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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, May 13, 2011

Road Trip To Build Support For Utah State Parks

Six people are making an epic trip to visit all 43 Utah state parks within a 3-day period, to encourage public and governmental support for the facilities.

Earlier this year, Utah legislators considered closing some parks because of a project budget shortfall. Instead, they decided to keep all parks open but elected to cut funding. Organizers hope this trip will help draw attention to the parks, the resources they provide, and encourage support.

KSL has this article about the trip. KSL Radio personality Tim Hughes in on the trip and he plans to do his Saturday morning KSL Outdoors show from one of the parks. The group will also post blogs and videos about the trip, which can be seen on this website.

Below are excerpts from the news article.

Taking off from Antelope Island and winding throughout the state, the trip is intended to build awareness and support for Utah's struggling parks system, and will be thoroughly documented with photos, videos and blogs posted to the group's website. All this will happen over a grueling but daring three days, requiring travel throughout the night. They'll visit some parks, such as Red Fleet, as late as 4:30 a.m.

Earlier this year, the Utah Parks and Recreation Division lost a staggering 59 percent of its ongoing funds for 2011-12 due to budget cuts imposed by lawmakers that amount to $2.8 million. As a result, the trip is now not only about fun, but also about preserving the parks' existence.

"With the announcements of the budget cuts at the state parks, [the trip] took on a whole new meaning," Barbara Riddle said. "People need to remember the state parks that they have in their community and their state."

She (State Parks Director Mary Tullius) also said that the road trip could not have come at a better time and hopes it will help people know how much there is to do on public lands. She is also making sure that there is a supporter of the parks system to greet the road-trippers at every stop, regardless of the time of day, to help keep the adventurers going given their grueling schedule.

They'll also have their "passport" stamped at every stop. The latest parks field guide has a passport style format which allows visitors to keep track of every place they have visited.

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