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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exploring The Salt Flats And Pony Express Trail

I drew the assignment to shoot photos in Wendover over the weekend and I arranged my schedule so I could spend some time exploring the area. I drove I-80 west from Salt Lake City, shot my photos and poked around Wendover, then returned via the old Pony Express Trail. It was a fun trip.

I've explored the area before, years ago, and it was interesting to see how things are changing over time. Wendover is bigger - has more large casinos - than when I last visited. I don't gamble and so I don't spend much time in casinos, but I occasionally drop in for lunch or dinner. I've found that many casinos offer very good restaurants with affordable prices - obviously intended to keep people inside longer. Anyway, I enjoyed a great lunch.

The Salt Flats were a highlight on my trip. There is a small rest stop along I-80 about 10 miles east of Wendover and it provides excellent views of one of the most scenic spots on the Flats. In this area the Flats are perfectly flat, and are covered with a thick crust of salty soil. It literally looks like a huge frozen lake covered by a skiff of snow.

Lots of people were stopped at the rest area and most were angling cameras so they could get photos of themselves with the Salt Flats in the background. I obliged a few people by using their cameras to shoot photos of their groups, and then also shot a few with my own camera. Hence the family shown above.

It was interesting to hear comments as people gazed out over the salt. "Incredible. Never seen anything like this, anywhere..." The Salt Flats are unique, and beautiful in a stark, desolate sort of way.

I also stopped at The Knolls Recreation Area, where ATVs and dirt bikes can drive all over sand dunes. The area was nice, nicer than I remembered. It has also become popular. There were quite a number of groups camping and playing there. The area is located along I-80, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. It is a BLM recreation area and a fee is required.

After completing my work in Wendover, I dropped south and then drove home along the gravel road that follows the historic Pony Express Trail. That is a long, scenic, interesting drive. Long meaning it took me about 4 hours to drive the 120 miles of gravel - which was longer than I remembered. I did stop briefly in a couple spots to hike and explore.

Along the route you can see foundations and relics from old Pony Express stations. The road is washboardy. I was in my 4X4 Blazer, but I didn't see any spots where a family car would have difficulty driving the route. That could change during storms. In heavy rain, portions of the gravel road could wash out.

The sun was setting as I drove east from Fish Springs, dust billowing up behind me. The surrounding desert took on a golden hue and, in the fading light, I could almost see young riders galloping down the trail, dashing headlong into history.

It was a fun drive.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colorado Office Of Tourism Mistakenly Features Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch - one of Utah's most famous icons - is featured prominently in a video promoting Colorado. The Salt Lake Tribune has this tidbit about the mistake (scroll down the page):

Not in Colorado » The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media sponsored a film competition recently using the theme, “We Love Colorado.” The winning video was promised a $1,500 award and a spot on the main page of

First place went to a video titled “Colorado: The Musical,” by Don-John Kullish. It features Kullish and a woman singing about Colorado while showing scenic spots, historic places and other interesting tidbits about the state.

About 90 seconds into the video, it shows a group of people sitting at a famous landmark while the song tells of a great place to hang out with friends.

The landmark is Delicate Arch.

In Utah.

The Denver Post his this response:

The video was chosen among a couple dozen submitted in a contest to the state Office of Film, Television & Media, said Donald Zuckerman, the office’s director. Winners took home $1,500.

The story was first reported in this morning’s Salt Lake Tribune.

Zuckerman admitted the bad, saying he just moved to Colorado from Los Angeles and didn’t notice the mistake when he was judging the videos.

“We don’t have the manpower to check every fact and every new thing,” Zuckerman said. “What struck me about the video is that it was funny and fun and cute and that it may appeal to the general public … In the future we’ll try to set up some rules that maybe protect us from a situation where there is that kind of mistake.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Canada Free Press Focuses On Capitol Reef National Park

Writing for the Canada Free Press, John Treadwell Dunbar says Capitol Reef National Park deserves special recognition, even when compared with Utah's other spectacular parks.

Below are excerpts from his article. Incidentally, the piece includes stunning photographs of the park.

Among southern Utah’s five magnificent national parks, Capitol Reef deserves special acclaim because it’s less crowded, less commercial, holds bragging rights to red-rock scenery rivaling that of Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands or Zion, and in a day when admission fees are skyrocketing to preposterous levels, except for the official ten-mile “Scenic Drive” it’s the only national park in southern Utah that’s free, for the time being.

Rugged beyond belief and to its credit, remote, this 378-square-mile park is a long, narrow strip of stunning geology, a classic monocline, a 100-mile-long stepped-up wrinkle called the “Waterpocket Fold,” or upthrust, that stretches from the Thousand Lake Plateau north of tiny Torrey, south to the still waters of the Colorado River known today as Lake Powell by most, and Lake Foul by those who continue to mourn Glen Canyon’s senseless inundation.

... Capitol Reef National Park is a towering temple of the earth’s eroding crust, a delectable banquet of out-of-this-world scenery that will steal your breath, weaken your grip on reality and put you in your proper place if you’re not there already.

Wallace Stegner, one of America’s finest authors, referred to the Fruita valley as, “... a sudden intensely green little valley among the cliffs of the Waterpocket Fold, opulent with cherries, peaches, and apples in season, inhabited by a few families who were about equally good Mormons and good frontiersmen and good farmers.”

Evidence of their simple ways can be found at the renovated Gifford farmhouse, smokehouse and barn, a homestead originally built in 1908 by Calvin Pendelton who was a happy but exhausted polygamist back in the days when nightly attendance to multiple wives was a delicate time-honored tradition among essentially decent God-fearing people who leaned a bit too heavily on the Old Testament.

Torrey, nearest the park, is shaded by massive cottonwoods along Main Street and is quietly laboring toward “hipness.” Catering to the park’s visitors and mountain recreationists, and the autumn hunting crowd, it offers lodging, dining, shopping and the arts, but in small doses. It’s very quaint and very quiet, and if I were an artist, a painter, perhaps, I’d live here and ply my craft and help turn this secluded Utah gem into an art colony extraordinaire. With Capitol Reef National Park as a backdrop you’ll never lack for inspiration.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Can Help Out On National Public Lands Day

Service projects and other events will be held around the US on September 24, which is National Public Lands Day. Check at visitor centers and ranger desks at parks where you may want to volunteer. Also watch for announcements on park websites and media sites.

Volunteers are being recruited for an extensive project at Antelope Island State Park. The details below are taken from an announcement published by City Weekly.

Antelope Island State Park Service Project

September 24th is Celebrate National Public Lands Day, and to honor this event, Utah State Parks and other volunteers will team up for an enhancement project at Fielding Garr Ranch House Complex on Antelope Island. Volunteers will help from 10-1 pm. Trimming trees & shrubs, raking leaves, removing weeds, prepping & painting sign posts, structures, etc., sprucing up the barn (no animal messes to clean), will be some of the work included.

Forty volunteers, 12 yrs & older are needed for this project. Bring work gloves, water, snacks & other personal items. Please dress appropriately for weather conditions; including layering. All tools will be provided. Working volunteers will receive a FREE service T-shirt (while supplies last) & a light lunch after the project.

Pre-registration is required by emailing

Fielding Garr built the ranch house in 1848. Other buildings; bunk house, creamery, barn & other out buildings were constructed shortly afterwards. Garr Ranch House is distinctive as the oldest continually inhabited Anglo home in the state of Utah (from 1848 to 1981 when the island became a state park). Additionally it’s the oldest Anglo built house in Utah still on its original foundation.

Public land is a government function that exists to make Utah the unique and special place it is. Please help to continue protecting our country’s natural assets.

Time: 10 am
Phone: 801-773-2941
Address: 4528 West 1700 South, Syracuse, 84075
Where: Antelope Island State Park

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Antelope Island: The Gem of the Utah Parks System

One of Utah's most popular state parks is located on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. It is popular for several reasons: it is very scenic, has incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, has great camping and picnic facilities, and it is just a short drive from Salt Lake City.

Oh, and it offers the chance to swim in the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this interesting article about Antelope Island. (Our title comes from the article headline.) Below are excerpts.

Asked what he thought of his trip to Antelope Island, the pre-teen (Chase Lovendahl) contemplated for a minute and said, “it is kind of like Yellowstone and kind of like the ocean.”

Like Yellowstone in that bison jams are not uncommon on the east side of the island. Those with sharp eyes may also notice pronghorn — also known as antelope — mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyote, hawks, owls, birds and a million or so shorebirds.

Like the ocean in that the Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi, was mistaken by early explorers as the Pacific Ocean. And sunsets on the Great Salt Lake can easily be compared to those on the West Coast of the United States.

“Everybody wants to float in the Great Salt Lake, and Antelope Island is the best place to experience everything the lake offers,” said (Neka) Roundy, with Davis County Community and Economic Development. “And the sunsets just melt into the water.”

A French couple snapping pictures of the husband head-butting the white bison at the visitors center said Antelope Island was an important part of planning their trip to the American West.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Everett Ruess And The Escalante Canyons Art Festival

Everett Ruess Days and the Escalante Canyons Working Art Festival will be held September 17-22, in the town of Escalante. See the festival website for comprehensive information about the event.

Ruess has come to be regarded as an important Western artist and adventurer. In November 1934, at age 20, he disappeared while exploring rugged canyon country in the Escalante area, and was never seen again. His remarkable sketches and prose show he had a deep love for wild country, and an extraordinary sensitivity for nature. His legend continues to expand over time.

Two new books are out with interesting viewpoints about the Ruess mythology. Andrew Hunt describes them in this review, published in The Vancouver Sun. Below are excerpts.

By the time Ruess disappeared, he was a veteran explorer, having spent four years' worth of summers hiking on one-man journeys through some of the most sparsely inhabited regions of the American West. These Depression era odysseys prompted him to write letters to his bohemian Unitarian family in Los Angeles, filled with extensive descriptions of the landscape he so loved. Those letters, along with his vivid poems and striking drawings, watercolours and block prints of western scenes, formed the basis of his legend.

David Roberts, an outdoor journalist and author, won fame when he wrote an article for the now defunct National Geographic Adventure (for which he was a consulting editor) about the discovery of a skeleton in 2008 believed to be Ruess...

Roberts' new book (FINDING EVERETT RUESS: THE LIFE AND UNSOLVED DISAPPEARANCE OF A LEGENDARY WILDERNESS EXPLORER) combines Ruess biography with a memoir of the author's Ruess obsession. He walks readers through the Ruess skeleton fiasco with detailed explanations about DNA tests, dental analyses and Ruess family politics.

Philip L. Fradkin's Everett Ruess (EVERETT RUESS: HIS SHORT LIFE, MYSTERIOUS DEATH AND ASTONISHING AFTERLIFE) is more scholarly than Roberts' anecdotal book. Fradkin tries harder than Roberts to sift through the legends to get to the heart of the genuine person. "I found the real Ruess to be far more interesting than the mythic one," he writes." I don't know in what manner he would have matured, but I do know he was exasperating at times. This quality alone made him more human and interesting, at least for me, than the patron saint of western wilderness, as he has been portrayed."

Ultimately, both tell a gripping tale of a young man consumed by the nature he so desperately loved. It is reassuring to see that, close to 80 years after disappearing, Everett Ruess is finally being taken seriously as a significant figure in the history of the American West.

Monday, August 22, 2011

39th Oktoberfest Begins At Snowbird

The annual Oktoberfest celebration is now underway at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. It will run Saturdays and Sundays (plus Labor Day) through October 9.

Here's a summary from the Snowbird website:

Oktoberfest Halle located in the Snowbird Event tent is chock full of music, dancing and traditional German cuisine. Enjoy a bratwurst and sauerkraut and apfelstrudel and more.

Kids young and old can enjoy face painting, caricature artist, inflatable rides, the world champion YO-YO MAN, a zany clown, music, balloons and more!

Vendors from around the region peddle their wares. You will find many unique gifts. Shop early for the Holidays. Located at the entrance.

Oktoberfest Halle Band Schedule
(Each band plays three sets per day between noon and 6 p.m)

August 20-21
Salzburger Echo, Heidelberg Express

August 27-28
Salzburger Echo, Europa

September 3-5
Salzburger Echo, B & B All Stars
Grand Oktoberfest Keg Tapping
2:10 in the Oktoberfest Halle

September 10-11
Salzburger Echo, Polkatonics

September 17-18
Polkatonics, B & B All Stars

September 24-25
Salzburger Echo, Alpenfolk

October 1-2
Polkatonics, B & B All Stars

October 8
Heidelberg Express, Polkatonics

October 9
Salzburger Echo, Heidelberg Express

Friday, August 19, 2011

Miller Motorsports Park Attracts Top Racers, Novice Drivers

The Miller Motorsports Park is recognized as one of the top road racing facilities in the world and it hosts several of the world’s most significant racing series events. Almost every week there are important race events, where world-class athletes pound the straightaway at nearly 200 MPH.

But the track is also open for amateur racers. People can use their own cars and challenge the speedway, just for the thrill of going fast. They can also rent high performance race cars. In addition, the facility offers professional coaching for wannabee drivers. The facility is located near Tooele, west of Salt Lake City, and has worked hard to be a good neighbor and community resource.

See the park website for more information.

The next big race will take place over Labor Day weekend, when the park hosts Bike Fest 2011. has this report on upcoming race events. Here's what it has to say about Bike Fest.

MMP is busy making plans for Labor Day weekend, September 3-4, when the facility will host Bike Fest 2011. This weekend will give fans a chance to enjoy the past, present and future of motorcycle racing. The past is represented by the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association's Bonneville Vintage Grand Prix, featuring bikes ranging from the 1940s (and, in some cases, older) to the 1980s. MMP's own Masters of the Mountains series, organized by the Utah Sport Bike Association, represents the state of the art in contemporary sport bike racing. Representing what may well be the future of two-wheel tech is the TTXGP series, the world's premier electric motorcycle championship, making its first appearance at MMP. The development of electric motorcycles - particularly electric racing motorcycles - is in its infancy, and we are thrilled to be able to be a part of the growth of this exciting technology.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Green River In Browns Park Called 'National Treasure'

The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is a famous blue-ribbon trout stream, offering consistently good fishing.

The "A" section of the river is the most popular. It runs for 7.5 miles, from the Dam to Little Hole. The "B" section receives less pressure but also offers very good action. It extends from Little Hole down into Browns Park.

The "C" section, in Browns Park, has fewer fish per mile and so it attracts considerably less attention. But studies suggest this lower section offers the biggest fish.

Writing for the Denver Post, Scott Willoughby calls the river in Browns Park "one of last vestiges of the American West." He defends that assertion in this article. Below are excerpts.

"The brown trout is probably my favorite fish," said John St. John, a fishing-boat builder from Steamboat Springs-based Hog Island Boat Works. "Those overachieving rainbows like pushing up to the top of the 'A' section and upper 'B' to fin against the riffles. But the browns can be anywhere. They're prowlers, predators, and you can see it in their size down here."

Although some might consider the less densely populated "B" section below Little Hole a better fishery, its 9-mile run contains Red Creek, as well as the marginally technical Red Creek Rapids, which can put off both fish and fishermen because of diminished water clarity. When it's in, however, the increasingly intermittent trout typically turn from crimson to amber and gnash at oversized lures with unbridled belligerence.

The section also features stellar camping for overnighters, with scenic campsites nestled beneath massive ponderosa pines overlooking the emerald water of the river.

"It really is surreal," St. John said. "This canyon and scenery, and the green water is so clear you can see the fish.

Beyond the fishing, the diversity of wildlife that includes dozens of bird species, moose, elk and a recent wolf sighting joins a rich history that predates Baptiste Brown and includes Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch as well as the 1869 voyage of Major John Wesley Powell to establish Browns Parks as one of the last true vestiges of the American West.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photos From Bonneville Speed Week

Speed Week underway on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, located west of Salt Lake City. It runs through Aug 19.

We should have sent a photographer to the event. The cars, drivers and spectators are always colorful, as crews attempt to set new land speed records in various categories. And this year the photo opportunities seem particular good, judging from images now showing up in publications around the world.

The British Daily Mail has this impressive photo spread, and also a good writeup. Here's one quote:

Five hundred-plus teams kickstarted the annual event on the Bonneville Salt Flats on Saturday, screaming down the straighaways at speeds so high parachutes needed to be deployed to slow them down.

At the bottom, a commenter has posted: "I want to live near Bonneville."

Well, I do live near Bonneville, and I guess I've grown to take it for granted. I've been there, done that, so I didn't think to go out and get new photos. Now I wish I would have.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bryce Canyon Open House Will Consider Transportation Options

Officials at Bryce Canyon are considering ways to deal with the growing amount of traffic in the national park. They are seeking input from the general public, and have scheduled on open house to allow people to make suggestions.

The open house will be held on Thursday, August 18, from 6:00-7:00 pm in the park Visitor Center.

Below is text from a news release issued by the park.

Bryce Canyon National Park to Host a Public/Partner Open House to Kick-off a Multi-modal Transportation Plan

Bryce Canyon National Park – The National Park Service is beginning work on the Bryce Canyon National Park Multi-modal Transportation Plan. This plan will help guide park managers on how to:
  • Reduce traffic congestion and parking shortages within Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Increase safety for visitors and staff
  • Mitigate or remove impacts to the park’s resources
  • Improve visitor experience and way-finding
  • Refine transit operations
  • Improve the efficiency of park operations
Early in the planning process, the National Park Service would like to hear from members of the public and key stakeholders. Suggestions from the public will help the park understand existing
problems and will help shape the range of solutions that the plan will explore.

The park is hosting a Public/Partner Open House on Thursday, August 18th from 6:00-7:00 pm inside the park in the Colorado Plateau Room (Conference Room D) on the 4th level of the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, located across from the park’s entrance station. Please inform the ranger at the entrance station and the visitor center you are here to attend the open house.

In 2000, Bryce Canyon National Park launched an alternative transportation system to address congestion within the park and the adjacent community of Bryce Canyon City, to improve visitor experience, and to minimize impacts to park resources from transportation infrastructure. With increasing visitation over the past decade, the transit system is now at or near full capacity during peak visitation periods. An updated and integrated transportation plan will help the park manage this congestion, reduce the need for additional parking, and guide park operations for the next 20 years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Did Butch Cassidy Survive Shootout In Bolivia

Butch Cassidy, the infamous train and bank robber, was born and raised in Utah, and spent many years hiding from the law in remote canyons in Utah's backcountry.

He is somewhat of a folk here to some, and there has long been speculation that he did not die in Bolivia, as portrayed in the classic movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Some Utah old timers believe Butch contacted members of his family long after he was reportedly killed.

Now, a newly discovered old manuscript gives energy to that theory. The Washington Post has this article about the theory. Below are excerpts.

A rare books collector says he has obtained a manuscript with new evidence that Butch Cassidy wasn’t killed in a 1908 shootout in Bolivia but returned to the U.S. and lived peaceably in Washington state for almost three decades.

Utah book collector Brent Ashworth and Montana author Larry Pointer say the text contains the best evidence yet — with details only Cassidy could have known — that “Bandit Invincible” was not biography but autobiography, and that Phillips himself was the legendary outlaw.

The author of “Bandit Invincible” claims to have known Cassidy since boyhood and never met “a more courageous and kinder hearted man.”

He acknowledges changing people and place names. But some descriptions fit details of Cassidy’s life too neatly to have come from anyone else, said Ashworth, owner of B. Ashworth’s Rare Books and Collectibles in Provo...

“Total horse pucky,” said Cassidy historian Dan Buck. “It doesn’t bear a great deal of relationship to Butch Cassidy’s real life, or Butch Cassidy’s life as we know it.”

Read the article for more details.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Western Legends Roundup Runs Aug 18-20

Experience the Old West "the way it was."

That's the theme for the Western Legends Roundup, which will be held Aug 18-20 in Kanab. The Roundup offers a wide assortment of genuine Old West activities including stars from classic Western movies, music, cowboy poetry, food, dancing, gun fights, horse showmanship, games, crafts and other activities.

Kanab is known as Utah's "Little Hollywood" because it has been used as the setting for countless movies and TV shows. Relics from old movie sets can still be seen in the area. The town features a "Walk of Fame," where the great and near great who made memorable movies in Kanab are immortalized.

Entertainment headliners include
  • Roy Rogers Jr. & Dustin Rogers
  • Hired Guns - In Cahoots
Notable stars participating this year include:
  • Clint Walker
  • James Drury
  • Neil Summers
  • Ed Faulkner
  • Wyatt McCrea
  • Paul Peterson
  • Peter Ford
  • James Hampton
  • Kathy Garver
See the Roundup website for complete information.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Expect Traffic Delays On I-80 Near Park City

Road construction projects will cause traffic delays on I-80 at Parley's Summit during the next two weekends.

New bridges are being put in place at the summit, which is located near Park City, east of Salt Lake City. The bridges are built off-site and then moved over the freeway, in an innovative program that allows crews to complete major road construction projects with minimal impact on traffic.

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

I-80 eastbound will be closed from Saturday at 10 p.m. to Sunday at noon.

Only local traffic will be allowed through using the on- and off-ramps. UDOT's Tania Washburn says drivers should expect up to one hour delays in the area.

The westbound bridge is scheduled to move Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. through Aug. 21 at noon. I-80 will be reduced to two lanes starting Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. and will be closed overnight as crews move the bridge into place overnight.

The work is part of the Renovate I-80 project from Salt Lake City to Wyoming. UDOT crews are replacing bridges, improving road surfaces, adding climbing lanes and installing safety barriers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Volunteers Needed For C.A.S.T. Fishing Event At Strawberry

Disabled and disadvantaged kids from Utah will have the chance to fish with experienced anglers at Strawberry Reservoir on Saturday, as part of the Catch a Special Thrill program.

At this writing, volunteers are still needed to help with the event, which will begin at 6:30 am at Soldier Creek Marina.

The Bureau of Reclamation is hosting the event. Below is text from its news release.

Kids Gear Up for a 'Reel' Good Time at the Annual C.A.S.T. for Kids Fishing Event at Strawberry Reservoir

Over 40 children and their families are gearing up for the 15th annual Catch a Special Thrill fishing event for kids in Utah to be held at Strawberry Reservoir on Saturday, August 13, hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region, and as part of the "Let's Move Outside" program.
This year, over 33 sponsors and participating organizations along with over 90 volunteers will support this event which provides disabled and disadvantaged children between the ages of 7 - 16 the opportunity to enjoy a day of boating and fishing. Local volunteers provide the use of their fishing boats and expertise to give the kids a day they will remember for a lifetime.

Reclamation first became involved with the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation in 1991, when it was initially formed. The success of the first event at Banks Lake in eastern Washington for both the participating children and the community, resulted in a rapid expansion of supporting/sponsoring agencies and an increase in the number of events offered. In 2011, 48 events will be held in 18 states across the nation, including one in Washington, DC.

Reclamation has remained a C.A.S.T. sponsor since 1991 with all five of its regions hosting events throughout the 17 Western states each year. C.A.S.T for Kids provides an opportunity for children with disabilities and their families as well as disadvantaged children and their parents/caretakers to spend a day on the water with volunteer anglers learning to fish. The C.A.S.T. Foundation's goal is to provide this experience for children who might otherwise never have the opportunity, while simultaneously providing the opportunity for volunteers to gain a new appreciation for people living with impairments, or in less than ideal situations.

The success of C.A.S.T. for Kids fishing events is made possible thanks to the continued support of the many sponsors, partner organizations and volunteers who donate significant time, money, equipment, and supplies to make the event a day to remember for the kids.

The Strawberry fishing event will begin in the morning at 7:30 a.m. Participants should arrive early so they can check-in and receive their fishing gear and be partnered with an angler and boat. After a couple of hours on the water, a lunch will be provided by the Weber Basin Job Corps Center followed by an awards ceremony.

Additional fishing boats are still needed for this event to accommodate all of the participants. If you wish to volunteer the use of a boat and your time to support this event, please contact Valerie Heath-Harrison at 801-524-3664. For more information on C.A.S.T. for Kids

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More Public Transit Options Available In Salt Lake City

Public transportation options were expanded in Salt Lake City over the weekend, with the opening of 2 new TRAX light rail lines.

As the new lines were placed into service, other lines and some bus routes were modified. As a result, people using public transportation need to become familiar with the new options. The UTA website has detailed information about routes, policies and prices.

Various news reports have been published about the expansion. This Deseret News article provides a good summary. Below are excerpts.

The original TRAX line that opened Dec. 3, 1999, ran 15.1 miles from the Sandy Civic Center to the then-Delta Center. The new Mid-Jordan line runs 10.6 miles from the Fashion Place station to the Daybreak development in South Jordan. And the new West Valley line runs an additional 5.1 miles, totaling 15.7, according to the UTA.

UTA is projecting 14,000 weekday riders on the two lines at opening, to add to its 44,000 daily average now.

UTA is not only nearly doubling its track miles, Carpenter noted. But with three lines now running trains every 15 minutes on weekdays (every 20 on weekends), a new train from one of the three lines will arrive at some stations every two to three minutes.

KSL has this report about public reaction to the expansion. Below are excerpts.

The Mid-Jordan and West Valley TRAX line are now open, but some people need a little extra help navigating the new system. With the new line changes, several commuters have had to change their routes and switch trains, which have added to their commute time.

With Monday being the first business day for commuters to utilize the new system, there have already been mixed reactions from the people about the new changes.

Monday, August 08, 2011

At Lake Powell, I Like Hite

Lake Powell enthusiasts are enjoying a great boating season. The lake level is up about 50 feet over last year's numbers, and so virtually all features on the lake are accessible. And the weather is cooperating, giving us the hot, dry days water sport enthusiasts crave.

I'm just back from a long weekend at the lake. We had a great time boating, swimming, camping and fishing.

We choose to camp at Hite and boat down-lake to play and fish. That proved to be an excellent choice. Since the water level is up, the Hite boat ramp is usable and can even accommodate larger boats. And the best thing is there are no lines at the ramp. On a busy summer weekend, one would expect to wait in line 30 minutes or more before being able to launch at Bullfrog or Wahweap, but at Hite you just show up and launch - no delay.

Boat traffic can be very heavy around the major marinas, but is never heavy in the Hite area. A boat comes by now and then, but there is never enough traffic to cause chop in the channel or bays. The experience is much more tranquil.

At Hite you are allowed to camp right on the beach, and there are plenty of coves where you can get away from your neighbors. Hite is one of the few places on the lake where you can drive to the water's edge and then camp there. There is also a designated campground not far from the water. We camped in the campground, all by ourselves.

The upper lake consistently offers some of the best fishing at Lake Powell, and Hite provides the easiest access to popular spots like Good Hope Bay and "Striper City."

There is a gas station/convenience store at Hite, but no on-water services. No boat rentals or on-water boat fuel.

During spring and early summer, the water around Hite can be quite muddy and there is a lot of floating debris washed in by the Colorado River. The water quality improves after runoff ends and summer progresses. During our visit the water at Hite was a little murky but not bad. We boated down-lake and found clear water just a short distance away.

And the scenery? In my opinion, Lake Powell is beautiful along its entire lake. On the upper lake you don't have the sheer sandstone cliffs and sandy beaches, but the scenery is still spectacular.

For scenery alone, my favorite area is the lower lake around Padre and Rock Creek bays. But for total experience, I choose uncrowded conditions and good fishing.

At Powell, Hite is my favorite marina.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Profile: Wasatch Mountain State Park

Wasatch Mountain State Park is the most popular state park in Utah, and for good reason. It is a four-season playground in a beautiful mountain setting, not far from Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article describing the park. Below we give the article headline and then excerpts.

Wasatch Mountain: Utah’s most visited state park

Combine rounds of golf played at Soldier Hollow and Wasatch Mountain’s 72 holes of golf, camping, hiking, off-highway vehicle riding, cross country skiing, fishing, picnicking and snowmobiling and the park on the Wasatch back hosts over 360,000 visitors a year.

Its golf courses are recognized locally and nationally as some of the best public facilities in the country.

Though the aging campground’s spots are often too small and lack the needed amenities for modern recreation vehicles and many of its picnic tables and roads look worn out, spots fill quickly during the summer.

A mix of locals and out-of-state tourists flock to the park, generating close to $16 million a year for the local economy.

An emphasis on running state parks more like a business than a public park facility after a January legislative performance audit has changed the way park managers such as (Bruce) Strom look at spending slim resources.

“Trails don’t make money,” he said. “We have to focus on things that make money like golf, camping and new group sites, not putting money into trails. That is not well spent. That is not my job. We had a trail planned from the campground to the clubhouse, but that’s a money pit. Our mission has changed. Instead of providing services the public doesn’t have to pay for, it’s how do I make money? If it’s not revenue attached, we are not going to look at doing that.”

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Hollywood Western Backdrops Come Alive In Kanab

Kanab has long been known as a cowboy town, and the surrounding area has served as the location for countless TV shows and Holloywood movies. It is also a gateway to some of our most popular national parks and recreation areas.

The title of this post comes from this Las Vegas Review Journal article, which extols the attractions found the in the area. Below are excerpts.

Kanab is a town of fewer than 4,000 souls, but they live in spectacular surroundings. Within a 90-minute drive from Kanab, Utah, you can stand on the Grand Canyon's North Rim, hike the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, hit the trails at Zion National Park, squeeze into a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or shove off onto the waters of Lake Powell.

This is the western section of the 1.9 million-acre (Grand Staircase-Escalante National) monument, a not-yet-well-known preserve of some of Utah's most stunning scenery. We spent the rest of our day and early evening making a big back-road loop, up the 34-mile Skutumpah Road, down the 46-mile Cottonwood Road and back to Highway 89, returning to Kanab 32 miles later.

After miles of twisting roads and some shallow stream crossings, we stopped at Bull Valley Gorge. This is a wonderful, corkscrew slot canyon that you can hike through; it takes some technical climbing skills to explore it down and back but simply walking along the rim and looking into its depths is worth the trip. Even that isn't for a person seriously scared of heights or unsteady on the feet, for a stumble here could be your last mistake.

Kanab was once a cattle town, but Hollywood has been dropping in since the 1920s. Set at the base of the colorful Vermilion Cliffs, Kanab is surrounded by interesting landscapes, ideal for filming outdoor adventure movies. The first filmed there was "Deadwood Coach," starring Tom Mix, in 1924. Some later ones were "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Planet of the Apes," "Maverick" and "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing." Television shows that used Kanab scenery have included "The Lone Ranger," "Gunsmoke," "F-Troop" and "Lassie."

One of Kanab's largest events, the Aug. 18-20 Western Legends Roundup, celebrates the town's Western culture. One of its most popular aspects is the Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, where poets compete for jackpots. This annual event features cowboy music, Dutch oven cooking, Western swing dancing, and demonstrations, exhibits and workshops. There are workshops in swing dancing, Western photography, hand quilting and silversmithing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Outdoor Retailers Show Will Bring Crowds To SLC

The annual Summer Outdoor Retailers trade show will be held in downtown Salt Lake City this week, running Thursday through Sunday. It always brings crowds to downtown. This year attendance is expected to hit record levels.

The event is held in the Salt Palace Convention Center, and the surrounding area. Traffic in that area will be heavier than usual and parking spots will be hard to find. People are encouraged to use mass transit to get downtown.

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

An improved economy and strong sales are driving attendance at the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market convention in Salt Lake City to a record 25,000 people, show officials said Friday.

The annual gathering is the Salt Lake area’s largest convention — a showcase for makers of outdoor gear and services to get together with retailers to preview new products and place orders.

"We have hit a landmark in pre-registrations for retailers with 10,000," he (Kenji Haroutunian) said. "We’ve never hit the 10,000 number before."

But Horoutunian pointed out that the growth has been so great that the show this year is setting up a big outdoor facility in a parking lot near the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City that will accommodate 200 exhibitors.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tour of Utah Professional Bike Race Will Be Held Aug 9-14

Top pro bicycle racers will be in town next week participating in the Tour of Utah, which is billed as the toughest stage bike race in America.

The race will draw considerable media attention, and will definitely affect travel as it moves from Park City through various parts of northern Utah before ending at Snowbird Resort. See the race website for information about the race. The website offers these tidbits:

"The route this year will definitely challenge the best cyclists from around the globe. We expect each course to be packed with spectators, while enjoying the striking parts of the state of Utah and the local communities. Six days of challenging courses and terrain will not only test pro cyclists, but showcase Utah in a national and international spotlight," said Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership which owns the Tour of Utah. has this report about the race. Below are excerpts.

The preliminary start list for the Tour of Utah was released a couple of days ago, and it seems that several big names from this year’s Tour de France will be lining up for the start. Riders such as BMC Racing’s George Hincapie, Garmin Cervelo’s Tom Danielson and last year’s champion Levi Leipheimer from RadioShack will have eyes locked on them to see who will still have the form.

There will be 120 riders and 16 teams starting in the Tour of Utah. The race begins on August 9th and will last six days. The 16 teams will compete for a total of 116,000 dollars over the six days. The race begins in Park City with a prologue time trail. 409 miles later, the race finishes in Snowbird Ski Resort. has this salient summary of the race:

Next is the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling race, which takes place Aug. 9-14 in northern Utah. The race is one of the top three pro stage races in North America now, with $116,000 in prize money and five teams coming from Tour de France. Race organizers anticipate a significant, world-wide following during the event, with 300,000 people watching via live web casts each day and another 10 million households watching the event on TV via FOX Sports Network/ROOT Sports. Utah's "Life Elevated®" brand will be at the forefront of all this media coverage, as the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT), an agency of GOED, and the Utah Sports Commission have partnered to sponsor the professional cycling event.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fishing The High Country

I have enjoyed a couple of fun family fishing trips during the past two weeks, hitting Whitney Reservoir in the Uinta Mountains and Scofield Reservoir along Skyline Drive. Both are great family fisheries, offering very good action for nice cutthroat, tiger and rainbow trout.

This is the ideal time of year to get into Utah's high country. Heavy winter snow blocked many roads through spring and early summer, but the roads are open now and conditions are good. Trails across the highest passes in the Uintas may still have snow - may have snow all summer long this year. But most areas in the mountains are open.

Whitney Reservoir is located off of Hwy 150 in the Uintas. It is accessible via an improved road, washboardy but suitable for all vehicles.

There is no boat ramp at Whitney but small boats can be launched in a couple places around the reservoir. I had a small inflatable boat and so we trolled down the reservoir toward the inlets, catching fish every few minutes along the way.

I was surprised by the number of people at Whitney. I expected to have company, but the lake was almost crowded. Several groups were RV camping nearby. Numerous groups were fishing the shoreline.

Scofield is a popular Utah State Park. It has two developed boat ramps and very nice campgrounds. It is a popular fishery, but is large enough to accommodate a crowd.

The fishing was a little faster at Scofield, and the fish a little bigger, but we really enjoyed exploring both places.

- Dave Webb
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