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Utah Travel Headlines

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Register Now For Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

Online registration will begin tomorrow (March 1) for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, which will be held May 16-20.

The Festival is centered in Farmington, in Davis County, and includes field trips to birding spots around the Great Salt Lake and throughout northern Utah. The Festival also offers hands on workshops, special presentations, sponsors and vendors, food and fun.

The Festival provided this information about the keynote speaker:

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is excited to announce the 2013 Keynote Speaker (May 18 2013) will be author, birder and shorebird expert Kevin Karlson. Kevin says his recent experience with Super storm Sandy brought him closer to nature than he wanted to be. He had ocean water lapping on his front lawn (house was spared). Visiting Great Salt Lake next May will be a better way to interact with salt water. Kevin has been to Utah previously, but as a tourist to our red rock country so he is excited to be part of the Festival in northern Utah. In addition to giving the Keynote address, Kevin will also guide a few fieldtrips and sign books. The Festival is excited to let Kevin do what he does best- inspire people (of all ages) to enjoy bird watching more!

The Festival has become very popular and advanced registration is encouraged. (Procrastinators will still be able to participate in some activities but popular field trips will fill up quickly.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Cancel Travel Plans Because Of 'Sequestration' Budget Cuts

Many people are concerned about the so called “sequestration” federal budget cuts, since it appears unlikely that the US Congress and President Obama will pass any kind of budget plan before the automatic cuts are triggered in March.

Federal properties, including national parks, could face cutbacks if the cuts actually go into effect. But we don't expect serious impacts for travelers. Go ahead with your plans to visit Utah's national parks.

While it does appear likely that Congress will miss the current deadline, the parties will probably work out an acceptable compromise before the automatic cuts cause significant layoffs and closures. Federal agencies have to make plans, just in case, but most will probably not have to implement serious cutbacks or closures.

Even if the full sequestration cuts take place, National Parks and most other federal properties in Utah would remain open to travelers. Our parks will continue to be open year-round. Services may be cut back a little – there may not be as many rangers patrolling trails and holding campfire talks, and the garbage cans may not be emptied as frequently as normal, but virtually all parks will stay open.

(There may be closures in specific areas where lack of manpower causes actual danger to human life or resources, but those spots will be few in number. Such closures are unlikely to affect popular attractions inside the parks.)

Anyway, Congress will be under extreme pressure to solve the crises and most pundits expect solutions to come quickly. So, plan that trip and get out here.

Colorado Riverway Path Funded
Event amid the sequestration crisis, Utah has just been awarded $900,000 in federal funds to continue construction of the Colorado Riverway Path, which is a non-motorized path that will link Moab, Utah, to Arches and Canyonlands national parks, the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area and surrounding public lands.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Utah Properties on the Forbes Travel Guide Star Lists

Forbes Travel Guide has released this list of the best hotels, restaurants, spas and destinations in the US and around the world. Below we list Utah properties that made the coveted list. Forbes said this about the rankings:

Forbes Travel Guide has delivered the travel industry's most comprehensive ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas since1958. Forbes Travel Guide's team of professional inspectors anonymously evaluates properties on over 500 service criteria. Forbes Travel Guide is the global rating standard providing guests with the insight to make better-informed and more consistent travel and leisure decisions.

Utah winners are clustered around Park City/Deer Valley, with a few others scattered through Salt Lake City, Moab and the Lake Powell areas. Incidentally, the Forbes Travel Guide listed each of those areas as recommended destination.

Forbes 5-Star Award Winners

  • Hotel: Stein Eriksen Lodge (Deer Valley)
  • Spa: The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge (Deer Valley)

Forbes 4-Star Award Winners

  • Amangiri (Lake Powell)
  • Montage Deer Valley
  • Waldorf Astoria Park City
  • The Grand America Hotel (Salt Lake City)
  • The St. Regis Deer Valley
  • Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa (Moab)
  • Apex (Deer Valley)
  • Riverhorse on Main (Park City)
  • SLOPES by Talisker (Park City)
  • Glitretind Restaurant (Deer Valley)
  • Remède Spa Deer Valley
  • Golden Door Spa at Waldorf Astoria Park City
  • Spa Montage Deer Valley
  • The Spa at Sorrel River Ranch

Forbes Recommended:

  • River Grill Restaurant at Sorrel River Ranch (Moab)

Forbes Recommended Destinations:

  • Canyon Point (location of Amangiri Resort near Lake Powell)
  • Moab
  • Park City
  • Salt Lake City

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ski Conditions Are Excellent As Resorts Look Toward Spring

Ski conditions are magnificent right now but will start to deteriorate in a few weeks if we ever get any warmer, spring-like weather.

Note I said if... This year winter has been colder than normal and so good skiing will hold longer at our resorts. Right now there is no end in sight. Storms that just moved out of Utah left plenty of powder, including these 48 hour totals:

Snowbasin 18 inches new
Alta 17 inches new
Snowbird 15 inches new
Powder Mountain 14 inches new
Brian Head 13 inches new
Eagle Point 13 inches new

More snow is expected this week. But with March right around the corner, we're bound to get warmer weather sometime soon. Typically our resorts start to close in April. Seasons may be extended this year if the cold, snowy weather pattern holds.

Some of the best deals of the season are offered during spring. See our special ski packages.

As the weather warms, people will shed insulated suites and start wearing all kinds of crazy outfits. It is always fun to see people skiing in shorts and t-shirts. That will happen, assuming spring eventually arrives.

The annual Spring Gruv at Canyons Resort is always a highlight. It will happen March 22-31. It brings 10 days of free concerts, food, fun and then always popular pond skimming contest where people dress up in outrageous customs and attempt to ski across a pond of open water.

Canyons Resort provided the video below, which shows highlights from Spring Gruv.

- Dave Webb

Friday, February 22, 2013

Register Now For Easter Jeep Safari

The annual Easter Jeep Safari will take place March 23-31 in Moab. The event has become very popular over the years and attracts a huge number of people. If you want to participate you should register now. See the official website for details.

Moab is extremely nice during spring and many people who are not part of the official safari also flock to the area. Visitors are always welcome in town but need to be aware of issues including:
      • Motels and campgrounds will be full
      • The most popular trails will be crowded
The Safari offers guided trail rides (bring your own 4X4) over a wide assortment of trails. Officials work hard to spread people out and avoid overcrowding. However, people out on their own may overwhelm some of the most popular spots.

Law enforcement will be everywhere, working to keep people safe, quiet and courteous. There will be parties, but nothing too wild.

An “Expo” offers businesses a chance to demonstrate and sell products. SUV manufacturers often have concept vehicles to show and other businesses offer all kinds of products. It's fun just to see the new stuff and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

The Off Road Business Association has just announced it will hold its second quarter board meeting during the Jeep Safari. The meeting will be open to the public. See that announcement.

The Safari is a lot of fun, assuming you enjoy being around other people. Moab will not be a place for solitude during the 9 day festival.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zion Temporarily Closes Climbing Routes To Protect Peregrines

Zion National Park offers some of the world's great rock climbing routes and climbers flock to the park to test their skills on its big cliffs. But some of those same cliffs are by peregrine falcons while they are nesting in the spring and so the park annually closes some routes to protect the birds.

Today the park announced that these areas will be closed to climbing beginning March 1:
  • Angel’s Landing
  • Cable Mountain
  • The Great Throne
  • Isaac in the Court of the Patriarchs
  • The Sentinel
  • Mountain of the Sun
  • North Twin Brother
  • Tunnel Wall
  • The East Temple
  • Mount Spry
  • The Streaks Wall
  • Mount Kinesava
  • Middle Fork of Taylor Creek
Park biologists will monitor these areas to identify active peregrine nests. Areas where there are no active nests will reopen to climbing in late April or early May. Areas with active nests will remain closed until falcon chicks fledge in late July.

Last Weekend To See Wild Elk

Sleigh rides through the elk herd at Hardware Ranch will continue through this weekend and then will close for the season.

Every year hundreds of wild elk winter in the meadow at Hardware Ranch, in the mountains southeast of Logan, in northern Utah. Utah wildlife officials feed the elk there to keep them in the mountains away from farmers fields in Cache Valley. Several large bulls have been seen among the herd this season.

Sleighs are used to transport hay out to the elk. The wild animals become accustomed to the sleighs and allow them to approach quite closely. Visitors at the ranch can ride the hay wagons and get close-up views of the elk.

With average temperatures warming and spring just around the corner, snow will be melting and so the sleigh rides will soon stop running. As snow melts the elk will migrate into the surrounding mountains.

Seeing the elk is a great wildlife viewing opportunity. See this news release for details.

-- Dave Webb

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

View The Night Ski At Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument is known internationally for its amazingly dark night sky and vivid stars. It is one of the best places in the world to view the night sky. It hosts star parties and other star gazing events on a regular basis. See the park website for information about dark sky events.

Now the monument has been included in this list of the best spots in the US to view the night sky. The list includes:
  • Portal, Arizona – Home of the Arizona Sky Village, a residential area in the southeast corner of Arizona that was specifically purchased and developed by mainly retired amateur astronomers.
  • Natural Bridges National Monument – Located in the southeast corner of Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument features the second largest natural bridge in the world and is also home to some of the darkest skies in the United States. In 2007, Natural Bridges National Monument was named the first International Dark-Sky Park in 2007 by the International Dark-Sky Association. This designation recognizes the availability and quality of dark skies at Natural Bridges National Monument and also the park’s commitment to preserving dark skies and educating the public about the importance of dark skies. Check out the park’s astronomy ranger program during the summer months.
  • Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Introduction To Utah's Chocolate and Wine

Utah produces some delightfully decadent chocolate and you can sample some of the best at this weekend's Zermatt Chocolate Fest.

Utah's liquor laws have long been an irritation to some residents and tourists alike, even with recent changes that have “normalized” the regulations to a great degree. Still, there is much confusion about what and where you can drink in Utah.

Wine and many hard liquors can be purchased at state-controlled liquor and wine stores. The University of Utah Continuing Education department is offering a class in Salt Lake City to introduce people to the state wine stores, as described below.

Zermatt Chocolate Fest

Enjoy a day filled with chocolate at Zermatt Resort in Midway. Utah chocolatiers will offer displays and free samples, including the "LavaFlow," a decadent dark hot chocolate drink. In the evening, Z’s Steak and Chop Haus will offer a three-course chocolate-themed dinner.

When: Saturday, Feb. 23, festival runs from 2 to 5 p.m.; Dinner reception begins at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Zermatt Resort 784 W. Resort Dr. Midway

Cost: Festival admission is $11.99; Dinner is $59.99, Wine pairings $35.99.

Reservations: dinner reservation required by calling 435-709-9572.

An Introduction To Utah Wine Stores

Explore the wine store under the guidance of an expert. In this fun, casual, group environment, learn how to navigate the different sections to find that perfect bottle of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or something new and obscure. Get to know the state wine store formats, when to find the great deals, and even how to interpret once-confusing wine labels from around the world. Please be prepared to stand for the duration of class. Class is designed for beginners and novice wine shoppers. Once class is over feel free to stay and shop with the instructor as your own personal shopper to guide you.

Two sessions will be held:
Feb 27, 2013, from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm.
Feb 1, 2013, from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm.

Tuition: $25

Where: the State State Wine Store located at 280 W Harris Ave (1605 S 300 W), Salt Lake City.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hiking to Lake Powell's Rainbow Bridge has this interesting post about hiking to Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell.

When I saw the post title I got excited because I thought they would talk about the adventure hike overland along the historic Rainbow Bridge discovery trail. But no, they took the easy route, boating up Lake Powell to the vicinity of the bridge and then making the short hike up under it..

(At high water, Lake Powell's waters come right up to the bridge. At this writing, the lake level is down a bit and so you have to hike a half-mile or so to get to the amazing span of rock.)

Still, I found the post interesting and decided to share excerpts here. The video below shows highlights from their trip.

Baby boomer travelers love to visit America’s National Parks, and one of the parks featured prominently on the bucket lists of a great many of them is stunningly beautiful Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area bordering the Arizona and Utah state lines.

After a wonderful night’s stay at Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas, our cruise boat headed out into Lake Powell with a 7:30 a.m. departure. For over two hours, we and our boat’s passengers were mesmerized by the unbelievable landscapes that continually unfolded before our eyes.

However, none of us were prepared for the gobsmacking vista that awaited us when we reached Lake Powell’s interior marina and made the short hike to Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Watch & Learn At The Delta Snow Goose Festival

Thousand of snow geese stop in Central Utah, in the Delta area, on their migration north toward nesting grounds in the arctic. Sometimes the birds fill most of the sky – a dramatic sight because of their pure white bodies and dark wing tips. Viewing the birds has become a popular activitiy and has given rise to the Snow Goose Festival, one of Utah's most popular wildlife viewing events.

The festival offers opportunity for wildlife viewing, educational activities, food, music and fun. The news release and video below give details. Also see the Snow Goose Festival website.

Utah Snow Goose Festival, Feb. 22–24

See as many as 20,000 snow geese
Delta — It's a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of pure white snow and Ross' geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.
You can see pure white snow geese at this year's Snow Goose Festival.
You can see pure white snow geese at this year's Snow Goose Festival.
Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
You can see this spectacle yourself on Feb. 22, 23 and 24 at the annual Utah Snow Goose Festival. The festival will be held at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, just west of Delta. Admission is free.
As many as 20,000 geese — mostly snow geese — have been at the reservoir during past festivals. Except for the black tips on their wings, snow geese are pure white.
The festival is a terrific activity for the whole family.
"We'll provide spotting scopes so you can get a close look at the geese," says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "We'll also be available to answer any questions you have."
You can learn more about the festival at
The best times to see the geese
The areas where you'll see the geese vary according to the time of the day.
Walters says if you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the geese feeding in fields that surround the reservoir. Then, between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., the geese take off and fly back to the reservoir. "That's an exciting time to see and hear the geese," he says.
After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. "Then, anywhere from 4 to 6 p.m., they take off again and fly back to the fields," Walters says. "It's thrilling to be there when the geese take off."
DWR biologists will watch which fields the geese fly to. If you arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, the biologists will direct you to the fields where the geese are feeding.
Viewing tips
  • Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the geese, you could scare them away.
  • If you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can. And watch for cars.
  • The weather could be cold and wet. Bring the proper clothes so you can stay warm and dry.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Utah Has Some Of The Greenest Ski Resorts

The Ski Area Citizens' Coalition, based in California, ranks ski resorts on their environmental performances. The group has just released its 11th annual survey and has Park City Mountain Resort at the top of the list. Several other Utah ski resorts also ranked well. You can see the group's full news release here. Below are excerpts and then the top 10 resorts in the ranking.

Utah’s Park City topped this year’s list, receiving 93% of possible points and getting a solid “A.”

Utah’s Brighton Ski Resort, for example, expanded their facilities within their existing footprint and ended with a better score this year than last, though their overall grade remained the same. Colorado’s Monarch Mountain, by contrast, made this year’s “Bottom Twelve List” by proposing to expand their lift-served terrain by 120 acres into pristine wildlands, dropping their grade from last year’s “B” to a “D” this year.

“With Presidents’ Day one of the busiest ski weekends of the season, we hope people will visit the Ski Area Scorecard website and vote with their skis, choosing an “A” from this year’s list,” said Anna Olsen of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. “I was pleased to see that my favorite local Tahoe resort, Kirkwood, received an ‘A’ and I hope the mountain keeps its impact limited to already-disturbed land in the future.”

Rank TOP TEN: Grade Percentage
1 - Park City Mountain Resort (UT) A 93.0
2 - Stevens Pass Ski Area (WA) A 92.3
3 - China Peak (CA) A 91.7
4 - Sugar Bowl Ski Resort (CA) A 90.0
5 - Deer Valley Resort (UT) A 89.6
6 - Aspen Highlands Ski Resort (CO) A 88.3
7 - Aspen Mountain Ski Resort (CO) A 87.4
8 - Alpine Meadows Ski Area (CA) A 86.5
9 - Grand Targhee Resort (WY) A 85.9
10 - Buttermilk Mountain Ski Resort (CO) A 85.7

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

All three Park City-area resorts made the top 10 among Western resorts. Park City Mountain Resort captured the No. 1 spot overall with a 93 percent rating out of 100. Deer Valley was fourth and Canyons Resort ninth. Of 10 Beehive State ski areas judged by the environmental group, Solitude Mountain Resort received the lowest grade - a D.

Solitude General Manager David DeSeelhorst dismissed the report’s relevance, contending his resort received low marks in many categories simply because he did not respond to the lengthy survey. A coalition spokeswoman acknowledged that Solitude’s failure to respond hurt its score.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Visitation Up At Utah State Parks

Goosencks of the San Juan State Park - photo by Dave Webb 
Utah's state parks are popular playgrounds for locals, but most are off the radar for tourists. That's unfortunate because they offer outstanding opportunities for recreation, sightseeing, wildlife viewing and educational activities.

At the risk of seeming smug, I dare say some of Utah's state parks would be national parks, were they located in any other state. But here, where there is so much much natural beauty, they are often overlooked.

State Park officials continue to proactively promote these areas. They recently released this innovative Digital Field Guide Brochure, which provides great info about each park.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this good article by Brett Prettyman describing how park visitation is showing strong growth. He talks about interesting programs that are popular some lesser-known parks. Below are excerpts.

The state agency reported a 5.78 percent jump in visitation from 2011 to 2012 with more than 5 million visits last year, up from 4.8 million the previous year.

parks dominated visitation in 2012, but Hays said he is impressed with the growth in smaller "community-type" parks and even museums.

The Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum in Fillmore is a good example. The park has experienced phenomenal growth the past two years: 156 percent from 2010 to 2011 and an additional 28 percent last year.

The camps take participants back to the 1860s. Campers build cabins using "giant Lincoln Logs" and learn things like rope- and candle-making, weaving, quilting and cooking using a woodstove.

– Dave Webb

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Utah Parks Listed Among Great Winter Travel Destinations

The Guardian out of the UK has this fun article describing some of the world's great winter travel destinations. There are no tropical beaches listed in the article, it focuses on spots where you can embrace the cold:

Some places are simply better in winter - and it's not just the lack of crowds. Get arty in Florence, steamy in Hungary or hike the canyons of the US. And you have the perfect excuse for lots of hot chocolate and other winter warmers.

When travel articles describe winter destinations they often mention Utah's famous ski resorts. But our canyons? That caught my eye because, well, Utah has some of the world's best canyons, many located in our national parks. So I read the article and found it talked about:

Tallinn, Estonia: With its Gothic spires and conical snowy roofs, cosy beer halls and vintage-look bars, Tallinn is one of the ultimate winter cities.

Budapest, Hungary: The pleasure of a hot bath takes on new meaning in the Hungarian capital, where Ottoman rule has left several splendid Turkish bath houses.

Black Forest, Germany: Winter hiking and snowshoeing trails criss-cross the low mountain areas.

Florence, Italy: ...Florence, too, can be a better bet off-season, when the hordes of sightseers disperse. The art's all still there...

Utah's national parks, US: The rock formations of Bryce Canyon are stunning at any time of year, but especially in winter when snow contrasts with red rock of the hoodoos (fairy chimneys) and the green pines. Walking trails in and around the canyon – thronged with tourists in shorts and baseball caps in summer – are almost deserted in winter. How about a guided full-moon snowshoe hike, or a tutored winter astronomy session.

The Arches and Zion national parks are worth a cold-weather trip too.

The article includes this link: See

Interesting. Bryce, Arches and Zion are great winter destinations, but so are Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.

I'm getting spring fever. Must be time for a trip.

– Dave Webb

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Fun Around Utah

What to do on Valentine's Day? If you are in Utah there are plenty romantic options, including some for the refined/sophisticated, some for people who love nature and the outdoors, and some for those who just want to have fun. Below are samples we uncovered.

In Salt Lake City: The Utah Symphony presents: ROMEO & JULIET, February 14-15-16 at 8 pm in Abravanel Hall
  • Prokofiev - Selections from Romeo and Juliet Suites
  • Schumann - Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra
  • Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
From For Your Complex Valentine: AMANO CHOCOLATES -- Made in Utah, the cocoa beans for Amano Chocolates are sourced from all around the world. The award-winning sweets are best tasted like fine wines, letting the subtle flavors layer and build upon one another.

From St. George: Have you heard of this new service in St George? "Bike Date Rentals"
-Rent two Beach Cruiser bikes and pair it with goodies from local restaurants for a date to never forget!

At Hardware Ranch: Enjoy a sleigh ride into a snow-filled meadow where you can get up close and personal with hundreds of Rocky Mountain elk. Several large bulls are usually mingling with their harems. (Hardware Ranch is located near Logan, in northern Utah.)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Mummies of the World Invade Utah's Leonardo

The Leonardo, Salt Lake City's unique interactive science, technology and art museum, has a fascinating exhibit opening next week. Called Mummies of the World, it will display the world's largest collection of mummies to be found in any one place, and provide all kinds of information about them. The exhibit runs from Feb 16 through May 27.

The Leonardo provided this exhibit overview:

The New York Times calls it “Magical and Mythical." Experience real mummies from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe and ancient Egypt.

Real Mummies
Real Science
Real People

Enter the extraordinary world of mummies and mummification. Through modern science, engaging interactives and multi-media exhibits, the exhibition reveals how the scientific study of mummies provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations.

This compelling collection, presented with reverence and dignity, includes ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as Ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years.

The museum website has a great video describing the exhibit.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Men's Journal Features Amangiri Resort

Men's Journal has a fun feature they call “Refined and Remote.” Amangiri Resort in southern Utah is profiled in the magazine, with writer Ryan Van Duzer enjoying the resorts refinements and also enjoying canyoneering, rock climbing and other adventure sports.

Amangiri is located between Kanab and Lake Powell, in spectacularly remove area in Utah's red rock desert. The Men's Journal feature included this text and then the video below:

Ryan Van Duzer drives to the stunning, modern, and luxurious Amangiri resort in the remote Utah desert, where he explores the nearby canyons on a Via Ferrata, as well as on a 230-foot-long suspension bridge.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

View Bald Eagles At 5 Locations In Utah

You can see bald eagles at five different sites
during this year's Bald Eagle Day. The free event 
happens Feb. 9.
Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Many bald eagles spend their winters in Utah and it is common to see them flying over marshlands around the Great Salt Lake, dining on fish at Willard Bay, roosting in trees along the Weber River, and frequenting other spots around Utah.

Many people enjoy bird watching and especially viewing eagles. To encourage wildlife viewing, Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources has established Bald Eagle Day and will sponsor viewing activities at 5 spots around Utah. Biologists will be on hand to help. Spotting scopes and binoculars will be available to participants.

The DWR provided the news release below:

This year's Bald Eagle Day is Feb. 9, 2013

If you've ever seen a bald eagle in the wild, you know it's an experience that can take your breath away.

You can see bald eagles at five different sites during this year's Bald Eagle Day. The free event happens Feb. 9.

On Feb. 9, you'll have a chance not only to see bald eagles, but to learn more about them. The Division of Wildlife Resources will hold its annual Utah Bald Eagle Day that day.

Bald Eagle Day is free. You can see eagles at five locations across the state. Viewing times vary depending on the viewing site you visit:

Northern Utah
Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton's Knoll), located about 10 miles northwest of Corinne

Viewing at Salt Creek will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to seeing the eagles at Salt Creek, you can also see a captive bald eagle that volunteers from the Ogden Nature Center will bring to the event. The captive eagle will be at the event from noon to 1 p.m. Make sure you bring your camera with you — this will be a great chance to take a picture of your kids standing next to a real bald eagle!

To reach the WMA, take Exit 365 off of Interstate 15 and travel west on state Route 83 through Corinne. Stay on Route 83 until you get to 6800 West (Iowa String). Travel north to 6800 N. Travel west on 6800 N. until you reach the Salt Creek WMA/Compton's Knoll Watchable Wildlife site.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, located on the west side of Farmington at 1325 W. Glover Lane (925 South)

Viewing at Farmington Bay will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to seeing eagles at the WMA, you might want to drop by the Great Salt Lake Nature Center. The center is at the north end of the WMA. Hands-on activities for children will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through most of the day. Live birds of prey will also be available to view. Members of HawkWatch International will show the raptors from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

To reach the nature center and the WMA, follow these directions:

If you're traveling from Salt Lake City and other areas south of Farmington:

Travel north on I-15 to Exit 322. (The exit is just after you pass under the Glovers Lane overpass.) Where the ramp forks, stay right. Just off the exit ramp, turn right onto the frontage road, and continue south to the stop sign. Turn right onto Glovers Lane, and follow it west.

To reach the Farmington Bay WMA, travel to 1325 W. Glovers Lane, and turn left.

To reach the Great Salt Lake Nature Center, continue west on Glovers Lane to 1700 W. Glovers Lane. You will go past a "Dead End" sign. The paved road to the Nature Center will be on your left.

If you're traveling from Ogden and other areas north of Farmington:

Travel south on I-15 to Farmington. Take Exit 325 (the Lagoon/Park Lane exit). The exit will deliver you to Park Lane. Turn right (west) on Park Lane. Park Lane will bear south and run into Clark Lane. Turn right (west) onto Clark Lane and continue to the first four-way stop, which is 1525 W. Turn left (south) onto 1525 W., and continue for about one mile until the street ends at Glovers Lane.

To reach the Farmington Bay WMA, turn left (east) onto Glovers Lane. Travel to 1325 W. Glovers Lane, and then turn right (south).

To reach the Great Salt Lake Nature Center, turn right (west) onto Glovers Lane. Continue west on Glovers Lane to 1700 W. Glovers Lane. You will go past a "Dead End" sign. The paved road to the Nature Center will be on your left.

Central Utah
Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery, located east of Nephi

Viewing will take place at Fountain Green from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you're coming from the north, you can reach the hatchery by taking Interstate 15 and exiting the freeway at the second Nephi exit (Exit 225). After exiting the freeway, turn east on state Route 132 and travel about 10 miles. About 1 mile before the city of Fountain Green, a Bald Eagle Day sign will point you to an access road that leads to the hatchery.

Once you reach the hatchery, you'll be given a driving map of the Sanpete Valley that highlights the best areas in the valley to view eagles. Literature, displays and bathroom facilities will also be available at the hatchery. Spotting scopes will be set-up at a viewing location about one mile from the hatchery where eagles often gather in a large tree.

Northeastern Utah
Split Mountain/Green River, located north of Jensen and below the Dinosaur Quarry in Dinosaur National Monument (DNM).

Viewing will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To reach the site, drive north from U.S. Highway 40 in Jensen on the road to the Dinosaur Quarry (state Route 149).

Your first stop should be at the staging area located just inside the DNM boundary. Displays and spotting scopes will be available at the staging area, and you might be able to see bald eagles and other raptors in the distance. Biologists will also be available to answer your questions.

You can also see live birds close up! Two live birds of prey will be on display at the staging area for part of the day. Their handlers usually bring the birds to the staging area in mid-morning. The hawks remain on display until the birds get fidgety and decide they don't want to cooperate with the crowds. Beginning at noon in the visitor center, one of the handlers will present a one-hour slide show about birds of prey.

From the staging area, biologists will direct you to other sites where you may have better views of eagles and other wildlife of interest. In past years, visitors have seen bald and golden eagles hunting and feeding, as well as prairie falcons, hawks, mule deer, river otters, pheasants, turkeys, sandhill cranes, porcupines, mergansers, Canada geese and other wildlife.

During your trip, you may want to stop and see the dinosaur bones and exhibits at Dinosaur National Monument. The Dinosaur Quarry and DNM's visitor center are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center also includes a small bookstore and warm bathrooms.

Southern Utah
Cedar Valley, about four miles northwest of Cedar City

Viewing in Cedar Valley will take place from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

To reach the site, exit Interstate 15 at Exit 59, and travel west on state Route 56 to 3900 W. Turn right on 3900 W., and travel north to 2800 N. The viewing site is at 3900 W. and 2800 N.

Get a close look

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says spotting scopes will be available at each viewing site so you can get a good look at the eagles. "Biologists and volunteers will also be on hand to help you spot the eagles and to answer your questions," he says.

You can also pick up a bald eagle poster and information about bald eagles and wildlife watching and birding opportunities in Utah. The poster and information will be available for free, or for a small cost.

The best time to attend

The best time to see eagles on Feb. 9 depends on what's most important to you: staying as warm as possible or seeing more eagles!

If staying warm is most important, attend late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Walters says the warmer temperatures during this time of the day are especially important if you bring young children with you.

Late morning and early afternoon is also the best time to get a clear view of the eagles.
If you want to see the greatest number of eagles — with fairly good light conditions and reasonably warm temperatures — attend between 2 and 4 p.m.

After 4 p.m., eagles at many of the viewing locations will start flying to trees to roost for the night.

"If you want to see the greatest number of eagles," Walters says, "mid to late afternoon is usually the best time to attend."

Items to bring

If you attend Bald Eagle Day, dress in warm clothes and bring waterproof boots. Also, if you want to take photos of the eagles, bring a telephoto lens.

"The eagles will be a fair distance from the viewing areas," Walters says.

Utah's most popular viewing event

Walters started Bald Eagle Day in 1990 as a way to introduce people to Utah's wildlife.

"I started Bald Eagle Day because I wanted to make people aware of the wildlife around them," Walters says. "I wanted to whet their appetite to see more."

Since it began, Bald Eagle Day has become Utah's most well attended, and one of its most enjoyed, wildlife-viewing events.

"I think the event is still accomplishing its purpose," he says.

For more information about Bald Eagle Day, call Walters at 801-209- 5326, or Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Springville, Vernal or Cedar City.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Join Park City Mountain Resort For A Taste Of Utah In NYC

If you are in the Big Apple tomorrow morning (Feb 6), stop by NBC's Today Show and meet a group from Park City Mountain Resort on a 20 foot “I Ride Park City” rail over a mountain of imported snow.

Krista Parry, the resort's director of communications, explains in this blog post:

Why are we meeting in New York City? To help NBC’s TODAY show countdown to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. February 6, 2013 is the one-year mark to the start of the 2014 games. To help celebrate, we are building a slopestyle course in New York City’s iconic Rockefeller Center, outside Studio 1A. U.S. Freestyle skiing team athletes, including Park City All Star Tom Wallisch and Bobby Brown and Keri Herman will hit the course live on the TODAY show Wednesday morning beginning at 7 a.m. Ski Slopestyle makes its Olympic debut in next year’s Sochi Winter Games, which runs February 6-23, 2014. Park City Mountain Resort will host the 2014 Olympic Freeskiing Slopestyle and Halfpipe team naming event in January 2014.

Killington Resort, in Vermont, bringing in 5 trucks full of snow for the event.

Krista gave this invitation:

If you live in the NYC area, come join us at Rockefeller Center and be a part of the action. Plus, you can meet some of the Olympic hopefuls and get pictures taken in a chairlift. The event is free and open to the public. Tweet your excitement using hashtag #Olympics2014. I hope to see you tomorrow in Rockefeller Center!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Become A Volunteer Naturalist At Great Salt Lake Nature Center

The director of the Great Salt Lake Nature Center 
is looking for volunteers to run field trips, 
workshops and nature tours this spring.
Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Do enjoy nature and wildlife? Enjoy learning about natural things and sharing that knowledge with others? If so then consider volunteering as a naturalist at the Great Salt Lake Nature Center. The center is looking for people who can help the center accommodate student field trips, staff the center on weekends and help with wildlife viewing events.

The center is located in Davis County, near the shores of the Great Salt Lake, between Salt Lake City and Ogden.

The center provided the news release below.

Volunteer at the GSL Nature Center

FARMINGTON — Do the birds, plants and wetlands around Great Salt Lake interest you? Would you like to learn more about them and then share what you learn with school kids and scout troops?
If you answered yes, the Great Salt Lake Nature Center wants you as a volunteer naturalist.

The center is just north of the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area west of Farmington.

"Our spring field trip season isn't that far away," says Diana Vos, Great Salt Lake Nature Center director. "We're looking for people to help us run field trips and nature tours. These activities happen during the day. They're a lot of fun."

Vos is also looking for volunteers to staff the nature center on weekends and to help her with special wildlife viewing events.

If you'd like to volunteer, call Vos at 801-589-2373. You can also email her at
The Great Salt Lake Nature Center is at 1700 W. Glovers Lane in Farmington. You can learn more about the center on the website.

The Farmington Bay WMA the center is part of includes 18,000 acres of prime wetland habitat. About 5 million birds, representing 200 different species, stop at the WMA during their annual migrations. About 60 species stay at the WMA to nest.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Selling The Park City Dream

Might you be interested in a nice ski bungalow? There is one for sale in the Park City area for just $21.9 million. It is a cozy “Ski Dream House,” a 13,500-square-foot home owned by the vacation rental company Resorts West that has 6 bedrooms, 15 fireplaces, a ski bar and backdoor access to DeerValley ski slopes.

The home is described in this article in the New York Times. The article talks about the recovering Park City real estate market. The focus is on how the Sundance Film Festival is used as a marketing tool to get prospective buyers to come to the resort community. It includes interesting insights about the area, describing why it is a great destination for vacationers as well as vacation home buyers.

Below are excerpts from the article.

Where else can ski enthusiasts own a home with backdoor access to the slopes at a top-notch ski resort like Deer Valley? Not in Aspen, which is surrounded mostly by public land. The sense of exclusivity has drawn a bevy of movie moguls and celebs here to Park City, from Jeffrey Katzenberg to Will Smith, who have bought multimillion-dollar ski homes in the area.

“The last few years we had to beg to get people to come” during Sundance, Mr. Benson said. “Real estate wasn’t really a hot topic. But this year that has changed. The people are actually spending money to be here. They aren’t here because they had free tickets. They are looking at high-end homes. It is 2006 all over again.”

An eight-bedroom Park City ranch sold last week for $16 million to a dot-com billionaire from California. A 63-acre estate owned by Jon Huntsman Sr., the richest man in Utah, has an interested buyer after being listed for $44 million, the highest asking price ever in Utah, said Paul Benson, a broker with Sotheby’s in Park City. A giant ski cabin that Mr. Katzenberg, the DreamWorks co-founder, commissioned some 20 years ago and used to entertain friends like Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is on the market for $20.5 million.

There is even talk from the president of Deer Valley Resort of putting in a gondola chair lift on Main Street that would give direct access to Deer Valley from downtown.

Read the entire article.
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