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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Printed Utah Travel Guide Available

The Utah Office of Tourism is out with a new printed travel guide to help people plan trips. It can be requested by going to this page on our website. Other printed information can be requested from the same page.

Utah's official travel guide is famous for its stunning photography. In this edition the photos are described as "indelible."

The guide includes information on hotels/motels, guides and outfitters, national and state parks and other prime destinations. The Deseret News has this articledescribing the publication. Below are excerpts.

The free book, available to residents and visitors, includes full-color photography and information on parks, activities and events, and a pull-out map with transportation information.

New this year are three smaller regional inserts for northern, southern and central Utah that contain information on wildlife viewing areas, ski resorts, state and national parks, forests, monuments and Bureau of Land Management recreation areas. All are tied to a detailed road map.

Sections in the new guide include Utah’s scenic parks and public lands, Olympic venues, skiing and other winter activities, water sports, hiking and climbing, biking, wildlife adventures, off-roading, golf, accessibility, guides and outfitters, and arts, history, culture and events.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Video Introduction To The Wave and Paria Canyon

The Wave is a very scenic and famous formation in the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness along the Utah/Arizona border. It is extremely photogenic and is a popular hiking destination.

There are several other key attractions in this area. The Wave is located in the Coyote Buttes North formation. The Coyote Buttes South area also includes many scenic spots.

Buckskin Gulch, located nearby, is often described as the world's best long slot canyon hike.

This area is located about 45 miles east of Kanab. It is remote and rugged, with few roads and trails. People venturing into the area need to be prepared with knowledge, equipment and appropriate permits.

The area is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. BLM has just released a new video that gives a very good overview of the area, along with plenty of specific information. You can see the video below.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Utah Wild Horse & Burro Festival, June 8-9

In Uah's backcountry there are many herds of wild horses and wild burros, roaming free on the open range. Some are descendents or the original horses brought over by early Spanish explorers. They are considered to be part of our national heritage and are protected wildlife.

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charged with protecting and managing the wild animals. The horses and burros reproduce so prolifically that, if left unchecked, their numbers sometimes exceed the carrying capacity of the ranges. As a result, "surplus" horses and burros are captured and held in facilities at various points around the West.

The Utah Wild Horse & Burro Festival provides BLM with a chance to show off the animals, educate the public, and find people who want to adopt a horse or burro. People who show they have the knowledge and facilities needed to care for the animals are allowed to adopt them. BLM provides training and support to help the adoptive families.

Wild mustangs, as the horses are known, can be gentled and make great riding stock. They are often very sure footed and are great for mountain trails.

This year's festival will be held at the Deseret Peak Complex, 2930 W Highway 12, Tooele, Utah.

This BLM web page has complete details about the festival. This flier also provides information.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guide To Holiday Weekend Events

There are plenty events happening this weekend in Salt Lake City and throughout the state. The Salt Lake Tribune has this good rundown. Below are highlights.
  • Warriors over the Wasatch open house and air show at Hill Air Force Base
  • Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival at Antelope Island
  • 9th annual Park City Film Music Festival
  • Pony Express Days in Eagle Mountain
  • Scandinavian Heritage Festival in Ephraim

  • Mountain West Miniature Horse Show in Ogden
  • Civil War Encampment at Camp Floyd
  • FIM World Superbike BigM Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park
  • Read the article for details about these events.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have A Fun, Safe Memorial Day Holiday

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and many people have outdoor recreation on their minds. We hope they also stop to remember the reason for this holiday, reflect on our shared heritage and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed to preserve our nation and way of life.

We encourage safety as you head outdoors. Utah Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force to help motorists, and to encourage safe driving. In an unusual move, 75 temporary headstones have been placed along I-15 to remind motorists of the tragic consequences that can come from distracted or impaired driving. (75 people have died so far this year on Utah roads.)

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the safety blitz. Here's a quote:

"We want to focus on making it a zero-fatality weekend for Memorial Day," said Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson, standing before those headstones. Officials started a press conference there with 74 headstones, but added a 75th when they were notified of another highway death Thursday morning.

The Deseret News has this article listing 10 great spots to visit this holiday weekend. The article provides basic information and includes iconic photos. These spots are highlighted.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day Air Show And Open House Offered At Hill Air Force Base

Warriors over the Wasatch - that's the theme for a Memorial Day Weekend air show and open house at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden. The event is free and is expected to attract a large crowd. UTA buses and Front Runner trails will offer extended service to shuttle people to and from the event.

Show events are being held on Saturday and Sunday, but events are scheduled on Monday.

The show website has this introductory information:

The 2012 Hill AFB Warriors over the Wasatch Utah Air show promises to be an event of excitement, thrills, and breathtaking flying like you have never seen before. See Geico pilot Tim Weber, Red Bull pilot Kirby Chambliss, a salute to our historical air power, and the awe inspiring United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

It’s all here for the enthusiast, future pilot, thrill seeker, and families alike. Come out and see the huge collection of aircraft used in the last war, experience the size and mass of our cargo lifters, take in the agile and destructive helicopters of the US ARMY and much, much, more.

KSL TV has this article, with this schedule of events:

  • Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27
  • Hill Air Force Base
  • Gates open 8 am- 5 pm
  • Air show - 10 am - 5 pm
  • Free admission and parking

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Utah's High Roads Will Be Open For Memorial Day Weekend

Our seasonal high mountain roads are opening earlier than normal - many are open now and most others will be open for Memorial Day Weekend. Most of our forest campgrounds will also be open.

Utah Hwy 14 will be open on a limited basis for the holiday weekend. It is a major highway and is usually open year-round, but it has been closed for several months while crews repair damage caused by a massive landslide.

A dirt road has been built across the slide area and it will be open from 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29. After that the dirt road will be closed during the day on weekdays, so crews can continue working to make permanent repairs. During the construction period the dirt section will be open 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. It will be open to motorists on weekends beginning on Fridays at 5 p.m.

Hwy 14 provides access to Duck Creek Village and other popular areas on Cedar Mountain.

Visitor facilities at Cedar BreaksNational Monument will be open beginning Memorial Day weekend.

In northern Utah, Hwy 150, the Mirror Lake Highway, is already open. Campgrounds along the highway are opening quickly now and most will be available for the holiday.

SR 35 is open over Wolf Creek Pass.

SR 39 is open over Monte Cristo.

SR 92, the Alpine Loop, is expected to open for Memorial Day Weekend.

SR 224 and SR 190 are open over Guardsman Pass.

Always check locally for current conditions when venturing into the high country.

Monday, May 21, 2012

'Ring of Fire' Eclipse Party

I spent Sunday evening in Zion Park, at a scenic lookout where I was able to witness the full glory of the "ring of fire" eclipse. It was amazing.

I ended up viewing it from KolobTerrace, near the Wildcat Trailhead. I was surprised at how many other people joined me at that remote viewpoint. I scouted around to find a sweet spot, and apparently others did the same thing. There were a a couple dozen people in my immediate area and a hundred more stopped at various points along the road.

This was my first attempt to photograph a total eclipse and I didn't do very well. My filter system was inadequate. I did some research to prepare for the event and then elected to try some of my own ideas. My goal was to shoot the eclipse while also showing some dramatic Zion Park scenery. That was very difficult. If I exposed for the sun, the scenery was totally black. If I exposed for the scenery, the sun washed out.

My scheme was to put my camera on manual and stop down the lens while shooting at a fast shutter speed. I hoped by doing that, at the darkest point of the eclipse, I would not need much filtering. Wrong. Even when the eclipse was total, the sun was still powerful enough to wash out the exposure. I'll know better next time.

I considered shooting from the top of Angels Landing. As I scouted, I discovered that the horizon west of that viewpoint would not be as low as I wanted. The top of Angels affords a great view down Zion Canyon, which I always assumed fell off to the west. I assumed that the eclipsing sun would set in that direction. Wrong. That view is mostly to the south. From Angels, the sun sets over the West Rim, which is higher than the landing and so it would have obstructed the view as the sun moved lower.

The view from Angels would have been great, but I'm not sure I would have been able to see the entire show. I'm glad I scouted beforehand.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this great article about the eclipse, illustrated with great photos.

Utah parks are wonderful spots to view the night sky. Several have been recognized for their dark skies. Bryce Canyon and Natural Bridges National Monument hold regular star parties and other astro-events. Check them out.

- Dave Webb

Friday, May 18, 2012

No License Needed To Fish In Utah On June 2

Saturday, June 2, will be free fishing day in Utah. A fishing license will not be required on that day. All other regulations will be enforced. Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources provided the news release below. See information about Utah's best fishing waters.

In related news, cicadas are now starting to provide good fly fishing action on the Green River. Many fishermen look forward to the cicadas because they are big and clumsily and fish love them. You don't have to be a refined fly caster with cicadas. They smack the water's surface like a locomotive. Fish will sometimes rush from a dozen feet away to gobble up the big bug. Action can be very good. (More information.)

Fish for free on June 2

If you're looking for a fun activity that's outdoors and close to home, mark June 2 on your calendar.
Free Fishing Day
June 2 is Free Fishing Day.
Photo by Brent Stettler
June 2 is Free Fishing Day in Utah. You won't need a fishing license to fish in the state that day.
"Make plans now to get out with your family and enjoy a free day of fishing," says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Cushing says most of Utah's reservoirs will have plenty of water this year. He says fishing should be great. "Fishing at many of our mid-elevation reservoirs is just starting to pick up," he says.
You won't need a license to fish on June 2, but Cushing reminds you that all of the other rules in the state's fishing guidebook will still be in effect.
You can learn those rules by reading the 2012 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at
Copies are also available at DWR offices and from fishing license agents across Utah.
Some of the best places to fish
Before Free Fishing Day, the DWR will place extra fish in waters across the state. Most of those fish will be placed in lakes and reservoirs, so lakes and reservoirs might be good places to fish on June 2.
Utah's community fishing ponds are another good place to try. Depending on where you live, a community pond might be only a few minutes away. And they provide anglers with a variety of fish.
You can learn more about Utah's community fishing ponds at
"We'll stock the community fishing ponds with channel catfish before Free Fishing Day," Cushing says. "We'll keep stocking the ponds with catfish until the temperatures cool in the fall. Then we'll place trout in the ponds."
Several free fishing events for children will be held on Free Fishing Day. The following are some of the events the DWR will be involved in:
The Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Skylar's Pond.
The pond is in Willow Park, 419 W. 700 S.
People of all ages can enjoy free fishing at the pond. Fishing equipment will be available to check out and use. Volunteers will also be available to help first-time anglers fish.
Special interactive activity booths will also be available for those ages 4 to 18 years old. The first 250 youths who visit the booths and complete their "passport to fun" will receive a free t-shirt. The interactive booths will give young people a chance to discover the joys of fishing and learn the importance of good water quality. Youths can tie their own wooly bugger, experience how rivers and streams are formed, explore the life cycles of fish, go "buggy over bugs," stamp ink prints of fish on pieces of paper, learn to cast a fishing lure and much more.
For more information, e-mail Marni Lee with the Division of Wildlife Resources
A Free Fishing Day event will be held from 8–11 a.m. at Wellsville Pond.
The pond is at 100 E. 500 S.
The event includes a fishing contest and merit badge clinics. A prize will be awarded to the child who catches the biggest fish!
For more information, call the DWR's Ogden office at 801-476-2740.
One of Utah's newest community fishing waters—Adams Pond—will open to fishing during a Free Fishing Day event that runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Adams Pond is at the top of Gordon Avenue (1000 N.) and 1725 E.
The DWR will have its "Take Me Fishing" trailer at the event. DWR personnel will loan fishing poles to those who don't have their own pole. DWR personnel and staff from the Layton City Parks and Recreation Department will also be available to answer your questions about fishing and about Adams Pond.
For more information, call the DWR's Ogden office at 801-476-2740.
"Kid's Fishing Event," Wasatch Mountain State Park pond, about two miles west of downtown Midway (1281 Warm Springs Road).
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Space is limited. If your child would like to participate, please register in advance by calling 435-654-1791.
The DWR will stock the pond with rainbow trout before the event. At 9 a.m., the kids who participate will be taught about fish and how to catch them. Once the training is done, the kids are free to fish at the pond. If your child needs help, volunteers from the DWR's Dedicated Hunter program will be available to help them fish and to clean the fish they catch.
If children don' t have their own fishing poles and bait, they can borrow poles and bait from DWR staff at the event.
Spanish Fork will host its 34rd Annual Huck Finn Day from 9 a.m. to noon at Canyon View Park Pond.
The pond is at 3300 E. Powerhouse Road, next to the Spanish Oaks golf course.
Trout will be stocked into the pond before the event. Several prizes will be awarded between 9 a.m. and noon.
Boys are encouraged to come to the event dressed like Huck Finn. Girls are encouraged to dress like Becky Thatcher. Prizes will be given for the best costume in each category.
For more information, visit or call 801-804-4600.
The annual Utah Lake Festival will feature fishing activities for anglers both young and old.
The festival, which is held at Utah Lake State Park, is free of charge.
The park is at 4400 W. Center St.
As part of the festival, volunteers from the Salt Lake County Fish and Game Association (SLCFGA) will be on hand to help anglers catch some of the fish in the lake, including bluegill, catfish, crappie and bass. If you don't have your own fishing equipment and bait, the DWR and the SLCFGA will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to loan this equipment to you.
Three Free Fishing Day events for anglers of all ages will be held in northeastern Utah:
  • Pelican Lake in Uintah County, 8 a.m. to noon.
  • Moose Ponds in Daggett County, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Lower Stillwater Ponds on Rock Creek in Duchesne County, 9 a.m. to noon.
If you have your own fishing pole, you're encouraged to bring it to these events. A limited number of poles will be available at the Pelican Lake and Moose Pond sites for those who don't have a pole but would like to try fishing. At all three events, personnel from the sponsoring agencies will be on-site to answer questions about fish and fishing, and to help anglers catch fish.
Each event should be a fun activity for anglers of all ages and the whole family!
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are sponsoring the events. For more information, contact any of the sponsors or the UDWR's Vernal office at 435-781-9453.
Leigh Hill Reservoir
Leigh Hill Reservoir is one of Utah's community fisheries. To reach the reservoir, follow Cedar City's Royal Hunt Drive to the top of Leigh Hill.
Prizes will be offered and some fishing equipment will be available to check out and use at the pond. DWR personnel and volunteers will also be on hand to help youngsters fish and to help them keep their hooks baited.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is cosponsoring the event.
For more information, call the DWR's Cedar City office at 435-865-6100.
Grandpa's Pond
Grandpa's Pond is one of Utah's community fisheries. To reach the pond, follow State Street in Hurricane to the west of town, and then turn north on 3700 West. Continue north on 3700 West until the pavement ends.
Prizes will be offered and some fishing equipment will be available to check out and use at the pond. DWR personnel and volunteers will also be on hand to help youngsters fish and to help them keep their hooks baited.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Buck's Ace Hardware in Hurricane is cosponsoring the event.
For more information, call Lynn Chamberlain at 435-680-0059.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel Named National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

Scenic Highway 9 through Zion National Park climbs a section of tight switchbacks and then plunges into a sandstone mountain, through a mile-long tunnel, connecting Zion Canyon to the east Zion area and Mt Carmel along Hwy 89.

Construction of the highway was an amazing engineering accomplishment, one that is now being recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers. In ceremonies tomorrow, the society will designate the highway a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

The National Park Service provided this news release about the designation.

Zion-Mt Carmel Highway and Tunnel Honored

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) President, Andrew W. Herrmann and Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth will host a dedication ceremony designating the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Superintendent Whitworth invites the public to the ceremony at the South Campground Amphitheater in Zion National Park on May 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm to celebrate this honor.

The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel go where no road had gone before: up Pine Creek Canyon, through the Navajo sandstone cliffs, and east across the slickrock of the plateau. Over a three year period, this improbable route presented unique and dangerous challenges to the hardworking crews. They began work on opposite ends of the road. On the western side, a series of six switchbacks were carved from the canyon floor up. On the eastern side, crews blasted their way through a sea of slickrock sandstone. The most significant challenge was the arduous task of constructing the 1.1 mile tunnel through the heart of Zion's sandstone cliffs. On July 3, 1930, work was completed, and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway and Tunnel were officially designated and opened to the public.

ASCE, America's oldest national engineering society, was founded in 1852 and represents more than 147,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. The ASCE's Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program (HCEL) recognizes historically significant local, national, and international civil engineering projects, structures, and sites. The HCEL was created to recognize and encourage preservation of landmarks, as well as promote historical awareness of civil engineering, both professionally and to the general public. Local, national and international landmark sites are eligible for nominations to HCEL status. In order to be selected as a historic landmark, the site must be of historic civil engineering significance, structurally or technically unique, at least 50 years old, accessible to the public and approved for HCEL status by the owner of the structure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival Runs May 17-21

If you enjoy learning about and seeing birds and other wildlife, there is no better opportunity that that afforded by the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival. It is headquartered in Davis County, along the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

The festival includes field trips to popular birding spots, as well as to some places usually not accessible to the public.

The festivalwebsite has complete details about the event. Here's a synopsis provided by the festival:

Top Ten Reasons to Attend Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
10. See the birds in Utah - up close and personal! Exotic birds and Raptors!
9. Visit the HOT SPOTS of Northern Utah in the company of Expert Field Trip Guides
8. Experience the geology of the Great Basin; Birds already do this
7. Get to go "Behind-the-Gates" - where the public cannot go
6. It's Spring Time in the Rockies, go outdoors!
5. Learn what makes the Great Salt Lake GREAT!
4. Meet new friends; share interests and network
3. Lots of live birds, kids art, free workshops, great food!
2. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet famous people
1. 'The Big Year' birder, Greg Miller, is the Keynote Speaker. Dinner tickets sold out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Active Duty Military Personnel Offered Free National Parks Pass

Beginning on May 19, which is Armed Forces Day, active duty military personnel will be able to obtain a free military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass.

The pass provides access to all Utah national parks and other federally administered lands, as well as U.S. national park properties throughout the country.

The National Park Service provided the news release below:

U.S. Agencies Join Forces with First Lady and Dr. Biden to Honor and Support Military Families

Department of the Interior-led effort will provide a Military Pass for Free Access to National Parks and Other Public Lands

YORKTOWN, Va. – As part of the Joining Forces initiative to support our nation’s service members and their families, several U.S. government agencies announced an annual pass to active duty service members and their dependents, granting free access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands around the nation in the coming years.

“First Lady Michelle Obama and I started the Joining Forces initiative last year as a way to honor, recognize and support our veterans and military families,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “This effort is a wonderful way to give something back, giving our military men and women and their families a chance to reconnect with their loved ones, experience the beauty of this country, and simply have a little fun.”

Beginning on Armed Forces Day on May 19, active duty service men and women – Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and activated National Guard and Reserves – can obtain the new military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass. The pass will be accepted at National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.

The initiative was announced today during a ceremony at Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Virginia where Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy distributed the first passes to one member from each of the military’s five branches.

“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our service men and -women who make great sacrifices and put their lives on the lines to protect our country and preserve our freedom,” Secretary Salazar said. “In recognition of their contributions and service, we are putting out a welcome mat for these brave men and women and their families at America’s most beautiful and storied sites.”

"Our country's iconic memorials, open spaces, and majestic landscapes provide inspiration for those serving in the military, especially those far from home," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose agency oversees national forests. "In appreciation for their service, we want to encourage these men and women and their families to visit and enjoy America's wondrous lands and waterways."

"Our soldiers, sailors and airmen give so much to this country. The federal family is honored to thank them for their service by offering them an opportunity to visit the natural resources that they defend," said Assistant Secretary Darcy. "The Corps is proud to be participating in the program by accepting the America the Beautiful Military Pass at Corps recreation facilities."

Military members and their dependents can pick up a pass at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee or other selected sites. Members must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. The pass is also available to dependents of active duty personnel. A list of participating sites is available here.

Today’s announcement complements the Joining Forces Initiative launched by the First Lady and Dr. Biden, a national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give service members and families the opportunities and support they have earned. In just its first year, Joining Forces has rallied American businesses to hire tens of thousands of veterans and military spouses, schools have improved educational opportunities for military children, and the medical community has vowed better care for military families.

Where there are entrance fees, the pass covers the owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle at recreation sites that charge per vehicle. At sites where per-person entrance fees are charged, it covers the pass owner and three accompanying adults age 16 and older. There is no entry fee for children 15 and under.

While the pass is not available to veterans and retirees, many of these individuals are eligible for other discounted passes, such as the Senior Pass, granting lifetime access to U.S. citizens over 62 for $10, and the Access Pass granting free lifetime access for permanently disabled U.S. citizens.

For more information on the pass, please visit:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where To Shoot The "Ring Of Fire" Eclipse

A rare "ring of fire" eclipse will occur on Sunday, starting at about 6:20 pm Utah time. Astronomers say southwestern Utah will offer some of the best spots to see the eclipse. Optimum viewing will occur along a line that extends through through the town of Kanarraville, over Zion Park and across Lake Powell at Wahweap.

When the moon moves in front of the sun, it will not quite cover the entire circle. In sweet spots along that line, the moon will be centered inside the sun's orb and a thin "right of fire" will exactly circle it.

Kanarraville is being touted as one of the best accessible spots that will offer excellent viewing. It is located just south of Cedar City, along I-15. Thousands of people are expected to converge on the town to witness the event.

North and south of that line, the moon will be offset, not exactly covering the middle of the sun. The farther away, the greater the offset. The sight should be impressive anywhere in Utah. This news article has more details.

Kanarraville is a good choice if you just want to view the eclipse. I want to go a step further and shoot photos and video with dramatic scenery in the foreground. Where should I go to do that? My initial thoughts were to shoot from a boat on Lake Powell, or from a spot in Zion Canyon.

The sun will still be fairly high above the horizon when the eclipse starts. The "total" part will occur at about 7:30 and last about 4 minutes, when the sun is lower. It will then take about an hour for the moon to move away. I'd like to find a spot where the background scenery will be dramatic during that entire time period.

I think I'll shoot from the top of Angles Landing, overlooking Zion Canyon. That should be quite spectacular.

It will be fun, regardless of how my photos turn out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Timpanogos Cave Will Open For The Season Tomorrow, May 12

This season, Timpanogos Cave will mark its 90th anniversary as a national monument. Several new features and programs will be offered this year, including an advanced ticket system that will make it much more convenient to visit the cave. Staff will also use Facebook and other social media to promote the monument.

The monument provided the news release below.

Opening Day 2012

As Spring brings a fresh green coat and enticing warmth throughout American Fork Canyon, visitors are encouraged to get outside, picnic, hike and enjoy a multitude of recreational opportunities available. Starting Saturday May 12, 2012 visitors should add a visit to Timpanogos Cave National Monument to their “must do” outdoor activities list for the season. The park will be celebrating its 90th year anniversary in October, and in commemoration of this special day, souvenir cave discovery cards will be given out with each cave tour ticket in 2012.There are three different souvenir cards available, with each card representing the discovery of one of the caves in the Timpanogos Cave system. Visitors are encouraged to start planning their visit to the caves now.For the first time in 3 years the park will have a full operational season with no planned closures due to construction projects.The visitor center will be open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Labor Day, and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the remainder of the season.

Other highlights for the 2012 season include implementing a 100% advance ticket sales system for cave tours up to 30 days in advance.Cave tours not sold in advance will go on sale at 7:00 a.m. the morning of the tour. The park has created social media feeds to assist visitors with timely information via Twitter and Facebook.Visitors can connect to the park with Twitter at #TimpCaveNPS where followers can receive updates on ticket availability, weather and other timely information. Our Facebook friends can learn more about planning their visit, park resources and monument events at Park Superintendent, Jim Ireland stated, “Because of limited parking in American Fork Canyon visitors are strongly encouraged to visit the park Monday through Thursday to avoid parking congestion and sold out tours.I encourage visitors to check the park Twitter, Facebook and website at often for updates; or to contact the park at (801) 756-5238 for advanced ticket sales. Visitors are also invited to share their highlights, comments and tips from their visit on the monument’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Cave tour tickets may be purchased up to thirty days in advance starting May 12 by calling the visitor center at (801) 756-5238 and using a credit card.Ticket prices are $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for juniors (ages 6-15), $3.00 for children (ages 3-5), and children 2 and under are free.Seniors (age 62 and over) with a Golden Age Passport or Senior Pass are $3.50.Cave tours are limited to 16 participants per tour.Hiking the 1.5 mile trail to the cave is considered moderately strenuous, gaining over 1,000 feet in elevation.The cave tour and hike takes approximately three hours.The cave temperature is a cool 45 degrees Fahrenheit; light jackets, plenty of drinking water and sturdy walking shoes are recommended.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument will be holding special Junior Ranger Day activities on Saturday May 26 and Monday May 28 to kick off this season’s series of free Junior Ranger programs.Special award certificates and patches will be available to all participants. Junior Ranger programs will continue throughout the season on Saturday mornings and holidays staring at 10:00 a.m. at the Timpanogos Cave Visitor Center.

Timpanogos Cave will also continue its use of BATS for this season.BATS, Behind A Tour Specialists,is a program to educate youth on working in the national monument, protecting cave resources, and providing visitor services.Behind A Tour Specialists need to be 14 years of age or older, hike to the caves unescorted, and will be provided training and a uniform shirt.Youth interested in participating in the program should contact the park at (801) 756-5239.

Finally, the park will be continuing its highly successful evening programs again. Evening programs will be offered every Friday and Saturday evening starting May 25 from 7:00 to 8:00pm.The programs are free of charge and will be presented at the Timpanogos Cave Visitor Center unless noted.Please contact the visitor center at (801) 756-5238 for more information about summer activities.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wolf Mountain Ski Resort Is Up For Sale

Now you too can own a Utah ski resort. Wolf Creek Utah, a 3,000-acre year-round resort, will be sold at auction on Jun1. The resort includes a ski area, golf course and real estate development.

Wolf Creek is located east of Ogden, about 50 miles north of Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the sale. Here are excerpts.

“That's basically the result in the downturn in the economy,” chief executive officer Rob Thomas said, explaining the reason for the auction. “A lot of this was funded by the real estate market, and when that changed and went south, that changed things for us here at the resort.”

Rob Olson, owner of Erkelens and Olson Auctioneers of Salt Lake, said the auction will take place in two phases: First, bids will be taken on the entire property; then auctioneers will entertain bids on individual amenities, such as the golf course, ski resort, lodge and individual parcels. The method that brings in the most money will then be presented to the creditors and court to consider.

No matter who ultimately takes over, it will be a seamless transition.

“This place is open for business", Olson said. "It is operating and ready to go, and I think that's a big selling point to a lot of bidders.”

What will it sell for? The appraised value is somewhere about $30 million, but at auction it is expected to sell for much less.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Huffington Post Spotlights Utah’s Spectacular National Parks

I'm always interested in reading other writers descriptions of natural wonders. This article has some insights, but also some questionable details. Below are excerpts, along with my comments.

The majestic landforms of the Colorado Plateau will set your imagination on fire -- along with the 100-degree dry heat -- in Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

Southern Utah does get hot during summer. I hike year-round and get out early in the morning for  summer treks. Spring and fall are ideal.

But the landscape of the parks and surrounding areas, which are not crowded at all, will look familiar. Of course, this was the land of the cowboys that you saw in the movies. Walk on the land and you hear and feel the crunch of the scrubby plants underfoot, endless dust, the winding paths around the sweet-smelling sagebrush and haunting rock formations that used to be good hiding places for outlaws.

During summer the parks are often crowded. There are also very popular areas outside of the parks that draw good numbers of people. But there are also plenty of places where you can find solitude.

In mountainous areas you generally look up at the scenery. At Bryce Canyon, you look down -- at the hoodoos, those pillars of rock that look like whimsical earthen obelisks.

Sculpted by wind and nightly freezing desert temperatures, the hoodoos got their name from Native American lore where the coyote turned the evil people to stone. The "painted" pink, white and red (iron), purple (manganese) and white (limestone) "faces" serve as evidence of the myth.

I like that.

Dinosaurs once roamed this area, and you can easily find traces of them in the gastropods scattered around the Morrison rock. Gastropods are smooth, round rocks the dinosaurs ingested and excreted much like the chickens do with their gizzard stones.

Actually, gastropods are slugs and snails. The writer was referring to gastrolith stones, which aided dinosaurs in the process of breaking down and digesting foods.

"Hobbit Land" is another place outside the park that the locals can show you. In sight of Boulder Mountain, the largest flat-topped mountain in the United States, these globular red rocks are good for climbing for experts and novices alike. Moving about them invites you to "commune" with the land by becoming a part of it -- literally. Wear your old clothes, though, when you climb these rocks. The soft Entrada sandstone that rubs off on you is impossible to remove.

Hobbit Land? I am aware of an area in Salt Lake City that is known as Hobbit Land, but I don't know of any such area in Capitol Reef. That doesn't mean it isn't there, I just don't know about it. If you kow of the place please let me know.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Flaming Gorge - History And Insights

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the main attraction in a popular national recreation area in northeastern Utah. The reservoir is large, with deep, clear, cold water. It's a wonderful spot to fish, boat, ski, camp and engage in other activities.

The reservoir inundated many miles of the Green River, in a rugged and remote canyon with raging rapids. Its history somewhat parallels that of Glen Canyon, which was inundated by the rising waters of Lake Powell. Glen Canyon has become a famous icon representing paradise lost; it is immortalized in countless articles and photos and books, mostly promoting environmental causes.

Flaming Gorge - the canyon that existed before the reservoir - remained virtually unknown. Until now. Now a new book explores the history of the canyon, its rapids and ranches and the people who loved it.

The new book is entitled: Flaming Gorge: The Place Few People Knew. It was written by historian and river runner Roy Webb and it contains notable historic photos. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the book. Below are excerpts.

"Flaming Gorge was the place no one really knew," said Webb, referencing a book on Glen Canyon called The Place No One Knew, by Eliot Porter and David Brower. "It was known only by the people who floated it, a few river runners and [Flaming Gorge] historian Bill Purdy."

The little town of Linwood, home to about 100 people and the Bucket of Blood Saloon, was the only town of any size lost to Flaming Gorge. For the most part, it was bulldozed, but some buildings were moved before the gates to the dam were closed. Uncle Jack Robinson’s cabin, built by a fur trapper in the 1840s, was moved to an area near Green Lakes, making it one of Utah’s oldest surviving structures.

Webb dreamed of writing the book about what was lost to Flaming Gorge Dam since writing his first book in 1986, which covered some of the area. He quickly discovered that, unlike Glen Canyon, little research had actually been done on what was flooded.

"It wasn’t Glen Canyon, but it deserved its own place [in history]," said Webb.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Millard County Rock Crawl Will Be Held May 10-12

The annual Old School Rock Crawl will be held May 10-12 at the County Fairgrounds in Delta, in Central Utah.

The event always attracts a crowd. It's great fun watching 4X4 vehicles try to make it up and over obstacles. Some vehicles and drivers can go over almost anything while others struggle, crash and roll. The crash and roll almost always occurs in slow motion and you can see every agonizing  spin-out and back slide.

The video below shows an overview of the action. See the Millard Travel website for more details.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival Will Be May 17-20

Bryce Canyon is known to have one of the "darkest skies" in the United States. Since it is located far from any city and is at a high elevation, the sky has little air and light pollution. The stars are incredibly bright - the Milky Way puts on an amazing show.

Capitalizing on those rare qualities, Bryce Canyon National Park hosts several "star parties" and other events every year. It also offers an annual Astronomy Festival. This year the festival coincides with an upcoming solar eclipse. The park will be one of the best places in the country to view the eclipse.

The park provided this information on the festival:

Looking for total astronomy immersion?

Join us for our 12th Annual Astronomy Festival (May 17-20, 2012) where for 4 consecutive nights, thanks to the Salt Lake Astronomical Society and the University of Utah, we will have 50 HUGE telescopes available for use by the general public. And on Sunday afternoon, just before sunset, join us for a "front row" seat of one of mother nature's rarest and most wonderful spectacles -- an annular "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse.

Bryce Canyon is the ultimate place to learn about and enjoy the splendor of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of civilization, and protected by a special force of park rangers and volunteer astronomers known as "The Dark Rangers," Bryce Canyon is the last grand sanctuary of natural darkness. The night sky at Bryce is so dark we can see 7500 stars on a moonless night! Here, Venus will cause you to cast a shadow! No visit to Bryce Canyon is complete without joining the Dark Rangers for one of their educational and entertaining celebrations of natural darkness.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Power Plants Ordered To Cut Haze Across Utah Parks

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is requiring two large, coal-fired power plants in east-central Utah to improve pollution control equipment to reduce haze that drifts over southern Utah national parks and wilderness areas. has this news article about the requirements. Here are excerpts.

PacifiCorp said it was already upgrading pollution controls at the Hunter and Huntington power plants and planned more improvements by 2014 that would bring them into compliance with the new requirements.

The EPA says haze has cut views across wild areas of southern Utah to about 60 miles, or about half of preindustrial levels. Power plants are considered major culprits for haze but "on the worst days, wildfires and dust storms" cause most of the problems, Bird said.

Bird said that the EPA approved other parts of Utah's haze-reduction plan Monday, including efforts to reduce wildfires that "will be harder to address."

Utah is supposed to work on reducing fuels for wildfires — dead and dry tinder.

In a separate action also announced Monday, the EPA approved Utah's 2008 plan to reduce ozone, the main ingredient in smog, Bird said.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wildflowers In Utah's Deserts

I enjoyed exploring areas along Hwy 12 over the weekend and noticed several kinds of cactus are in full bloom. Other wildflowers were also wearing their best dress.

I really enjoy seeing cactus flowers. The blossoms are always gorgeous, with delicate petals in vivid colors. I love the bright crimsons, violets and reds that are common in cactus flowers.

I took this photo along the Hwy 12 Hogsback, just above the Calf Creek Falls Recreation Area.

Cactus are in bloom at lower elevations all across southern Utah right now, from Zion Park through GrandStaircase-Escalante, across Capitol Reef, through Canyonlands, Arches and the Lake Powell area.

Over the next few weeks wildflowers will bloom at higher elevations in southern Utah, including the BryceCanyon and Cedar Breaks areas. The flower show will then move into the northern Utah mountains. By mid or late July wildflowers will be profuse on Mt Timpanogos, the mountains east of Salt Lake City and in the Uintas.

The Albion Basin area near Alta is renowned for its wildflowers. The peak season there is usually in mid or late July.

- Dave Webb
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