methodology used in the report and other information, is available at

Monday, March 15, 2010

International Sportsmen's Expo Comes To Utah

The International Sportsmen's Expo will open Thursday at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 So. State Street, Sandy, Utah. The major consumer show runs Mar 18-21.

If you are interested in information on hunting and fishing guide services, this is the place to look. You'll also find info on lodges and resorts, along with all kinds of merchandise relating to outdoor recreation. There will be demonstrations, educational booths, food and fun.

The Expo gives people the chance to learn about and handle new products from many manufacturers. Whether you are in the market to buy, or if you just want to see and dream, the Expo is a fun experience.

There will be a kids outdoors fair sponsored by Utah's DWR and State Parks.

The International Dutch Oven Society will hold its World Championship Cookoff at the Expo.

The Expo provided the highlights mentioned below. See the Expo website for more information.

- NEW: DockDogs Water-Jumping Contest

- Back by popular demand--Yellowstone Bear World's baby bears! Come help name the 10 baby cubs. There’s free viewing, plus the opportunity to have your photo taken with a cub (fee).

- NEW: Rifle & Gear Raffle, presented by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Almost $5,000 in Browning, Remington and Winchester rifles, plus BowTech bow and Sitka apparel will be given away at ISE Utah!

- 3D Pop-Up Archery Range and Contest

- NEW: Wilderness and urban survival clinics

- Safari Club International's free horn measuring

- NEW: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Great Elk Tour

- NEW: Eastmans’ Hunting Journal Trophy Deer Display

- NEW: ISE's Best-of-the-West Accuracy Fly-Casting Tournament (rules here)

- Utah duck- and goose--calling finals, sponsored by Browning--$2000 in cash prizes

- Western Finals for ISE's Elk-Calling Contest, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and hosted by world champion caller Chad Schearer.

- NEW: AR-15 Rifle Update—the facts. Learn about these increasingly popular hunting rifles from the industry expert—the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

- NEW: Get discount vouchers for camping gear by donating your “lightly used” tent or sleeping bag to Haiti relief (no show entry required).

- NEW: So You Want to Camp–What Next? Where, when and how much tips from Utah State Parks and the KOA Campground Association

Friday, March 12, 2010

Utah's Public Lands Attract Millions of Visitors

People spend about 22.7 million visitor days a year enjoying federal land in Utah, according to numbers included in this Salt Lake Tribune article. State parks draw another 4.6 million visits. Combined, they produced about $6.2 billion in revenue for the state in 2009.

Writer Tom Wharton breaks down the numbers to show where people are spending their time, and he includes quotes from people from around the world explaining why they are drawn to Utah. Here are some highlights.

Utah Ski resorts recorded almost 4 million skier days in the 2008-2009 season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are 877,000 people who watch wildlife in the state compared to 375,000 anglers and 166,000 hunters.

Golf courses attract an estimated 248,000 golfers in Utah.

National Parks - 2008 Stats
Total Visitation » 8,070,834
Zion National Park » 2,690,154
Bryce Canyon National Park » 1,043,321
Arches National Park » 928,795
Capitol Reef National Park » 604,811
Canyonlands National Park » 436,715
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area » 1,947,507

Utah State Parks - 2008 Stats
Total visitation » 4,564,770
Top Ten Visited Parks:
Wasatch Mountain » 312,173
Snow Canyon » 299,233
Jordanelle » 296,781
Palisade » 290,682
Utah Lake » 284,740
Deer Creek » 260,299
Antelope Island » 256,901
Great Salt Lake Marina » 214,127
Bear Lake » 198,141
Dead Horse Point » 184,560

Bureau of Land Management - 2009 Stats
Total visitation » 6,510,648
Areas of Note:
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument » 731,440
Little Sahara Recreation Area » 210,148
Sand Flats/Slickrock Bike Trail » 35,496

Read the complete article.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3 Utah Scenic Byways Featured in Online Publication

Courier has this guide to three Utah scenic byways in its March, 2010, online publication. The article features All American Road Scenic Byway 12, Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway and FishLake Scenic Byway.

The article includes beautiful photos and interesting prose describing these area, providing details to help people interested in driving these routes. It begins on page 56 and extends through page 61.

Courier also features a wonderful photo of Delicate Arch on page 31, the cover for its Compass section.

US News: BYU Is Nation's Most Popular National University

Brigham Young University in Provo ranks as the most popular university in the US, according to this ranking by US News & World Report.

BYU has several academic programs that rank among the best in the country and the school's sports teams are competitive year after year.

Below are excerpts from the article.

This year, Brigham Young University supplanted Harvard University as the most popular national university in America, according to an analysis of yield (the percentage of students accepted to a school who opt to attend) by U.S.News & World Report. For BYU, ranked 71st in U.S. News's ranking of the nation's best national universities, 78 percent of students who were accepted chose to attend. Harvard finished a close second, with 76 percent of accepted students opting to attend the nation's most selective university.

Three distinct groups of the national universities produced the highest yield:

1. Ivy League and other highly selective private schools, which dominate the list because their high academic standing makes them desirable for applicants...

2. Large state schools not renowned for their elite academics but popular destinations in their region thanks to their size and the prominence of their athletic programs...

3. Schools with religious ties...

U.S. News ranked not only national universities but liberal arts schools and service academies as well.

Read the complete article.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tour Of Utah Bike Race Announces Dates, Stages and Sponsors

The Larry H Miller Tour of Utah is one of the biggest multi-day bicycle races in the US. The 2010 event will be held August 17-22 at venues throughout the greater Salt Lake City area, according to this press release.

The the USA Cycling sanctioned pro race is a major event that attracts top riders. An army of volunteers work to make it successful. It offers great opportunity for spectators to watch, and also for people who want to participate in associated amateur events.

People who want to get involved will find info here.

Below is text from the news release.

2010 Tour of Utah Officially Announces Dates, Stages and Sponsors

All 2009 sponsors return to support "America's Toughest Stage Race"

SALT LAKE CITY - March 8, 2010 - Steve Miller, president of the 2010 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utahcycling race, confirmed today that August 17-22 are the official dates of the USA Cycling sanctioned pro race. In addition, Zions Bank is returning as presenting sponsor of the Tour for the fourth year (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010). Dubbed as America's Toughest Stage Race, the tour will consist of a prologue and five stages covering some of this country's most breathtaking terrain throughout central and northern Utah.

"I am pleased to be able to confirm the August 2010 dates for this year's race," said Steve Miller. "We had such an enthusiastic response to the 2009 event that local communities along the course are excited to see the Tour return, and last year's participants have provided feedback on how to make the race even tougher. In addition, based on last year's success, all existing sponsors have chosen to return making increased commitments to the race through cash, trade, advertising and marketing."

Once again, the Tour of Utah is on the official National Racing Calendar (NRC). The six-day stage race will begin with The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau Prologue on Tuesday, August 17 and end Sunday, August 22 with the legendary Park City to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort"Queen" stage.

The remaining five stages will include the University of Utah Health Care Ogden to Research Park road race, the Heiden Davidson Orthopedics criterium in downtown Park City, the teamgive time trial at Miller Motorsports Park, and the XANGO Thanksgiving Point to Top of Mt. Nebo road race. Race route details will be announced soon.

Additional sponsors include: Utah Toyota Dealers Association, KJZZ 14, 1320 KFAN, POWERADE, Glacéau vitaminwater, FFKR Architects, Bingham Cyclery, First Endurance, Canyon Bicycles, PROBAR, I.J. and Jeanne' Wagner Jewish Community Center, Sheraton Downtown Salt Lake City, Edge Composites, City of Ogden, and Shimano.

"The support we receive from Zions Bank, as well as the rest of our sponsors, is important to the success of the Tour of Utah," continued Miller. "Zions Bank has a long legacy of participation in our community and its name is synonymous with hard work, commitment and success, which are the same values Tour participants embody."

"Zions Bank is committed to the communities in which we do business," said Rob Brough, executive vice president, marketing/communications Zions Bank. "The Tour of Utah is one of our country's premier cycling events which showcases this great state, our culture and our people. Zions Bank is proud to take part in this spectacular event."

The Tour of Utah will also include a non-competitive ride for enthusiast cyclists the Saturday before called "The Ultimate Challenge." Detailed information for The Ultimate Challenge will be released soon.

For more information about the Tour, please visit

About the 2010 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Deemed "America's Toughest Tour," the 2010 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah presented by Zions Bank, is a six-day, seven-stage, 300-mile plus professional bicycle road race along the Rocky Mountain's Wasatch Range through some of Utah's most beautiful and challenging landscapes. Scheduled to take place August 17-22, 2010, the Tour of Utah will attract 17 professional cycling teams totaling 136 cyclists competing for a cash/prize purse of $45,000. The 2010 Tour of Utah will be accompanied by a colorful, rolling festival celebration that will take place at the finish line of each stage. More than 30,000 spectators are expected to line the racecourse and attend the festivals in Ogden, Park City, Provo, Salt Lake City and Tooele, and 60,000-plus race fans are expected to follow online.

# # #

Local Media Contact:
Linda Luchetti
Media Director
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

National & International Media Contact:
Chip Smith
SOAR Communications
Office: (801) 656-0472, ext 1
Cell: 801-597-7515

Monday, March 08, 2010

Science Teacher Blogs About Arches National Park

Kathryn Burke is a science teacher from Pacelli High School in Austin MN. She is spending half a year working in Arches National Park as part of a government grant program that lets teachers experience the parks first-hand. She will spend spring and summer in the park and then return to her classroom in the fall.

Will she be able to draw upon her national park experiences to enrich her classroom? Judging from her photography and blog, she is already developing a treasure trove of insights.

This news article talks about Burke and the program. Here are excerpts:

...The park has a special place in Burke's heart because it is the setting of one of her favorite books, "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey. She discovered the book around the same time as her 1970 trip. Abbey's thoughts about keeping the landscape pristine resonated with Burke.

"It worked its way into the very core of my being," she said.

When she arrived at Arches — where Abbey worked as a ranger in the 1950s — the red rocks and the blue sky worked their magic.

"It worked into me on a real subconscious level," she said.

The photo above was pulled from her blog. Read the blog and see more photos here.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Zion Park Reopens Seasonal Visitor Services, Starts Camping Reservation System

The Human History Museum and South Campground at Zion National Park will soon open for the season. In addition, the park is implementing a new reservation system for the Watchman Campground. The park service provided the information below.

Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced the reopening of the Zion Human History Museum and South Campground in Zion National Park. Both of these visitor facilities have been closed during the winter months. Additionally, the park horse concession will begin operations for the season.

The Zion Human History Museum will reopen on Saturday, March 6. The hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The museum highlights the interaction of humans with the natural resources of Zion Canyon. The park’s orientation film is shown in the museum auditorium by request on the hour and half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum also includes a bookstore operated by the Zion Natural History Association.

South Campground will reopen on Saturday, March 13. South Campground’s 126 campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Watchman Campground, which has been open for the winter on a first-come, first-served basis, will be transitioning to a partial reservation system starting on March 6. Starting March 25, all sites in Watchman Campground will be on the reservation system. Reservations for Watchman Campground can be made by calling 877-444-6777 or visiting the web at

Canyon Trail Rides, the park horse concessioner, will offer one and three hour tours on the Sand Bench Trail starting Saturday, March 6. For more information or to make a reservation visitors can call 435-679-8665 or visit

The Zion Canyon Visitor Center and the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center are open year round. Current hours for the Zion Canyon Visitor Center are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Both visitor centers offer park information, exhibits, backcountry permits, and park bookstores.

For detailed park information, access the park’s website at

Thursday, March 04, 2010

New Reservation Policies At Utah State Parks

People wanting to reserve campsites, pavilions and boat slips at Utah state parks need to be aware of new policies that are now in effect.

- Major credit cards will be required for all transactions (no cash or checks)
- People need to create an online "camper profile" before they can reserve a campground

The Ogden Standard Examiner has this news article explaining the changes. Below are excerpts.

Only major credit cards are being accepted by state parks for camping and other types of reservations, State Parks spokeswoman Hollie Brown said. “Cash and checks are no longer accepted,” Brown said in a news release issued Thursday.

The second change affecting customers is that all reservation customers are being asked to set up a State Parks camper profile by visiting and clicking on Internet reservations, Brown said.

Establishing a profile provides faster and better service for future reservations, as well as providing information for state parks in the event of an emergency, she said.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Moab 2010 Bike Races and Events

This is a comprehensive schedule of bicycle events and competitions for the 2010 season in Moab, Utah. Information was provided by the Moab Area Travel Council. Contact info for the council is at the bottom.

You missed the Yeti Thaw slated for February 12 -14, 2010, yet you are in luck. The dates have been postponed to March 12, 13, 14, 2010. Poison Spider Bicycles invites all to attend. Ride the trails on a Yeti demo bike; enjoy a breakfast at a trailhead with Moab’s Magpie Adventures.

Poison Spider Bicycles also presents a new road bike event in Moab called the Gran Fondo Moab. It takes place May 1&2, 2010. Ride Moab’s mountain pass of the La Sal Mountains on the Loop Road. You get 64 miles and 5000 ft elevation. There will be staggered starts for this epic ride. The route will have direction signs. And the course times for each participant will be accurate. Poison Spider Bicycles will be producing this event for road bike riders.

Skinny Tire Festival ramps up for March 12 -16. The event benefits cancer survivorship. Another beneficiary is the Huntsman Cancer Institute of Utah. It will be a fun weekend with the Yeti Thaw mountain bikes on the back roads and trails, while the road bikes will be on the pavement. Also plan to catch the Banff Mountain Film Festival, a fund raiser for Utah Open Lands the evening of March 15, 2010 at the Grand High School auditorium.

On June 11th, the Rockwell Relay begins in Moab from Swanny Park on 100 West 400 North, Moab, and continues to finish in St. George. The Rockwell Relay is composed of teams of 4 cyclists. Each athlete rides three legs of approximately 44 miles each leg. The route contains paved back roads of southern Utah passing the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Bridges National Monument, Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase National Monument, Bryce and Zion National Parks.

The Century Tour of September 17-19, 2010, is a road bike weekend with aid stations, mechanics and sag wagons upon routes of varying mileage: 42, 65, 67 and century options. Century Tour has limited registration, so sign up now. Bicycle mechanics are provided by Rim Tours, Western Spirit Cycling Adventures, Moab Cyclery, Solfun, Sheri Griffith Expeditions, and Uranium Bicycles.

Bring your road bike and join another skinny tire event: Moonshadow. Riders check in 4-6 p.m. on June 26, 2010 for the sunset into moonlight ride along Highway 313. It finishes with post-event revelry at Frankie D’s Desert Saloon. Times Trials take place Saturday morning and a leisurely ride Sunday rounds out this eventful weekend in Moab.

Another new Moab event: Outerbike takes place 2010, September 30 through October 3rd. Ride a 2011 mountain or road bike demo from three selected Moab trailheads: the Bar M, the Sovereign Trail and the Slickrock Trail. Proceeds benefit IMBA and the Moab Trails Alliance. Bike manufacturers participating in OuterBike are: Turner Bicycles, Pivot Bicycles, Ibis, SantaCruz, Cannondale, Maverick, Marin Bikes California, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Fox, Kona, Trek, Breezer, Specialized and Fuji.

Also in October racers, support crews and spectators assemble for the 16th annual 24 Hours of Moab by Granny Gear Production. Racers may register as a team or a solo, yet the event is limited to a field of 550 which results in an assembly of 4,000 people. Stay tuned for the precise dates.

Get ready for the 5th annual Moab Ho-Down on October 29-31, 2010. A favorite gathering of mountain bike riders, participate in group shuttles and rides, the dirt jump competition, Super D race, townie ride, movie premier and the outrageous costume party with live music.

Past Due News: May 2009 the Governor of Utah dedicate the Intrepid Trails of Dead Horse Point State Park. If you weren’t aware of these two non-motorized, single track trails, make time to explore them while you are in Moab too.

Interested to divine your own bike event in Moab? The Moab Area Travel Council has a new department: Moab Utah Meetings and Events to assist you with function space, production support, permits and more. Email the facility and event promoter Visit or phone (435) 259-1340.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jordan River OHV Park To Open, Modelport To Close

Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area will open for the season on Saturday, March 6. Snow and ice are pretty much gone now and so Off Highway Vehicles can safely operate in the area. The opening was announced today by Utah State Parks.

The state agency also announced that it will only own and operate it’s Modelport facility through April 5, 2010. Here’s the announcement:

"We will operate the Modelport through April 5, 2010. Beginning April 6, 2010, State Parks will no longer own or operate the Modelport. State park passes will be valid for the modelport through April 5, 2010. For questions concerning the future of the Modelport, please call Salt Lake City Parks at 801-972-7800."

Modelport has provided a place to fly RC airplanes and helicopters, complete with a paved runway and plenty of open space.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Head to Utah to ski this March

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this new article about March specials at Utah ski resorts. The article focuses on great deals at Snowbird and Deer Valley. Below are excerpts.

March is an ideal time to head west and hit the ski and boarding slopes. Many major ski resorts predict they will remain open through early April. Early spring makes for bright, sunny days and more moderate temperatures. You might even come home with deep tan.

An exclusive offer for American Express cardholders to Snowbird Resort includes a two- to five-night stay at a choice of five lodges (including condos and a spa resort), a lift pass for each adult and round-trip airport transfers. The offer of $119 per person, per night (based on double occupancy), must be booked today (March 1) for travel through April 2. Valid on Sunday-Thursday arrivals only.

Getting to Salt Lake City is relatively inexpensive if you can be on your toes to grab up "spot sale" rates published frequently for as little as $89 each way. "Spot sales" are unadvertised rates offers from just a few hours to one full day and then - poof - they're gone. For the past two weeks, Continental Airlines has been actively discounting Salt Lake City rates for travel now through next January. Keep an eye peeled at for these offers,
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