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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, October 29, 2010

Major Road Closures On I-15, Bangerter

Utah continues to forge ahead with major road construction projects, and some will impact travel during the next few days.

The Utah Department of Transportation will close Bangerter Highway in both directions late Friday from 27th South to 35th South. It plans to reopen the stretch on Monday at 5 a.m.

Both directions on I-15 at 500 East in American Fork are scheduled to be closed beginning Monday at 11 p.m. and reopened Tuesday at 5 a.m. Crews will be pouring concrete on the south bridge at the new 500 East interchange. Signs will be in place to guide motorists through a detour route.

The information above comes from this Salt Lake Tribune article. Below are more details.

Other key restrictions this weekend are also planned on I-80 ramps at the Salt Lake International Airport, 54th South in Taylorsville and I-15 in Kaysville.

The I-15 entrance and exit ramps at 200 North in Kaysville will be closed at different times on Saturday. Southbound ramps will be closed from 7 a.m. through 1 p.m., and northbound ramps will be closed from 1 p.m. through 7 p.m.

UDOT says 54th South between Redwood Road and Bangerter Highway will be reduced to one lane in each direction on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Left turns will be prohibited at all intersections, side streets and driveways.

Also, selected ramps on I-80 near Salt Lake International Airport will have nightly closures from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for maintenance work through Nov. 30. Travelers on night flights are urged to allow an extra 15 minutes to arrive at the airport.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nighttime Road Closures End In Zion National Park

Road construction is winding down in Zion National Park. The park has announced that nighttime road closures are ending and traffic will return to normal seasonal flows.

Below is a news release issued by the park.

Superintendent Jock Whitworth is pleased to announce that on Friday, October 29, the nighttime Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway road closures that have been in place since June will come to an end. Bicycles, which have been prohibited for the construction, are now allowed to travel on the roadway. Restricted hours for large vehicles crossing the park through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel remain in place year-round.

Tunnel hours for large vehicles 7 feet 10 inches wide or wider and/or 11 feet 4 inches tall or taller are currently 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. every day, vehicles exceeding these dimensions cannot pass through Zion National Park on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and must use an alternate route.

There is less than ½ mile of paving on the 9 ½ mile long project left to complete. Rain last week kept the paving crew from finishing the last section near the west portal of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Due to continued rain and low temperatures this week, construction crews are waiting for a window of favorable conditions to finish this portion of the job.

Because of this, the final end date of October 28 for the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Reconstruction Project has been postponed. Although there will not be night closures, residents and travelers should expect short traffic delays over the next few weeks as crews complete the finishing touches on roadway shoulders, clean up construction debris, and remove equipment. Weather permitting, the contractor expects all work to be completed by mid November.

Final sealing and striping of the new roadway will require one or two daytime closures as soon as possible after the last of the roadway has been paved. The exact dates and times of the closures will be announced when they are determined. Because of the unpredictable nature of the weather at this time of the year, the notice for these closures may be announced within a few days of them happening. The Park Service will provide as early notification as possible. Residents and travelers can call 435-772-3256 or visit the park website at for construction updates.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Early Snow Causes People In Utah To Be Excited About Skiing

Snow has fallen over northern Utah mountains during the past few days, and more is expected. In some spots it is deep enough to allow die-hard enthusiasts to ski down hills. As a result, people are getting excited about the ski season.

Brighton and Solitude plan to open on Nov 12. Most Utah resorts plan to open in November, and a few will open in early December. We will publish opening days as they firm up.

KSL has this report about the snow. Below are details.

One drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton proves it, where die-hards like Sandy resident Sean Farley were busy walking up snow-covered hills, snowboarding down them to hit a jump, and then doing it all over again: several times.

"It's a good time," said Farley. "It's awesome. It's good to take,like, even that little run."

The little run he kept sliding down was making 100 feet long, right next to where a chairlift operator was busy testing the lifts.

Brighton is making snow Tuesday night for the first time this season. Right now, everything is covered with natural snow.

Last year, northern Utah's resorts got a lot of snow in October, which made everyone in the ski industry excited. However, no more significant snow fell for almost two months. That left a lot of slushy, rocky and muddy runs for a lot of resorts that opened early. This year, with more early-October snow, everyone is cautiously optimistic.

"We don't want to jump the gun too soon," said Jessica Kunzer, spokeswoman for Ski Utah. "I think you'll see the majority of Utah's resorts opening probably a little closer to Thanksgiving."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 Features Utah Ski Vacation

Utah ski resorts are gearing up to open and are offering some very good package deals. is featuring this package that offers free ski passes when you book lodging at the Inn at Snowbird. Below are excerpts describing the deal.

Known mostly for its challenging winter powder for skiing and snowboarding, Snowbird, Utah is a small resort town in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah constantly ranked as one of the best in the United States.

When you stay three nights at the Inn at Snowbird, you’ll spend $297 and get two ski-tram and chairlift passes per day (at a $216 value) and free lodging and skiing for children.

Read the complete report.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Utah Resorts Prepare For Ski Season By Making Impressive Upgrades

Utah ski resorts have made extensive upgrades during the off season, and are now putting the final touches on new terrain, on-mountain improvements, new accommodations and other improvements. has this summary of improvements. Here are a couple highlights.

The Canyons will introduce North America's first heated chair lift, designed with an orange bubble shield, evoking the feeling of being inside a pair of ski goggles. This state-of-the-art lift will be located outside the Grand Summit Hotel and will increase uphill capacity from the base by an impressive 47 percent. In addition to the Orange Bubble lift, The Canyons will launch a new direct-connect gondola, 300 acres of expanded terrain and enhanced snowmaking capabilities.

Named among the top 10 family resorts in North America, Park City Mountain Resort has unveiled a new season pass option, “My Pass. My Way.” Pass holders can customize their season pass and enjoy unrestricted mountain access. “My Pass. My Way” offers the choice of one, two or three customizable options that include Fast Tracks (access to the express lanes at the Resort’s five busiest lifts), night skiing and riding (hours extended until 9 p.m.) and/or slope-side underground parking.

Read the complete summary.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hiking Ideas For Deer Hunt Weekend

Utah's general season rifle deer hunt begins this Saturday. Thousands of hunters will be in the field, searching for elusive mule deer.

So, where do you go if you want to hike this weekend without bumping into rifle-toting, orange-clad nimrods?

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article suggesting hikers try the areas listed below. Read the article for details.

- Salt Lake County: Jordan River Parkway

- Utah County: Timpanogos Cave National Monument

- Northeastern Utah: Nobletts Creek Trail — Uinta Mountains

- Northern Utah: Lakeside Trail — Antelope Island State Park

- Southern Utah: Petrified Forest Trail — Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dance To 'Thriller' For Snow At Park City Mtn Resort

Park City Mountain Resort is holding a “Bring on The Snow” dance on Oct 29. Participants will dance to 'Thriller,' in an attempt to set a world record for the most people dancing the the Jackson classic. provided the info below.

Utah's Park City Mountain Resort will once again attempt a world record while bringing on the snow when it hosts its second annual "Thriller Snow Dance" on Friday, Oct. 29 at the Town Lift Plaza, located on lower Main Street in Park City. Participants are encouraged to don zombie and/or winter attire -- including ski or snowboard boots -- to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

Don't know how to dance to Thriller? To get it right, a two-hour practice is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. The record attempt for the most people dancing to Thriller gets underway at 5 p.m.

Need a preview? For a video of last year’s inaugural Thriller Snow Dance, check it out on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Expect Slow Drive To Salt Lake Airport

Road construction is causing delays for people driving to Salt Lake International Airport. The Deseret News has this article about the delays. Below are excerpts.

The Utah Department of Transportation is doing maintenance on a dozen ramps on I-80, I-215, Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road — all of which funnel to the airport.

"It's going to be a periodic thing over the next three weeks," said UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo, adding road crews are trying to take advantage of the good weather. "We don't close all of them at once."

Just a couple of closures Monday night were enough to send some drivers, including ones who know city streets well, into a frustrating maze.

"Right now, we're looking at adding even more signs to see if they'll help out," Carrillo said.

Carrillo couldn't say which ramps will be closed on any given night, but said travel restrictions will occur from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. He recommends adding 20 minutes for commutes to the airport.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Glen Canyon Begins Scoping Process For Off Road Use Changes

Glen Canyon/Lake Powell now allows off-road use in limited areas. The National Recreation Area is now considering revising OHV regulations, and is inviting public participation. Below are details describing the scoping process.

The National Park Service announced today the beginning of the public alternatives scoping period for an environmental impact statement to assess the management of off-road vehicle (ORV) use at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The ORV Vehicle Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will evaluate a range of alternatives associated with recreational ORV use at Glen Canyon and their environmental impacts. Currently, off-road driving occurs at several of Glen Canyon’s accessible shorelines and at Lone Rock Beach. Off-road driving in these locations allows the public to leave the designated road and drive to Lake Powell’s shoreline to fish, camp, picnic, boat, or engage in other recreational activities. In addition, the EIS will evaluate the existing high intensity ORV use at Lone Rock Beach Play Area, all-terrain vehicle travel on park roads, and ORV use at the Ferry Swale area.

Public alternatives scoping is an integral step of the environmental planning process. Public scoping is used to identify any other possible alternatives, issues, and areas of public interest that may require specific analysis in the environmental planning process. Public scoping is an opportunity for the public to provide their suggestions, comments, and ideas regarding ORV management at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The public is invited to submit ideas and proposals on ORV management. All comments must be received by November 24, 2010. Comments may be submitted online at Comments may also be mailed to: Superintendent, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Re: ORV Management Plan/EIS, P.O. Box 1507, Page, AZ 86040.

In addition, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will host seven open houses to present draft alternatives, gather input and answer questions. Workshop details are listed below.

November 1 04:00 pm – 07:00 pm Page, Arizona Glen Canyon Park Headquarters 691 Scenic View Drive

November 2 04:00 pm – 07:00 pm Blanding, Utah USU/CEU San Juan Campus Blanding Arts & Events Center 715 W. 200 S.

November 3 04:00 pm – 07:00 pm Escalante, Utah Escalante Interagency Visitor Center 755 W. Main

November 4 04:00 pm – 07:00 pm Kanab,Utah Kanab Middle School 690 S. Cowboy Way

November 5 03:00 pm – 06:00 pm Flagstaff, Arizona Summit Fire District Station 33 5040 N. Hwy 89

November 7 11:00am – 03:00 pm Oljato, Utah Oljato Chapter House
San Juan County Road 420 / Monument Valley Rd / Oljato Rd, approximately 12 miles west of the Highway 163 Junction

November 9 04:00 pm – 07:00 pm Navajo Mountain, Utah Navajo Mountain Chapter House Navajo Route 16, approximately 35 miles north of the Highway 98 Junction

Additional information about the project is available online at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heber City's Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

The 16th Annual Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair will be held November 1-7, 2010, in Heber City, Utah.

The event is held annually: “To promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art.” See the official website for details.

  • Top entertainment includes:
  • Utah Symphony & Riders In The Sky
  • Cowboy Steak Dinner and Concert
  • The Wild, Wild West Show
  • Sons Of The San Joaquin & BYU Symphony Concert
  • Hot Club of Cowtown/BrennHill/Suzy Bogguss
  • Red Steagall/Quebe Sisters Band Concert
  • Homestead Hoedown Dinner/Dance
  • Bar J Wranglers Concert
  • Bar J Wranglers/Quebe Sisters Band Concert
  • Susy Bogguss/RW Hampton Concert
  • Cowboy Dinner and Show at Zermatt
  • Ian Tyson/Hot Club of Cowtown Concert
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Key attractions include:

  • Ten Main Headliner Shows
  • Jim Hicks Horsemanship Forum
  • Horse and Mule Driving Clinic
  • Mountain Man Trading Post
  • Western Writers of America
  • Fiddle/Guitar Workshop
  • Cowboy Express Train
  • Cowboy Film Festival
  • Impact Of The Horse
  • Buckaroo Dance
  • Cowboy Church
  • Wild West Show
  • Western Booths
  • Jam Sessions
  • Gift Shop
  • and much more

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Fishing Is Heating Up

As the weather cools, many game fish in Utah become more active and feed more aggressively, as if they know the cold days of winter are just ahead.

Fishing success is up on many of our waters right now. In particular, good reports are coming from Strawberry Reservoir and Lake Powell.

I fished Lake Powell last weekend and enjoyed great success. The weather was perfect, warm but not hot, and the fishing was very good for striped bass and smallmouth bass. I caught the striper shown at right.

This website has excellent information and tips for fishing Powell.

This newspaper article describes the good fishing at Strawberry. Below are excerpts.

But then, starting last Thursday, reports began coming in of a sudden improvement in the eating habits of the previously finicky fish. Several readers reported catching both rainbows and cutthroats that were willingly to chase lures, jerkbaits and Rapalas from the surface down to 15 feet.

As we move towards the ides of October (shorter days and longer nights) and after a few days of cooler weather, the trout are answering their wake-up alarm and are beginning their annual feeding frenzy in preparation for the leaner winter months. For the opportunistic angler, it's time to revisit Strawberry from now until it ices over. The cutthroats are healthy and growing, and there are more and more rainbows being caught all the time.

Don't give up on Strawberry and miss some of the best fishing of the year. Go prepared for changing weather, and plan on cold mornings and icy boat ramps. And, please, if you have difficulty finding fish, don't hesitate to e-mail me and I will help you break the code on some huge fall trout.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Forbs Says Utah Is Best In US For Businesses and Careers

Forbes Magazine has released its annual list of states with the best climates for businesses, and people building careers, and Utah tops the rankings.

Below are excerpts from the Forbes article about the list.

Who's doing the best job when it comes to fostering growth? Utah, according to our fifth annual look at the Best States for Business. The Beehive State captured the top spot in our rankings for the first time, after a four-year run by Virginia at the head of the list.

"We have a fiscally conservative government where we are trying to keep government off your backs and out of your wallet. We want the free market do what it does best," says Utah Gov. Gary Herbert...

Companies across the country are taking notice. Goldman Sachs ( GS - news - people ) keeps expanding its operations in Utah, and its Salt Lake City office is now the company's second-largest in North America. Adobe ( ADBE - news - people ) announced plans in August to build a new campus in Utah that will create 1,000 new jobs there, building on its $1.8 billion purchase of Orem-based Web analytic firm Omniture ( OMTR - news - people ) last year. Oracle ( ORCL - news - people ) and eBay ( EBAY - news - people ) are both building massive data centers outside Salt Lake City.

Our Best States ranking measures six vital categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. We factor in 33 points of data to determine the ranks in the six main areas. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes, are weighted the most heavily. We relied on 10 data sources, with research firm Moody's as the most-utilized resource.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dinosaur Myths and Mistakes Showcased

The Dinosaur Discovery Site museum in St. George has a new exhibit that showcases dinosaur myths and mistakes, including mistakes made by early paleontologists. The museum is one of several popular dinosaur sites in Utah. It was built over a spot where numerous dinosaur tracks were found.

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

A new exhibit at the Discovery Site museum in St. George explores some myths and mistakes in the context of the history of paleontology. “Dino Right, Dino Wrong,” open through March 1, was the brainchild of Rusty Salmon, director of the dinosaur track site discovered in 2000.

The new exhibit includes several examples of how conclusions drawn by early paleontologists were later proven wrong as identification techniques improved and knowledge increased.

In one case, a dinosaur’s thumb claw was thought to be a horn. In another, the fossilized skull of a dinosaur was mistakenly placed at the tip of its tail.

Besides misidentifying the thumb claw, scientists wrongly believed the tail of the spine of elasmosaurus was the top of its neck and worthy of a fossilized skull. They stood by their claim until it was proved that the other end of the long spine was where the head really belonged.

Also on display are early geology textbooks along with toy dinosaurs and novels featuring the giant creatures, including The Lost World and Jurassic Park, which were later made into popular films.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Should More Utah Locations Become National Parks?

National Parks Traveler has this interesting article discussing the merit of converting some national monuments into national parks. It discusses two Utah monuments, Cedar Breaks and Dinosaur, and allows readers to comment.

The article itself is informative, and the reader comments are supportive. Below are excerpts from some of the comments.

D Staniforth - I visited Cedar Breaks National Monument in October 2008 and was amazed by it... As a foreign visitor (British) I'm always eager to see the diverse areas of the US National Park system, and even though it's not a National Park in name, I do believe Cedar Breaks and its amphitheater definitely has what it takes - and it also deserves more attention.

R Tipton - It has been our consistent position at NPCA that we will support existing Monuments being re-designated and "upgraded" to Nationla Parks if sufficient land is added to the current boundaries to meet the diversity of resources and attractions test that is set forth by the Park Service in the National Parks Index. It is clear the brand of "national park" has real value to attract greater numbers of visitors, and we are happy that is the case. At the same time, we shouldn't cheapen the brand by automatically converting National Monuments to National Parks. There are cases-- and Dinosaur is a good example-- where a ver y good argument can be made that existing Monuments already meet the criteria for being National Parks.

Jeanie - I'm in total agreement with making Dinosaur a National Park. My daughter and son-in-law worked there for around three years and we made a couple of trips out there, and it is an awesome place. From the rivers to the mini-grand canyon area on the Colorado side, and then the dinosaur bones is beautiful, and so unexpected in such a remote location. I hope it gets its designation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jeeping Into The Maze

I just returned from a fun trip exploring part of The Maze area of Canyonlands National Park. Our goal was to jeep through the Land of Standing Rocks to the Doll House, but we never made it. Still, we had a great time and saw some amazing country.

The Maze includes most of the area of Canyonlands that lies west of the Colorado River. It is remote and incredibly rugged. It is a great place to get away from civilization into a unique landscape seen by very few of the people who visit the park.

I have never explored that area but I figured I had a pretty good idea of the challenges we would face. After all, I've spend my entire life exploring remote parts of southern Utah. I figured we could blast in, take some photos and then get out in one afternoon. Wrong! I underestimated distances and travel time. You don't go very fast when you are in 4-low.

We were in a Jeep Rubicon, stock, and found the Doll House road challenging. We thought twice before going down some obstacles. We were a little cautious because we were alone. Single vehicles are not recommended in The Maze. The area is so rugged, even experienced drivers with tough 4X4 s occasionally get in trouble and so it is wise to have a second vehicle in your party to help, or go for help.

You need a permit to stay overnight in the Canyonlands backcountry. We did not have a permit and so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get out. We did not want to go back up those obstacles in the dark.

We came in from the bottom, from Highway 95 near Hite on Lake Powell. The highway crosses two bridges, one over the Colorado and one over the Dirty Devil River, and the access road starts about half-way between those bridges.

We camped at Hite and did some fishing while in the area. That caused part of our troubles. I wanted to enjoy the early morning fishing before starting the jeep trip. But the fishing was better than expected, we caught a lot of striped bass, and it took longer than expected to fillet them. So, we were late getting started.

I used the Trails Illustrated Canyonlands Map as my main navigation tool. It is a good topo map that shows roads and features. But it does not extend west from the park to Hwy 95. I also had a Lake Powell map that shows the highway, and the turnoff, but it doesn't extend east to the park boundary. I figured there was just a short gap between the two maps. Wrong! The straight-line distance wasn't too far, but the road had to sweep north to skirt the top of two canyons and so the driving distance was far greater than I expected. It took us a good 2 hours to travel from Hwy 95 to the area where the Canyonlands map picks up.

If you are looking for a serious 4X4 challenge in a scenic area, The Maze is a great destination. I just hope you learn from my mistakes and go prepared. It is big country – bigger than many people can even imagine.

But it is fun, even if you don't reach a particular destination. Just go as far as you can, safely.

No I'm anxious to go back.

- Dave Webb

Friday, October 08, 2010

Come See "What's In the Basement"

The Utah Museum of Natural History has far more items than it can exhibit in its current building, so many items are stashed away in the basement. The museum and its supporters are working to raise funds for a bigger building that can display more treasures. Details.

Meanwhile, once a year the museum holds a “What's In the Basement” day, so people can see these items. Such an opportunity will happen this Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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

The museum’s mount shop will open its doors to show mock ups of the new “Utah Minerals” exhibit, a wall mounted with 50 fist-sized chunks of signature Utah minerals such as Park City pyrite, that have been hidden in collections for four decades. The specimens appear to float off the wall, said Will Clark, supervisor for exhibit services. Also mocked up are a series of 10 allosaurus femurs, the large bone of the upper leg, arranged in size from 10 to 36 inches. All were recovered from Utah’s famed Cleveland Lloyd quarry.

The museum has raised $86 million from private, federal and state sources, but a shortfall remains even as the building nears completion. The bond would go largely toward installing exhibits and other features with a public interface, said associate director Ann Hanniball.

More than 90 percent of the specimens to be displayed in the new museum come from stored collections, so most of the familiar exhibits, many on display since the museum opened in the historic Thomas Building in 1973, will be put away.

Saturday is the last “What’s in the Basement” in the old building before it closes Dec. 31, when the process of breaking down exhibits and moving begins. Officials hope to open the new museum next fall and the College of Science will renovate the Thomas building for its new headquarters.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Increase In OHV Use Prompts Trail Cooperation Project

The number of people riding off road vehicles in Utah is steadily increasing, prompting land managers to scramble to enact reasonable regulations to protect sensitive areas.

In Utah there has been a hot battle between OHV enthusiasts and environmentalists, with some people concerned that the machines cause extensive damage. Now a cooperative project involving many interest groups promises to improve OHV trails while also providing more environmental protections.

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

Fred Hayes, deputy director of the state Parks and Recreation Division said the explosive growth in off-roading has necessitated a trails management plan that will help stave off problems before they begin.

"It's growing so fast that if we don't manage a trail system like this we are going to flat leave a mess."

Involving nearly 28,000 acres on two tracts of SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration) lands, the project spearheaded by SITLA got under way 17 months ago and was designed to manage a 41 percent increase in trails created by off-highway vehicle users.

Some trails through sensitive areas were shut down, while improvements were made to others to complete a "loop" system for better access.

The school trust lands administration worked closely with multiple groups to get input on the project, including officials from San Juan and Grand counties, OHV organizations, and adjacent land owners such as the U.S. Forest Services and state Division of Wildlife Resources.

The plan restricts travel to designated routes in three categories: 4-wheel drive only, all-terrain vehicles or single-track use.

The kiosks will be placed at 10 key entrance points for routes, which can also be viewed on an interactive map at

At a time when the interests of trail users are often at odds with management of public lands in Utah, the pilot project has earned praise from OHV users.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

IPhone App Helps People Explore Utah Parks

This company has developed an application for the IPhone that provides portable information on state parks in Utah. They have similar apps for 9 other states. The app provides several ways to search for parks, including a list sorted by region, a map of all parks in the state, GPS location detection to locate parks close to the user, and a search option to search for parks based on specific keywords.

Each park has a description, activities, directions, hours, contact information, current weather, fees, a bulletin board for user comments, and even photo submission directly from your iPhone or iPod touch.

Here's a blip from the developer's website:

“Utah has 43 beautiful state parks that offer opportunities for fun and learning for individuals or families. We invite you to visit your favorite state park or choose one you haven't visited before. There is something for everyone including boating, golfing, camping, hiking, exploring, ATV riding, canoeing, taking photographs, and enjoying the natural beauty of red rock canyons or vast sand covered hills. Take time to get outside and experience the heritage, scenic and recreational state parks that exist for your enjoyment. Learn about the state's rich natural, cultural and historic treasures.”

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Beat the Heat in Utah's Desert

Summer-like temperatures lingered long in Utah this year. Just last week, temperatures in the St George/Zion Park area were pushing into the upper 90s F. But that changed over the weekend and we are now enjoying a distinctive fall weather pattern. It is perfect – still warm but not oppressively hot.

The Denver Post noticed the change. It has this article about fall hiking and recreation. Below are excerpts.

It's cool now to enjoy canyon country

The good news, as anyone who has savored the desert's autumn splendor can attest, is October marks the annual grand reopening of canyon country. The oppressive reign of the flaming globe has ended, its intense grip across the black void of 93 million miles softened by the angles of the Earth.

As temperatures creep back below the 80-degree mark, the season to beat the heat in the desert southwest is upon us. Hikes that formerly sucked the salt through your skin in a mile or less are once again back on the menu.

The mountain biking that made Moab so famous is available at almost any hour of the day. Meanwhile, what water there is remains warm enough to swim in on a sunny afternoon.

Among the coolest — literally and figuratively — is the (Zion Park) Narrows hike up the North Fork of the Virgin River. With soaring walls, sandstone grottos, natural springs and hanging gardens, the 16-mile hike within a canyon up to 2,000 feet deep and at times only 20 feet wide is an unforgettable experience.

For do-it-yourself river runners or first-timers with friends in the know, Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River is a dream destination. Sandwiched between Colorado's quiet western border and the bustle of Moab, Westwater qualifies as one of the truly classic intermediate whitewater rafting runs in the West.

Spectacular scenery, quality side hikes and playful whitewater combine to create an idyllic 17-mile canyon cruise with enough variety to keep almost any boater entertained all year long.
It's autumn when Westwater truly shines. The water remains reasonably warm and commercial operations all but cease, releasing multiple launch permits to the paying public interested in a paddling trip.

Over the course of 16 years, the 24 Hours of Moab mountain bike race has had an impact on the sport like no other. Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the annual event includes a homegrown city of more than 4,000 racers, support crews and spectators that pop out of the desert south of town.

The 15-mile Behind-the-Rocks race course isn't the best riding in the area, but it offers some gnarly downhill and 1,360 vertical feet of climbing on every lap.

Perhaps best of all for those not interested in rubbing elbows with the racing crowd, the race pulls plenty of riders away from the Moab classics like Slickrock Trail and the Porcupine Rim. Just don't be surprised if you can't find a table at the brew pub after your ride.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Antelope Island Bison Roundup

The annual bison roundup will be held Oct 29-30 at Antelope Island State Park. The roundup has become a popular event because it gives members of the public a chance to see bison up close. The park provided the information below.

The 'Wild West' returns to Antelope Island State Park! Join us for the 24th Annual Bison Roundup, Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30, 2010. Volunteer wranglers will saddle-up and move the park's herd of 600 free-roaming bison from the southern tip of the Island to the bison corrals on the northern end of the island.

All events are open to the public. Park visitors are welcome to come out and watch as we bring in the herd. See these wild bison up close as they rest comfortably in our bison corrals.

Then, on November 5 and 6, watch as veterinarians and state park personnel weigh, vaccinate and conduct various health tests on each bison to determine the herd's health. In order to keep the herd at a healthy number that the island can sustain, approximately 200 bison will be sold at a public auction on November 13, 2010.

Money generated by the sale of these bison goes into the wildlife management program for operating costs, habitat improvement projects, research and data collection, and infrastructure development of the bison corrals.

General Park Information:
Directions: From I-15 take exit 332. Proceed west on Antelope Drive to the entrance gate (approx. 7 miles).
Park Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Entrance Fee: $9 per vehicle, up to eight people.
Camping Fee at the Ranch: $15 per night (available only during Roundup)

History of the Antelope Island Bison Herd
Twelve bison, 4 bulls (males), 4 cows (females) and 4 calves were taken by boat to the island on February 15, 1893 by William Glassman and John Dooly. These twelve animals provided the foundation for what has grown into one of the largest and oldest publicly owned bison herds in the nation.

Who's who?
All bison have three identification tags; a microchip, a metal tag and a plastic tag. The Microchip is encased in a yellow button and is implanted behind the bison's right ear. A scanner can then be passed over the microchip and the animal's history is displayed on a computer; including vaccinations, blood type and weight. New information can then be added to the bison's permanent record. The metal tag is placed in the bison's ear and identifies that the animal originally came from Utah; this is required in order to transport animals off the Island. The plastic tag, called a Temple Tag (named after the tags manufacturer), simply tells the animal's blood type.

Interesting facts about these bison:
  • Birth weight: 25-40 pounds
  • Average cow (female) weight: 700 to 900 pounds
  • Average bull (male) weight: 1400 to 1600 pounds
  • The largest bison we've weighed was 2,100 pounds
  • Bison can run up to 40 miles per hour!
  • Friday, October 01, 2010

    Deer Valley Resort Ranked #1 For Fourth Year In A Row

    Utah ski resorts continue to rack up honors. In the latest, announced yesterday, Deer Valley Resort was named the top resort in North America by the readers of Ski Magazine, for an unprecedented 4th year in a row. The Park Record newspaper has this article about the ranking. Below are excerpts.

    For the fourth year in a row, 20,000 readers of SKI Magazine have selected Deer Valley Resort as the No. 1 resort in North America.

    The results of the closely watched survey were announced Thursday night, said Jessica Kunzer, spokesperson for Ski Utah.

    No other resort has topped the rankings four years in a row.

    "It's quite an honor pretty darn incredible," said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager.

    It also marks 10 years Deer Valley finished in the top three.

    In the subcategories, the resort finished first in grooming, guest service, dining and lodging, and second place in lifts, weather and family programs.

    "All the people on staff made this happen every day," he said. "It's something we can't let off the gas on one little bit. Yesterday's accomplishments are just that."

    Wheaton said he credits peer mentoring for the high level of service his employees provide guests.

    "If you're in a position to provide an elevated level of service, and are provided the tools to do that, the response you get back from guests is very positive and reinforces what you're doing," he said.

    Park City Mountain Resort was ranked No. 5 overall and has been in the top five for six of the past seven years. It was in the top 10 for nine subcategories.
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