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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abraham Lincoln – Self Made in America Exhibit

The Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper is hosting an exhibit featuring information and reproduction artifacts from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is located in Springfield, Illinois.

Billed as a world-class traveling exhibit, it can be seen free of charge at the Helper museum through July 16.

294 South Main, Helper

Mon-Thurs: 10 am – 6 pm
Fri-Sat: 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 4 pm

More information: 435-472-3009

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Studies Rank Utahns Among the Most Patriotic, and Most Healthy

Men's Health Magazine lists the most patriotic cities in American, in its July/August issue. Salt Lake City is listed in the number two spot, behind Portland, Ore.

Patriotic activities will be held all around Utah this week, celebrating America's Independence Day. Travelers are always welcome to participate in festivities.

And Utah is the eighth least obese state in the nation, according to a study reported in this Deseret News article.

Below are excerpts from this Salt Lake Trib article about the Men's Health patriotic rankings.

The magazine ranked 100 major cities in its July/August issue, which hits newsstands today. It factored in the percentage of registered voters who turned out for state and federal elections; money spent per capita on military veterans; the percentage of residents who volunteer and participate in civic activities; and sales of fireworks and U.S. flags.

Portland, Ore., ranked first. At No. 2, Salt Lake City was followed by Kansas City, Mo.; Seattle; Tampa, Fla.; Hartford, Conn.; Minneapolis; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Atlanta; and Madison, Wis.

For a complete list, visit

Below are excerpts from this Deseret News article about healthy states.

According to the seventh annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010 report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the state's adult obesity rate is 23.2 percent.

Nationally, more than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent.

Monday, June 28, 2010

America's Freedom Festival Events Begin In Provo

America's Freedom Festival is a massive Independence Day celebration now underway in Provo. It includes the popular Stadium of Fire.

See the official website for details about the events. Below are excerpts.

Big news! Five-time Grammy Award winning superstar Carrie Underwood is coming to this year’s Stadium of Fire!

Several internationally-recognized Utah musicians will also perform at the Stadium of Fire, including The 5 Browns, Jenny Oaks Baker, The Osmonds Second Generation, and Eric Dodge!

Family. Freedom. God. Country. These are our most cherished and celebrated values. Join the Freedom Festival this year in commemorating our shared American legacy through unique, inspiring, educational and patriotic events.

The Deseret News has this article previewing the festival. Below are excerpts.

"We about burned down the stadium one year," said Alan Osmond, who produced the first Stadium of Fire in 1970. "I took on a challenge of lighting over a million firecrackers. In six seconds those things ignited and (it) looked like Hiroshima in there."

While the Stadium of Fire is celebrating its 30-year milestone, the Freedom Festival itself goes back even further, with roots that can be traced back to the 1870s. "The early Provo people, they've always had patriotism in their blood, I think," said Freedom Festival executive director Paul Warner.

Including the Stadium of Fire and the Grand Parade, the festival features 26 events, many of which take place this week.

The festivities will begin early Friday, as about 25 hot air balloons take to the air in the Freedom Festival's Balloon Fest. The event is free and allows families and children to watch up-close as the balloons are inflated.

Hearkening back to the time of the Founding Fathers, the Freedom Festival also plays host to Colonial Days. Visitors to the Colonial Square, 275 E. Center St., can tour Jamestown and the Mayflower or meet historic figures like George Washington, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin.

Also rooted in American history is the festival's Milestones of Freedom: Many Nations, One America. Orem's Scera Park will be transformed into Ellis Island, giving participants an idea of what it was like to immigrate to the United States. On Center Street in Provo, another event, Freedom Days, features booths, activities, entertainment and food.

The Balloon Fest, Colonial Days, Milestones of Freedom and Freedom Days will be held Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, July 5.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tuacahn and Other Shows Near St George and Zion Park

Tuacahn Amphitheatre brings Broadway and other productions to a beautiful outdoor setting adjacent to Snow Canyon, just outside St George. Tuacahn's summer season is now underway, featuring these shows:

Crazy For You

Tuacahn also hosts concerns. The schedule this summer includes Styx, Doobie Brothers, Thriller, Michael Martin Murphey and others.

But Tuacahn is not the only show in town. Also consider these venues when you are in the St George/Zion Park area:

O. C. Tanner Ampitheater
Enjoy an evening at the stunning 2000 seat outdoor Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale, Utah . . . cool rhythms, warm strings, hot drums and burning memories! Located just one mile from the south entrance to Zion National Park, the amphitheater holds concerts every Saturday at 8 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day for only $8.

St. George Musical Theater
Nearing its 20th year St. George Musical Theater offers exciting, year-round, family friendly musicals & plays! Productions are being held at the Dixie State College Eccles Theater while a new theater-in-the-round is under construction. Tickets can be purchased by calling 435-628-875

See this website for more info about arts and products in this area.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Utah Ski Season Numbers Up By 2%

The number of skier days for the just completed season was up 2% over last year's numbers, according to numbers just released by Ski Utah.

The increase came despite our down economy, and poor snow during the early part of the season. As always, the snow eventually came and great conditions lingered far into spring. Industry leaders say the seasonal increase shows more and more people are recognizing Utah resorts really do offer the greatest snow on earth.

Below is the text of the Ski Utah news release.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - The Utah ski and snowboard industry closed the 2009-10 winter season this past Sunday with a total of 4,048,153 skier days, up two percent from the 2008-09 season at 3,972,984. The National Ski Areas Association defines ‘skier days’ as one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night for the purpose of skiing/snowboarding. The two percent increase marks a great success for the industry in light of the current economic climate. Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty noted that visitation numbers improved steadily after the first of the year and continued to grow through the end of the season.

“The incredible loyalty snow sport enthusiasts have for our sport continues to be one of the industry’s key strengths,” said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. “We are fortunate to rely on the dedication and passion of our consumer as a barrier against the uncertainty of today’s economy.”

When all was said and done, the 2009-10 season did not disappoint the powder hounds who flock to The Greatest Snow on Earth®. In fact, Mother Nature extended Utah’s powder days late into the season delivering an unbelievable 152 inches of snow in April and 58 inches in May. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, which closed winter operations on June 20, recorded a season snow total of 603 inches, well above the state’s 500 inch average.

Total statewide skier days for the past 5 years are as follows:

Season Skier Days Rank
2009-10 4,048,153 4
2008-09 3,972,984 5
2007-08 4,249,190 1
2006-07 4,082,094 2
2005-06 4,062,188 3

For a complete history of Utah’s skier days visit

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eerie Ancient Rock Art and Weird Fossils

I enjoy exploring to find and photograph ancient Native American rock art sites. I've been to a bunch of them, in Utah and around the Western US.

Some of the sites are located adjacent to roads and are easy to access. Others are in remote areas - some extremely remote. It is always fun to find them, always interesting to see the figures and try to figure out what they might mean.

Last weekend I hiked to a remote site that is highly unusual, even downright weird, as you can see from my photo here. I took many more and they are just as weird.

The site is located on the "Arizona Strip" - that part of Arizona that is north of the Grand Canyon, and is best accessed through southern Utah. It is near the top of Tuckup Canyon, a major site canyon on the Grand Canyon North Rim.

The hike in is strenuous. It is only about 6 miles, round trip, but very steep. You drop down about 2,000 feet as you hike in, and then you have to climb back up 2,000 feet. I was exhausted at the end of the hike.

The Tuckup Trail runs for about 100 miles along the central part of the North Rim. It provides the opportunity for extended hikes and backpacking trips. It is best hiked during spring and fall. Summer temperatures get very hot and most of the trail is totally exposed to full sunshine.

Most rock art sites have small figures that resemble animals and humanoid creatures. The site in Tuckup Canyon has large figures, some more than 6 feet tall. They are skinny and have some humanoid features. Some think they may represent shamans or other spiritually powerful creatures. Some have an eerie appearance.

Along the trail we saw thousands of weird fossils. Many fossils leave an indention in a rock - with a pattern produced by a ancient shell or some hard structure. There were those kinds of fossils along the trail, but far more that were the reverse - nodules protruding from the flat surfaces of many rocks. Many of the nodules were cylindrical with obvious rings, and were dark in color. They looked like rusty bolts, with course threads, sticking halfway out of a flat clay surface. Others looked like sticks.

Very strange. Weird fossils and eerie rock art - Tuckup Canyon is a great place.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zion Park Announces New Road Reconstruction Schedule

A major road reconstruction project in Zion National Park has been rescheduled to minimize access problems. The change came in response to concerns voiced by park enthusiasts and area businesses.

The project involves reconstruction of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway in the area area of the Mile-Long-Tunnel. The new schedule will only have nighttime road closures, from 8 pm to 8 am, Sunday through Thursday. On weekends and holidays the road will remain open 24 hours a day.

Below is the text of the National Park Service news release.

Zion Announces New Road Reconstruction Schedule

Date: June 22, 2010

Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced a new work schedule for the reconstruction of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway within Zion National Park. The new schedule will only have nighttime road closures. These will occur from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. Previous schedules have all included daytime closures. Weekends and holidays will remain open 24 hours a day. Although the new schedule creates some additional challenges for the project, it should mitigate frustration for travelers, help park operations, and ease economic impacts to the surrounding communities.

Superintendent Whitworth stated, “We have been working with the Federal Highways Administration, area businesses, and the contractor to set a schedule to reconstruct the 80 year old Zion Mount Carmel Highway section from the switchbacks to our east entrance. We feel that the new schedule should still allow us to complete the project before winter, allow visitors to travel to and through Zion, and allow local businesses to fair well during the reconstruction process.”

Zion National Park will remain open for the duration of the project. People travelling to Zion National Park on State Route 9 from Interstate 15 can enjoy Zion Canyon’s recreational opportunities, access the park shuttle, campgrounds, Zion Lodge, and visit Springdale without being in the construction area. Those travelling between US Highway 89 and Zion Canyon through the park’s East Entrance will be affected by the following schedule.

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway reconstruction schedule:
June 27-October 28, 2010

Sunday – Thursday; Open 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. night closures 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Traffic control with up to 30 minute delays. Parking and hiking allowed 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. All hikers and vehicles must be moving out of the area by 8:00 p.m. Bicycles and pedestrians are prohibited in the roadway.

Friday, Saturday and Holidays; no closures, road open 24 hours
(On Monday holidays, there will be no closures on Sunday night.)

Traffic control with up to 30 minute delays. Parking and hiking allowed all hours. Bicycles and pedestrians are prohibited in the roadway.

The road is graded gravel in the work sections and the surface can be uneven. Please use caution and low speeds in these areas. When closures are not in effect, there will still be areas of roadway that are one lane with traffic control and up to 30 minute delays. Due to safety concerns, bicycles are not allowed on the roadway for the duration of the project. Bicyclists wishing to travel between the Canyon Junction and the East Entrance need to arrange for a private vehicle to take them between those locations.

Alternate routes of travel between Zion Canyon and U.S. Highway 89 are Utah State Route 59 from Hurricane, Utah to Arizona State Route 389 (better for large vehicles) or Utah State Route 14 from Cedar City, Utah to Long Valley Junction (high elevation/steep grades). In most cases, it should still be faster to use the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.

For those using alternate routes during the daytime, driving via Utah State Route 59 and Arizona State Route 389 takes travelers directly past Pipe Spring National Monument, another unit of the National Park System worth visiting. Utah State Route 14 allows for travelers to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument via a short side trip on Utah State Route 148.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway reconstruction started June 1, 2010, and is expected to end by October 28. The road construction is occurring from the junction of the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to the East Entrance, a distance of 9.5 miles. The construction does not include Zion Canyon, the most visited area of the park.

For updated information, Call 435-772-3256 (press 1, then 4) or visit the park website at To automatically receive news releases, sign up for the RSS newsfeed on the website.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Enjoy Park City's Food and Wine Classic

The annual Park City Food and Wine Classic will be held July 8-11, at various locations around Park City, Utah. It is always fun, with activities that appeal to both devoted connoisseur and casual enthusiasts.

The event is billed as a premier activity where master winemakers, culinary greats and distinguished guests gather to play, wine, and dine in beautiful Park City. It is the most comprehensive wine event in Utah.

Educational seminars are combined with outdoor activities, tasting events and gourmet cuisine. For example, here’s a description of the popular Mud, Sweat and Cheers event:

This biking/food seminar takes you on a scenic ride through some of Park City’s most panoramic single tracks that makes it a premier mountain biking destination. And after a long, fun-filled ride, finish it off with a sumptuous lunch served up by Executive Chef and fellow biker Zane Holmquist from Stein Eriksen Lodge. Chef Zane not only leads you on your scenic ride, but he’ll be preparing the meal once you dismount and shed the mud. Did we mention beverages? This IS a wine festival of course! Rob Fisher of Fisher Vineyards will be providing some much deserved wines.

See a complete list of events.

National chefs, winemakers, vineyard owners and culinary celebrities participate in various activities at the classic.

See the event’s website for complete information.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Enjoy a Taste of Utah's Big Rock Candy Mountain

When I was young, my family always stopped at Big Rock Candy Mountain, whenever we traveled Hwy 89 through southern-central Utah. It was a favorite rest stop, and still is for many travelers.

That was many years ago. But the mountain is still there – still attractive for a short rest stop or a leisurely holiday.

This Provo Herald article highlights the mountain, and the small resort that has grown up around it. Below are highlights.

‘In the Big Rock Candy Mountains / There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
"Where the handouts grow on bushes / And you sleep out every night.
"Where the boxcars all are empty / And the sun shines every day
"And the birds and the bees / And the cigarette trees
"The lemonade springs / Where the bluebird sings
"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains."

Made famous in the 1950s by folk singer Burl Ives, the lyrics of the late Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock -- a sometime Utah resident born in Tennessee -- describe the "crystal fountains," sunshine, fruit trees and peaceful scenery of a hobo paradise. Residents of Sevier County who heard the song thought they recognized its descriptions and stuck the name Big Rock Candy Mountain on a colorful hillside north of Marysvale on Highway 89.

On our way there, my 8-year-old daughter corrected me when I said, "We're going to the Big Rock Candy Mountain now," and said, "Oh, mom, you mean the Big Rock CANYON Mountain; there's no such thing as a candy mountain."

Terry Briggs, owner of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort, opened the full-service getaway spot in 2000. It includes a fine-dining restaurant, ATV rentals, white-water rafting, and motel and cabin rentals.

My children and I stopped at the Big Rock Candy Mountain to eat, relax and take some pictures. The fine-dining restaurant offers American and Italian cuisine. Two friendly guitarists entertain guests. They even played "In the Big Rock Candy Mountains" for me. The food is very good, and the atmosphere picturesque. Open, airy windows offer views of the multicolored volcanic rock.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Colorado Students Hike Moab

Northeastern Junior College, in Stirling, Colorado, sponsors an annual hiking trip to Moab every spring. The explore Arches and Canyonlands national parks, and other area attractions. The Journal Advocate published this article about their 2010 trip. Below are excerpts.

On Sunday, May 16, the group arrived at the Arches National Park in Utah, a location it would stay in for the next two days. Arches National Park contains the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches. This national park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms such as fins, pinnacles, spires, balanced rocks, and arches. The 73,000-acre region has more than 2,000 of these “miracles of nature.” The NJC group spent time in the Windows Section, Devil’s Garden, Fiery Furnace and culminated the visit with a hike to the Delicate Arch at sunset.

The Fiery Furnace, which was a highlight of the trip for some of the students, consists of a maze of narrow passages created by sandstone fins. The area is not large, but it is difficult to navigate and so people are encouraged to sign up for ranger-led hikes and must make reservations ahead of time to take a self-led group in. People can hike it on their own by obtaining a permit at the Visitor Center, which NJC chose to do. Geology professor Dave Coles and math professor Mike Vair have led a number of NJC groups through the Fiery Furnace over the years; however, there are no marked trails and even these two experienced hikers found themselves puzzled as to which direction to take their group initially.

Three days on the trip were spent in the Canyonland National Park, specifically in The Island in the Sky and the Needles districts, spending time hiking at Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome, Elephant Hill, Chesler Park and Confluence Overlook. Some of the days involved as much as 10 or more miles of hiking in rugged terrain, packing a day’s worth of water and food, sunscreen, a rain poncho and tape for sore feet.

This hiking trip, which is done annually depending upon how much interest there is from students to go, was originally initiated by Clay Prall, long-time math professor at NJC. Vair and Coles began going on the Utah trips with Prall, eventually taking over running the hikes about eight years ago. The two also lead a caving trip each year. The destination for the hiking trips is always Utah, but the trails and destinations are altered each year.

Utah Arts Festival Is June 24-27

The 2010 Utah Arts Festival will run Thursday, June 24 through Sunday, June 27, from 12 Noon to 11 pm, in downtown Salt Lake City. It will be held at Library Square and Washington Square, 200 East 400 South.

The festival offers a wide assortment of performing arts, visual arts and family activities. There will be plenty of music, food and fun. See the festival’s official website for details.

At the festival, you can see art in many mediums and styles. Visit the Artist Marketplace booths to visit with artists and see or buy their works. You can also stop by to see art in progress at the Higher Ground Gallery of Urban Art.

Some of the best performers in the region will share their talents on stage.

Traffic will be congestion and limited parking in that area during the festival. Utah’s light rail TRAX system is a good option to get downtown. Take TRAX to the Library Station exit on 400 South and you’ll be at the Festival’s main entrance.

During the Festival, admission tickets are available for purchase at four on-site box office locations:
- The Main Box Office
- The Plaza Entrance
- The Park Entrance
- City & County Building Entrance

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pony Express Reenactment Thunders Across Utah

Enthusiasts gathered along the old Pony Express Trail over the weekend as part of the150th anniversary celebration of the of the storied but shore-lived mail service.

Many gathered at a replica station at Simpson Springs in Utah, where riders prepared for a mad dash across one of the most difficult and dangerous legs of the route. The Deseret News has this article about the activity. Below are excerpts.

SIMPSON SPRINGS, Tooele County — Mud and leather flying, the Pony Express re-enactor approaches the desolate West Desert watering hole at a full gallop. It's a hoof pounding and heart pounding sight.

A large gathering of friends, family and other riders crowds around the replica station at Simpson Springs on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the efforts of 22 horses and riders who began today's leg of the ride in Callao, Juab County, near the Nevada border.

Pat Hearty, a past president of the National Pony Express and current Utah chairman, said about 90 Utahns are involved in this year's Sesquicentennial ride. Riders alternate traversing two-mile segments of the historic trail — only a token of the bone jarring, muscle cramping 80- to 100-mile lengths endured by riders of yesteryear.

It was plenty for rookie rider Paul Kern. "They did a lot more riding back in those days, Kern said, explaining that Pony Express riders were better adapted to the rigors of the trail. "We're not in the same condition. You can't be only riding on weekends."

Eighty riders, 400 horses, 1,966 miles of mostly untamed, hostile country: The numbers never added up to financial success. But in terms of defining an era and captivating a still-adolescent nation, the Pony Express left an indelible mark on America.

The fleeting 18-month experiment, which operated from April 1860 to October 1861, was American gumption at its finest — innovative and audacious, romantic as well as heroic.

Read the complete article.

Sunset Magazine Lists Favorite Utah Campgrounds

In this article, Sunset Magazine lists favorite campgrounds throughout the Western US, including six in Utah. Sunset says, “Camping is the ultimate bargain getaway...”

Sunset recommends these Utah spots, and gives these "insider tips":

Colorado Riverway - At Hal Canyon Campground, nab site 2 or 11 for secluded riverfront.

Dead Horse Point State Park - Rise early for the sunrise over the 12,721-foot La Sal Mountains.

Devils Garden Campground - Snag site 53 ― behind a “fin,” a slickrock boulder ― for privacy.

Watchman Campground - Bring an awning for shade in summertime.

Tanner’s Flat Campground - On Sunday morning, head up the canyon to the Alta Lodge for its legendary brunch (Sun brunch $22; 801/742-3500).

The Wedge Overlook - Follow informal trails along the canyon rim for your own sunset lightshow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer at the Ski Resorts

Snowbird had planned to offer skiing through June 20 – the official start of meteorological summer – but hot temperatures last week zapped much of the resort's snow base. As a result, this will probably be the final weekend of skiing. Officials will evaluate conditions and make a final decision early next week.

Meanwhile, summer activities are cranking up, with the resorts offering hiking and mountain biking, tram rides, concerts and a multitude of special events. has this article about summer activities at Snowbird. Below are excerpts.

New thus summer at Snowbird is a Ropes Course, adjacent to the Chickadee Chairlift, where participants can strap into a harness and test their courage high above the ground.

Snowbird’s summer activity kickoff coincides with a full weekend of events... Twelve Utah breweries will gather for Brewfest on June 19, pouring three-ounce samples of local beer for $1 during the day alongside free live music. Father’s Day features an all-you-can-eat BBQ on the Plaza Deck or holiday brunch at the Atrium Restaurant, both with local bands and a free summer Tram ride for dining guests.

Most Utah resorts have a summer section on their websites, highlighting warm-weather activities. Lodging rates are generally lower in the summer, conditions are never crowded and Utah's mountains are beautiful... This is a great time to take a mountain vacation.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Heber Valley Pow Wow & Mountain Man Rendezvous at Soldier Hollow

The annual Pow Wow at Soldier Hollow, in Heber Valley, will be held June 27-29. It provides an opportunity to participate in a traditional Native American Pow Wow and a Mountain Man Trading Rendezvous. You will be able to see Native American dancers from all over the country together with nationally recognized drumming groups.

There will be games for the kids, a candy cannon and many types of food available including authentic Native American tacos, traditional frybread and other tasty items.

You will be able to view and purchase trade goods from the fur trade era at the traditional mountain man rendezvous, as well traditional craft items from Native American vendors.

The Pow Wow is a unique opportunity to view a variety of traditional dance styles and regalia. You will also be able to hear storytellers and see Native American costumes, art items and crafts.

For more information see the festival web page, this schedule of events, or call 435-654-2002.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tickets Still Available To See Carrie Underwood at Stadium of Fire

Carrie Underwood will be the featured entertainer at Stadium of Fire, which is part of America's Freedom Festival at Provo. Tickets have sold quickly but there are still some available. Get tickets now if you are interested in attending.

America's Freedom Festival at Provo is one of America's biggest and best patriotic celebrations, drawing in hundreds of thousands of spectators every year from all 50 states and other nations. It runs from July 2 – 5. The Stadium of Fire will be held on July 5 this year, since the Forth of July falls on a Sunday.

Major events include:

Balloon Fest - Experience 25 hot air balloons close up as they prepare
for high-flying games.

Children's Parade - Meet firefighters and police officers in this fun, family oriented parade.

Freedom Awards Gala - Awards for individuals who have contributed to the cause of freedom.

Freedom Days - Community carnival, craft fair, activities, music,
and food in downtown Provo.

Freedom Run - Kick off the Fourth of July with a 10K, 5K,
or the mayor's 1 Mile fun run.

Grand Parade - Celebrate freedom with a parade of floats, bands,
balloons, and performers.

Historic Provo Tour - Observe historic architecture throughout Provo.

Golf Extravaganza - Enjoy family miniature golf and barbecue.

Patriotic Service - Inspiring messages of patriotism and freedom.

Stadium of Fire - World-class entertainment and fireworks display.

See a complete listing of Freedom Festival events.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Some Zion Park Trails Will Be Closed During Construction

Some popular hiking trails in Zion National Park will be closed on weekdays because of construction work on the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway. Those areas will be open on weekends, unless unusual construction work is needed.

The closure affects the Canyon Overlook and East Rim trails. It also affects the technical canyoneering routes through Pine Creek, Spry and Keyhole.

The National Park Service provided the news release below.

Update on Restrictions for Zion Hikes and Canyons

Date: June 2, 2010
Contact: Ray O'Neil, 435-772-7823

Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced that during the reconstruction of the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway (Tunnel Road), all canyons and trails accessed from that road will be unavailable Monday through Friday until the project is completed. Trail and off trail hiking opportunities, and backcountry permits for technical canyons in that area will be available Saturdays and Sundays if no work is occurring. All other areas of the park remain open and accessible. Construction closures will begin June 7 and end by October 28, 2010.

Zion-Mt Carmel Highway (Tunnel Road) CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE:

June 7-October 28

Monday - Friday
9:00am-4:00pm - Closed to travel
4:00pm-9:00am - Open under traffic control
No stopping, parking, bicycles or pedestrians.

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
Open 24 hours, traffic control possible

Parking and day hiking allowed, except in work areas. No bicycles. Permits for technical canyons in the construction zone are available on a walk-up basis. 1 night camping permits available on Saturday night only. All trails, off trail areas and trailheads open unless work is occurring.

Trails affected by the construction are the Canyon Overlook and East Rim. The Canyon Overlook will not be accessible at any time Monday through Friday. Parking is not available Monday through Friday at the East Rim trailhead. The East Rim trail is accessible from the Stave Spring Trailhead, Weeping Rock Trailhead, and the East Mesa Trailhead.

Canyons affected include Pine Creek, Spry and Keyhole. These canyons will not be accessible at any time Monday through Friday. All hikes and canyons will be available on weekends if no work is occurring. Visitors should check the park website ahead of time to make sure there is no construction affecting the area they wish to visit.

Zion National Park will remain open for the duration of the project. People travelling to Zion National Park on State Route 9 from Interstate 15 will be able to enjoy Zion Canyon’s recreational opportunities, access the park shuttle, campgrounds, and Zion Lodge, and frequent the businesses in Springdale without being in the construction area. Visitors traveling from the east on SR 9 can travel to Zion Canyon and Springdale before 9 am and after 4 pm Monday through Friday. The road will be open 24 hours on weekends and holidays.

Updates on the availability of permits for canyoneering routes will be available on the park website at or by calling the backcountry desk at 435-772-0170. Road information is also available on the website or by calling 435-772-3256 (press 1, then 4).

Monday, June 07, 2010

Stream Flooding Prompts Warnings in Northern Utah

Hot temperatures are causing mountain snow to melt quickly, raising stream levels and causing flood danger in some areas.

Little Cottonwood Creek in particular is raging right now and has flooded in spots. Murray Park has standing water, along with some homes and nearby businesses. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, officials are warning people to stay away from the stream. That restricts access to some trails and recreation areas.

Little Cottonwood Creek drains the area around Alta and Snowbird ski resorts, SE of Salt Lake City.

Fox13 news has this report:

"We got rivers and streams that are just ripping right now," said National Weather Service Hydrologist Brian McInerney. "It's frightening to get next to it. It's so fast and so turbulent as it comes out of the canyon."

Water spilling over from the creek has flooded Murray Park. Several families living in apartments and townhomes in Holladay have also been told to leave their homes due to the high water. Flooding has also been reported in parts of Summit County.

ABC4 news has this report:

Murray Park is drenched with water after Little Cottonwood Creek Overflowed Sunday Night.

The water has saturated the area, and is reportedly between three and four feet deep in places. We're told now that due to flood waters, 5100 South and State Street in Murray has been restricted to one lane.

There is also flooding in other areas including the Weber River in Summit County. As of right now no structures are threatened. There is also flooding in Lehi, Provo, and American Fork.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Free Fishing Day Kicks Off Summer Fishing Season

Tomorrow (June 5, 2010) is Free Fishing Day in Utah. Licenses are not needed to fish at open waters throughout the state. All other regulations apply. Read Utah's fishing guidebook to learn about specific regulations on waters you want to fish.

There will be free fishing events at various waters around Utah, including workshops and hands-on instruction. Details.

The Utah Lake Festival will be held Saturday at Utah Lake State Park. Fishing equipment will be available to use at no charge. The festival runs from 10 am to 2 pm. In addition to fishing, activities at the festival include fighting fish on a fishing simulator, free boat rides, a sail-boat regatta, face painting and art activities for kids, and plenty of booths to visit. Free hot dogs, popcorn, apples and water will be provided by Provo, American Fork, Orem, Springville and Santaquin cities.

Read our information about popular Utah fishing waters including:
- Strawberry Reservoir
- Provo River
- Green River
- Logan River
- Lake Powell
- Fish Lake
- Boulder Mountain
- Pineview Reservoir

This Utah fishing report has current information about our waters.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

No Entrance Fees at National Parks This Weekend

Utah’s national parks will waive entrance fees this weekend, joining other US parks in celebrating the coming of summer and also National Trails Day.

The National Parks Service provided the news release below.

National Parks Offer Free Admission this Weekend

WASHINGTON – Free admission, warmer weather, longer days, and fewer crowds make this weekend a great time to visit a national park! To celebrate the coming of summer, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at all parks on June 5 & 6.

“National parks offer visitors great places to exercise their bodies and their minds- or just relax with family or friends,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “Check out the birding caravan at Acadia in Maine or be part of the 50th anniversary celebration at Bent’s Old Fort in Colorado. Whatever your interests come on out this weekend and experience the best places that America has at the best price you’ll find - free!”

National Trails Day on June 5 is an opportune time to hike a portion of the 17,000 miles of trail located in national parks. Additionally, the National Park Service National Trails System manages more than 50,000 miles of historic and scenic trails of national importance, such as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail and more than 1,000 national recreation trails of local or regional significance. The National Park Service entrance fees will also be waived on August 14 & 15, September 25, and November 11, 2010. Fees for activities such as camping, reservations, tours, or concessions are not affected by the entrance fee waiver.

There are 147 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. The other 245 national parks do not charge entrance fees, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round!

Utah Shakespearean Festival Will Premiere A New Musical, 'Great Expectations'

The Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival is preparing to open its summer season, which will feature an electrifying world premiere musical, “Great Expectations.”

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, the musical will run from July 1 to August 28 in repertory with five other productions. Tickets are on sale now at and 1-800-PLAYTIX (800-752-9849).

The festival has this news release about the premier, and about its new season. Below are excerpts.

Fred C. Adams, Festival founder... discovered the musical at a developmental workshop at the Odyssey Theatre in the fall of 2008. Adams and the Festival’s executive director, R. Scott Phillips, traveled to Los Angeles to see the workshop after receiving a call from Darryl Archibald, who has previously worked at the Festival. Archibald will serve as the music director for “Great Expectations.”

“Darryl said I simply had to drive up and see the show because it was perfect for Festival audiences,” said Adams. “After the performance we approached the creators to talk about the possibility of the Festival presenting the world premiere. Scott and I spent the entire drive home discussing the show and how we were going to make this happen.”

“Dickens’ timeless prose is interwoven with soaring, rich music posing questions about life’s expectations and realities,” added R. Scott Phillips, Festival executive director. “It is amazing how rich a life can be when we learn to trust our hearts.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss,” said Adams. “Many of our patrons have regretted not seeing the world premiere of ‘Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical’ in 2007 now that it is planning on opening in London. I hope everyone gets their tickets to ‘Great Expectations’ early so they won’t miss out this summer.”

The summer season will also include Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “Macbeth,” in addition to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps,” and Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The Festival is located on the corner of 300 W. and Center St. in Cedar City, Utah.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Rainbow Bridge National Monument Centennial

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is now 100 years old. It was set aside on May 30, 1910, by President Taft. It is the world's largest known natural bridge and is located in a remote area in southern Utah. It can be seen via a 50 mile (one way) boat ride on Lake Powell (in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area).

The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time--from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 300,000 people from around the world who visit it each year.

To celebration the centennial anniversary, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas is offering travelers a special travel package, guided tours, and historic memorabilia throughout the 2010 season. The package includes a two-night stay in a traditional room at Lake Powell Resort, two tickets on the Rainbow Bridge boat cruise and daily breakfast for two. See this press release for details about the Rainbow Bridge package.

The Prescott, Arizona, Daily Courier has this article about the bridge. Below are excerpts.

The reddish sandstone of the Colorado Plateau instead was washed away by the forces of water, sculpting a natural arch that takes hours to reach whether by boat, foot or horse.

The isolation of the bridge in far southern Utah kept it secret from many outside the area. But its proclamation as a national monument 100 years ago Sunday opened it up to visitors to explore its beauty and learn about its rich geological and human history.

Some people choose to hike 18 miles from the northeast side of Navajo Mountain, traversing Teddy Roosevelt's step, or the 16 miles from the Rainbow Lodge ruins on the southwest side of the mountain. The lodge burnt down in 1951, which then co-owner Barry Goldwater blamed on a cowboy smoking in the back room.

But the overwhelming majority of the (300,000) visitors take a much easier route, by boat from Page, Ariz., which upon arrival requires only a short hike. The 50-mile water trip across Lake Powell, made possible by the creation of Glen Canyon Dam in the 1960s, gives way to views of cathedral-like canyons and geologic formations that are hundreds of millions of years old.

The bridge is tucked at the base of Navajo Mountain, about 8 miles north of the Arizona state line. Five Native American tribes in the area consider it sacred. Two Native guides led an exploration party there in 1909, whose goal was to have it set aside as a national monument.
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