Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Monday, April 30, 2007

Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry Gets New Exhibits and Larger Visitor Center

The visitor center at Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry has been enlarged and rededicated, opening new public exhibits. The quarry is located about 30 miles south of Price, on the edge of the San Rafael Swell.

Here are excerpts from a Deseret Morning News article about the event.

"On Saturday (4-28), the Bureau of Land Management rededicated the quarry's visitor center, filled with new exhibits and double the size of the original 1968 structure. About 110 attended, despite the necessity of traveling the final 12 miles on a dirt road."

"About 20,000 dinosaur bones have been found at Cleveland-Lloyd, and undoubtedly more are waiting to be excavated. By far most are those of the meat-eating allosaurus, a two-ton, up to 35-foot-long monster with serrated teeth. But also found are bones of the carnivorous ceratosaurus; camptosaurus, a lumbering elephant of a plant-eater; and camarasaurus, a long-necked vegetarian."

Here are excerpts from this Salt Lake Tribune article on the rededication:

"In this remote tourist attraction, skulls of the long-necked Diplodocus and armor-plated Stegosaurus emerge from stone mounts on the walls. An Allosaurus skeleton - extracted largely from the Emery County quarry - turns its gaping jaws upward as if to attack."

"Its bones - mostly from the meat-eating Allosaurus - have traveled to museums in Japan, Turkey, France, Kuwait and a handful of other countries."

"This is a world-class site," said Paleontology Coordinator Michael Leschin.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lake Powell is Paradise for Fishermen Right Now

Striped bass are hungry; they aggressively hit lures and take baits at many locations around Lake Powell. Smallmouth bass, largemouth, bluegill, crappie, walleye and channel catfish are also biting well.

The Deseret Morning News has this article describing the action. Here are excerpts:

Boats are pulling into the marinas after a few hours of fishing with large ice chests brimming with four-pound fish.

(DWR biologist Wayne) Gustaveson said he expects this to be a banner year for largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye and bluegill.

"We've already had a couple of bass tournaments. A few years ago you could win a tournament with a combined weight of five fish of seven pounds. It went up to 12 pounds last year and this year it's up to 17 and 18 pounds for five fish. That's an average of more than three pounds a fish, and that's great."

Gustaveson updates a fishing report with specific info on how and where to catch fish in Lake Powell. Read it here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kanab to Host 'Amazing Earthfest' and Greyhound Gathering

Activities designed to help people reconnect with the earth will be held during a May 21-26 'Amazing Earthfest' celebration in and around Kanab, in southern Utah. This Deseret Morning News article provided details:

"Among the events planned during the festival are a sunset photo clinic and nature walk at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, dinosaur talks and exhibits at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and a special bird display at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Angel Canyon."

"We want this festival to appeal to everyone," said Csenge in a phone interview from his Maine home. "It's designed to appeal to every sort of recreation that people do nowadays, and we want the festival to focus on educating people about the landscape. It will be one of the finest opportunities for people to rediscover their relationship with the land."

Read the complete article.


Greyhound Gathering

The Kane County Office of Tourism provided the following news release:

The greatest gathering of retired racing greyhounds in the Western US is taking place in Kanab, Utah May 3 - 5. Four hundred ex-racing greyhounds, and the families who adopted them, are traveling days to Kanab to join in the seventh annual Greyhound Gathering - Kanab 2007 organized by Utah's own Greyhound Gang.

Founder Claudia Presto says, "This is a spectacle and celebration like no other. We have hundreds of happy rescued racing hounds, and the humans who have opened their hearts and homes, coming together to celebrate the joys of greyhound love."

Saturday, May 5th features the traffic stopping parade, the crazy Carnival booths just for the hounds, and the blazing Blur of Fur, where hounds chase their humans while being clocked by radar.

It's also a chance to see how this elegant, centuries old breed has made a difference in the lives of the people who have adopted them. More information at http://www.greyhoundgang.org/.

Plan a visit to one of the great vacation destinations located near Kanab. Best Friends Animal Society is located five miles north of Kanab and is well known for their efforts to rescue animals after the Hurricanes last year. Zion National Park is only 40 minutes away and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in just over an hour drive from Kanab. Lake Powell is less than two hours away and Bryce Canyon National Park is a little over an hour from Kanab.

Contact the Kane County Office of Tourism for more vacation information at 435-644-5033 or online at www.kaneutah.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Battle For Control of Public Land in Utah

The LA Times recently ran this article on the fight to control public land in Utah. Now, the story is being picked up and carried by a number of news outlets around the country.

The article's lead paragraph is intriguing, albeit a bit sensational:

"It's a small gesture of defiance - a narrow metal bridge that allows off-road vehicles illegal access to this archeologically rich canyon. But the modest structure, built by San Juan County officials on U.S. government land, is a symbol of the widespread local resistance to federal authority across much of southern Utah's magnificent countryside."

The article is interesting, from my perspective as a native of rural Utah. I hope it helps stir dialog, but don’t think it accurately depicts what is going on here.

The vast majority of land in Utah is public - owned by the federal government. And there has long been a struggle over what to do with pieces of that land (whether to allow cattle grazing, mining and development, or whether to ban motorized travel and preserve the land as wilderness).

The outcome of this struggle will affect the lifestyle of folks living in nearby areas, along with recreational opportunities and tourism.

The battle does not really pit rural Utah against the federal government. Rather, people who favor development and motorized recreation (particularly ATV use) are opposed to those who want to control off-road travel and preserve wilderness values. There are people on all sides of that argument living in rural Utah, and also staffing government offices. The article makes it sound as if the BLM is a champion of conservation, and that is often not the case.

Virtually everyone favors preserving land that has true wilderness value. The question centers on where you draw the lines – what parcels are included and what are not – and who makes those decisions.

Some in rural Utah argue they should have a major say in decisions regarding this land, since the outcome will have a great impact on their lives. Others argue that southern Utah is a national treasure belonging to all of us – that its significance far outweighs local interests.

There is truth to both those arguments.

The article includes this ridiculous statement: Settlers, on the other hand, have been famously indifferent to the scenery. "A hell of a place to lose a cow," is how 19th century homesteader Ebenezer Bryce is said to have described the labyrinthine landscape now known as Bryce Canyon National Park.

Yes, Ebenezer Bryce made that statement. But that doesn’t mean he was indifferent to the scenery. He chose to make his home there because he loved the landscape.

Utahns love this land. Always have, from the earliest settlers to the present day. That’s why we live here. We want a voice in how it is managed. But we aren’t in full revolt against the government.

And, believe it or not, opinions here range across the spectrum, from environmentalist to ATV driving rugged individualist.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the years.

- Dave Webb

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

St George Tops List of Inc Magazine Boomtowns

An Inc Magazine list of top boomtowns includes several Utah cities, with St George topping the overall ranking. The list was based largely on job growth. The Utah cities listed are also attractive because they offer positive lifestyles and have a large diversity of nearby recreational opportunities.

The excerpts below are from a Deseret Morning News article describing the ranking:

"In the magazine's May issue, St. George took the No. 1 spot on the overall list of 393 cities. The magazine also listed its choices for the Top 20 large, midsize and small boomtown cities, based on employment growth rates over the past six years. St. George tops the list of small cities — those with populations of less than 150,000."

"Michael Shires, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, compiled the rankings for the magazine. Other Utah cities that ranked within the top 100 on the overall list include Provo/Orem, Logan, Ogden/Clearfield and Salt Lake City."

Here’s a quote from the Inc Magazine article:

"The top performers should be familiar to any observer of recent economic trends--or, for that matter, any reader of Inc.'s previous lists. This year's top large, medium, and small cities--Las Vegas; Fort Myers, Florida; and overall leader St. George, Utah, respectively--all were No. 1 or 2 in their categories last year. Other top spots--Phoenix; Sarasota; Reno; Salt Lake City; Bend, Oregon; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho--have been sizzling for some time now."

Here's the full list of cities

Monday, April 23, 2007

Laura Bush To Attend Zion Park Celebration

Travel in the Zion National Park area may be a little hectic on Sunday, with First Lady Laura Bush visiting to participate in a rededication ceremony for the park’s nature center.

The Salt Lake Tribune gives details:

"First lady Laura Bush plans to exchange the hectic world of politics and the confines of the White House for the towering beauty of Zion National Park later this month, where she will take part in the rededication of the park's historic nature center."

"The White House Press Office said Friday the first lady will be in Utah's busiest national park on April 29 for the 2 p.m. ceremony for the center that underwent renovations beginning in 2005 to make the building usable year-round."

"The announcement of her visit was in conjunction with a declaration by President Bush on Friday making this Sunday through April 29 National Park Week."

Read the entire article.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Earth Day Activities Around Utah

People around Utah will celebrate Earth Day by participating in a wide variety of activities, including some where volunteers will labor to repair environmental damage. Other events will focus on educating people to live in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Earth Day is actually Sunday, but many of the activities will be held on Saturday. Here are a couple samples taken from this newspaper article.

Near Logan, a group will labor to block ATV access to illegal trails in the Mt. Naomi Wilderness Area.

In Moab from noon until 4 p.m. Saturday, "Chalk One Up!" will host a festival at Millcreek Parkway. According to the Earth Day Network, this is a "community celebration encouraging healthy habits and habitats for humans and our animal companions. Event sponsored by Moab Arts Council, city of Moab, Humane Society of Moab Valley and others."

In Salt Lake City, Hogle Zoo will throw a "Party for the Planet" on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm, with a talk by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and activities such as recycling paper and learning about hybrid cars. Admission is $1 off that day for anyone bringing in 12 aluminum cans or one no-longer-needed cell phone.

Read the entire article.

Also see these articles:
Desert Greens to participate in Earth Day celebration in Salt Lake
Youth gardeners to celebrate Earth Day
Several Events Planned for Earth Day
Shed light on Earth Day with CFL bulbs
Celebrate Earth Day Sunday — take a walk

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Utah Ski Season Was A Near Record

Spring snow is falling on northern Utah mountains, and Snowbird is still open to accommodate skiers. That resort plans to stay open daily through April 30, and may be open some days into May if conditions permit.

Alta will re-open this weekend (April 20-22), then shut down for the season.

Other resorts are now closed.

With numbers still coming in, Ski Utah reports that we are "on track to come close to last season‘s record attendance figure of more than 4 million skier days."

Snowfall was down this year, but resorts managed to maintain good conditions and the skiers responded. Here are excerpts from a report on KUTV:

"It's no secret that Mother Nature didn't fully cooperate," said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, during the group's annual end of season report.

"Park City Mountain Resort had about 250 inches of natural snow this season compared with 486 inches the previous season. Utah's northern resorts see an average of about 400 inches of snowfall each season - more than 30 feet of snow."

Read the full report.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Grand Canyon North Rim Will Open May 15th

Hwy 67 SnowThe North Rim of the Grand Canyon will open for visitors on May 15th. That includes Hwy 67 (the main access road), campgrounds, lodging facilities, trail rides and ranger services.

The National Park Service provided this news release announcing the opening. Here’s an excerpt:

All services provided by the National Park Service including the Visitor Center, Grand Canyon Association bookstore, backcountry permit reservations, and campground will be available on May 15th at 12:00 noon. The first ranger program for the season will be offered on the back porch of the lodge at 4 pm on Wednesday, May 16th. The first evening program of the season will be held in the lodge auditorium at 8 pm on Friday, May 18th.

The main access to the North Rim is out of Kanab, UT. Cowboy Ted Hallisey, Executive Director Kane County Office of Tourism, suggested we run the photo to show why the North Rim is closed during winter.

The South Rim is open year-round.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Article Says Utah State Parks Are Treasures

Utah's natural wonders — State parks are truly treasures

That’s the headline for a new article in the Deseret Morning News featuring Utah’s 42 state parks. This is the 50th anniversary of the Utah park system.
Here are excerpts:

Looking down the list of parks, it should be noted that each has its own distinct personality or special feature.

As examples, Antelope Island has its buffalo, Coral Pink Sand Dunes has acres of soft sand, Goblin Valley has hundreds of odd formations, Dead Horse Point has one of the most beautiful views anywhere, This Is the Place has its history and Deer Creek, Rockport, East Canyon, Scofield and Piute, to name a few, have reservoirs.

On the list of America's "Top 100 Family Campgrounds," six of 3,000 reviewed were Utah parks — Antelope Island, Bear Lake, Dead Horse Point, Red Fleet, Wasatch Mountain and Willard Bay.

The list was compiled from information gathered from park rangers, regional park managers and campers who took the time to write in testimonials and ratings.

Selection was based on "family-friendly criteria" ranging from educational programs, visitor centers, camping amenities and overall beauty and scenery.

Read the complete article.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AAA Utah Four Diamond Award Winners

24 Utah restaurants and hotels have earned the prestigious Four Diamond rating from AAA Utah.

"Our evaluators not only look for luxurious surroundings but also consider the level of service these establishments provide for their guests," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "A Four Diamond rating ensures the recipient understands customer satisfaction. Guests can expect a memorable and enjoyable experience with superior personal service, first-class amenities, and impressive surroundings in any Four Diamond restaurant or hotel."

The 2007 Utah Four Diamond Award recipients are:

Restaurants:
Simons at Homestead Resort, Midway
Blue Boar Restaurant, Midway
Goldener Hirsch Restaurant, Park City
The Glitretind, Park City
The Tree Room, Sundance
Log Haven, Salt Lake City
La Caille, Salt Lake City
Metropolitan, Salt Lake City

Lodgings:
Homestead Resort, Midway
Blue Boar Inn, Midway
Johnson Mill Bed and Breakfast, Midway
Invited Inn, Midway
Sunflower Hill Luxury Inn, Moab
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa
, Moab
Silver King Hotel, Park City
The Grand Summit Resort Hotel, Park City
Hotel Park City, Park City
Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Salt Lake City
Hilton Salt Lake City Center, Salt Lake City
Hotel Monaco, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Marriott City Center, Salt Lake City
Coyote Inn at Green Valley Resort and Spa, St. George
Skyridge Inn Bed and Breakfast, Torrey

"Competition for the Four Diamond Award is heavy," said Fairclough. "Each year AAA inspects over 50,000 establishments throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Only 3 percent of the lodgings and fewer than 4 percent of the restaurants receive a Four Diamond Award." Only a small fraction of the thousands of hotels, resorts, and restaurants meet AAA's demanding criteria for high levels of service and luxurious surroundings. AAA's rating system is the only one that covers all of North America, including Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as Canada and all 50 states. To be considered for AAA approval and rating, lodgings and restaurants undergo a thorough inspection by one of AAA's full time professional evaluators.

AAA's rating system of one to five diamonds is published in the AAA TourBooks and is designed to help members know what to expect from restaurants and lodgings, from range of services to price.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Utah State Parks Host GPS Treasure Hunt

A GPS treasure hunt is underway at state parks in Utah, to celebrate the state park system’s 50th anniversary.

The Salt Lake Tribune has details in this article. Here are excerpts:

"The agency has begun a geocaching contest that enables park visitors to use their own or borrowed global positioning systems (GPS) to find boxes containing prizes such as special commemorative 50th anniversary coins, bracelets and other trinkets hidden in 40 state parks."

"The boxes containing the treasures might be found anywhere inside a park. Three are on water and can be reached only by boat."

"To participate in Utah's program, treasure hunters first will log on to http://www.geocaching.com/ and put "Utah State Parks" in the site's search box. That will provide a list of longitude and latitude coordinates for geocaches at each of the park sites in Utah. Then, either by using their own GPS devices or borrowing one of 80 free devices available at state parks, participants can use the coordinates to find the boxes containing the treasures."

"At Antelope Island, for example, manager Ron Taylor said those trying to find the treasure must follow instructions that will lead to four different clues, which then must be unscrambled to find the actual site."

Read the complete article.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Topaz WWII Internment Camp Designated National Historic Landmark

A desolate field in southern Utah has been designated a National Historic Landmark, marking the spot where some 8,100 Japanese-Americans were forcibly interned during World War II.

The people were not charged with any crime, not tried in any court, but were held behind barbed wire fences and guarded by armed soldiers. At the time, Topaz was one of the largest communities in Utah, with all of those people packed into an area of only about one square mile.

The site is located west of Delta, in the Great Basin Desert. The Topaz Museum has been established to preserve its history. An educational “pilgrimage” to the site will be held on June 30, 2007. Here's more info about that event.

The information below was taken from Deseret Morning News and Salt Lake Tribune newspaper articles about the new designation. This website has a map and other info about the site.

“The guard towers, armed soldiers watching residents, barracks, mess halls and shops are gone. But among the desert brush are many remnants, such as concrete building foundations, broken crockery, rocks used to outline small gardens and wooden signs designating blocks of barracks.

“A flagpole and monuments just outside the camp's boundary help tell the story of Topaz. Visitors are allowed to drive the roads through camp, but are asked not to pick up any of the pieces of broken glass or other relics.

“The camp, now mainly a windswept field, was used during the war to jail Japanese-Americans and recent immigrants as racial fears increased; nine other camps also held those of Japanese descent during the war and five of those have earned a similar historic designation.

"Most of the residents of Topaz were from northern California, especially the San Francisco Bay area," says the department's release. "More professional artists were confined at Topaz than at any other camp."

“To Grace Oshita, who was dragged from her San Francisco home at 17 and spent three years at the rural Utah camp, the recognition as a national landmark is an important distinction she hopes will help future generations recall the infamous policy. "A mistake like that if you know about it, it might not happen again," says Oshita, now 82 and living in Salt Lake City.

"But so many don't know what we went through."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Exclusive Luxury Hotels in the American West

4hoteliers.com carries an interesting article on luxury lodging properties that provide a true Western Americana experience, based on information from Luxury Travel Magazine.

"These exclusive luxury logdings provide authentic American West experiences in the USA's most breathtaking surroundings," it begins.

Moab's Sorrel River Ranch leads the list. "On this verdant oasis, you live in cabin-style luxury suites with rustic wood furniture, traditional fireplaces, wooden deck porches and huge log-built beds. The astounding landscape abounds with adventures -- you can ride trails on horseback or by four-wheel drive, mountain bike or hiking. You can raft or kayak down the Colorado River, or explore nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, or simply gasp at the awesome red cliffs."

Sundance Resort is also listed. "The natural scenery is unmatched, and activities are abundant in every season. The famous arts community developed by Robert Redford is also a full-service, year-round recreation area with eco-friendly, subtle yet luxurious accommodations."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring's the Best Time to Visit Our Desert National Parks

smartertravel.com has a beautiful photo essay on America’s SW national parks, along with tips on what to do during a spring visit. Here are a couple excerpts:

“Spring may be a cool, wet, muddy season in many parts of the U.S., but it's the perfect time to visit the desert parks of the U.S. Southwest. Early in the year, many parks famed for their hellish summer heat are downright temperate...”

“Plus, some parks such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce receive fewer visitors in the spring than summer, making it easier to get around and make bookings.”

Read the entire article, which features nine parks and one national monument.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tabernacle On Temple Square Reopens After Renovation

The Tabernacle on Temple Square is now open to the public, after having been closed for months for remodeling. The building is home to the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a key attraction on Temple Square, which is Utah's top tourist attraction. (Temple Square draws more tourists than our national parks.)

Free public concerts are once again being offered in the Tabernacle.

Seismic retrofitting was a key reason for the renovation. The original building would probably have sustained considerable damage in even a moderate earthquake, but it now meets or exceeds modern codes.

Numerous news stories have been published about the reopening. Here are excerpts from a NY Times article:

"The tabernacle's famed acoustics, which legend has it enabled a listener to a hear a pin drop from 250 feet away, were measured before the renovation began, modeled on computers and then assessed again recently, said Roger P. Jackson, the project's lead architect. Mr. Jackson said he expected the building's enveloping sound would be preserved."

"The wooden roof trusses have been girded with steel. The roof’s 44 stone support piers have new steel and concrete reinforcements. Fourteen layers of paint, including one of bird’s-egg blue, were removed from the ceiling. The rostrum, where nearly 100 church leaders sit facing the audience during religious services, can now be lowered with a hydraulic lift and replaced with a stage for an orchestra."

Read the complete Times Article.

Also see these articles:
What's changed at Tabernacle?
Photo gallery of the remodeled Mormon Tabernacle
A Tabernacle for the ages
Mormon tabernacle done

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