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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Get Away From the Crowds Over Labor Day Weekend

The Labor Day weekend will be busy in Utah - traffic will be heavy, campgrounds full and popular reservoirs will be crowded.

The Deseret Morning News reports that these State Parks still have sites available for the weekend: Antelope Island, Fremont, Green River, Huntington, Rock Cliff at Jordanelle, Kodachrome, Quail Creek, Red Fleet, Scofield, Snow Canyon, Starvation, Steinaker, Utah Lake, and Willard Bay.

The article gives tips and other information to help make the weekend enjoyable. Read the entire article.

Temperatures will be warm, breaking 100 F in southern utah and in the mid-90s in the north.

Mountain areas will have cooler temperatures (and thus draw crowds). The Mirror Lake Byway in the Uintas, with its campgrounds and small lakes, will be congested. Other areas in the Uintas will be less crowded and will offer great recreational opportunities. Try the Hoop Lake or Spirit Lake areas for great scenery, excellent camping and good fishing.

The Skyline Drive and Boulder Mountain areas will also have pleasant temperatures and will be less crowded.

Lake Powell, the reservoirs near St George and the Wasatch Front reservoirs will all be congested. Bear Lake and Flaming Gorge, Steinaker, Red Fleet and Starvation reservoirs will be good choices for people who want to play in the water.

In September, after the Labor Day crowds go home, conditions will improve at all of our recration areas. Air temperatures will moderate and so hiking will be more pleasant. With kids back in school and footballs flying, many people turn their attention from outdoor recreation, just as fishing picks up and campsites become readily available.


Fall is a great time to play in Utah.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Utah to Host 2008 US Ski Jumping Championships

First Tracks reports that the U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships will be held in Park City on March 15-16, marking the event's return to Utah's Olympic sites for the first time since 2001

The online magazine reports: "The two-day schedule on the 2002 Olympic venue at Utah Olympic Park includes jumping titles for men and women. The 134-meter large hill jumping championships are set for March 15 and the 100-meter normal hill title events the next day. The nordic combined championship, a sprint event, will include one jump on the large hill and a 7.5K race March 15 at Soldier Hollow, the Olympic cross country venue."

"These championships are a key part of the Olympic legacy, just as the cross country championships of 2005 and 2006 at Soldier Hollow were. These are outstanding venues," (Nordic Director Luke) Bodensteiner said, "and it's good we have another opportunity to make use of them. They're outstanding facilities for us in training and we use them constantly, so it's thrilling to bring a major competition to them."

Read the complete article.

Ski Passes Are Now on Sale
Passes for the 2007-08 ski season are now on sale at most Utah ski resorts. You can also buy them on resort Internet sites.

Several discounts are available to those who book early.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Utah State Fair Runs Sept 6-16

The State Fair is held at the Utah State Fairpark, located at about 1000 W North Temple in Salt Lake City. Here's a map of the park.

Organizers say the 11 days of the Fair will be "overflowing with cattle, carnival, corn dogs, cowboys and concerts- so get ready NOW for this once-a-year chance to get your fill of Fair Food and FUN!"

Grandstand entertainers include: Weird Al Yankovic on Sept 7, Tree 63 with special guest Among The Thirsty on Sept 8, Country Gold Tour on Sept 9, Grand Funk Railroad and Uncle Kracker on Sept 11, Gary Allan with special guest Whiskey Falls on Sept 12, SHeDAISY on Sept 13, Jordan Pruitt on Sept 14, Colgate Country Showdown on Sept 15, Utah's Strongest Man 2007 on Sept 16.

Other highlights are listed below. See the Fair's website for more information.

Little Hands on the Farm, Sept 6-16, 10 am - 8 pm. This is an interactive experience especially for children ages 2 to 10.

Utah's Own PRCA Rodeo, Sept 6-9

Be Ready Utah, Sept 6-9, This event is presented by the Department of Public Safety's Division of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Services, and the Utah Commission on Volunteers. It encourages people to prepare family, church, school and business against any type of natural or human caused event.

Utah Arts Council - Utah Folk Masters, Sept 8 in the Pioneer Building, If you're intrigued by people who know how to hitch horse hair into headstalls and bosals or those who can turn a side of rawhide into beautifully braided reins, don't miss Folk Masters, a day-long celebration of Utah's best traditional artists!

Gold Wing Riders Motorcycle Display, Sept 9 in the Specialty Tent

Dairy Farmers of Utah Ice Cream Festival, Sept 10 in the Specialty Tent

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus plus Utah's Funniest Kids, tryouts are Sept 8th. Finals are Sept 10th in the Pioneer Building

Patriots Day Celebration, Sept 11. Join us to honor those who selflessly serve our state and country, including all military, law enforcement, and emergency services personnel.

Demolition Derby, Sept 16 in the Who's Your Daddy Energy Drink Arena.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Springdale and Zion Canyon Offer Something for Everyone

Zion National Park is a common subject for newspaper articles. But most such articles ignore Springdale (the community adjacent to Zion's south entrance).

This article, from the local Hurricane Valley Journal, describes the town and what it offers visitors. Here are some excerpts:

"The constant flux of tourists doesn't really affect the city's feel of community," Springdale Mayor Pat Cluff said. "One of our major goals is to retain the village atmosphere."

Since Springdale is located approximately the same distance from Hurricane as Hurricane is from St. George, it is a great alternative for locals as a night out. With the Zion Canyon Giant Screen Theatre and restaurants ranging from Thai to outdoor grilling, Springdale is ideal for dinner and a movie. It has also become a great shopping destination. Some of the shop-owners will even give discounts to locals.

“I really like the shuttle bus in Springdale,” tourist Lee Wu said. “I can't walk so good and this is easy cause it stops a lot in (Springdale).”

Read the entire article.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Boating, Fishing Conditions Good on Most Utah Waters

We are now moving into the late summer period, when water levels are sometimes low at some Utah reservoirs. We are in pretty good shape this year. Boating and fishing conditions are good on most waters. But boaters need to be aware that launching conditions are difficult on a few reservoirs.

Deer Creek Reservoir and Willard Bay have low water and launch ramps are officially closed. At Deer Creek, small boats are still launching but it is "at your own risk."

The water level at Willard is so low that launching is treacherous, even for small boats. Some people are still attempting, and some are knocking props on rocks as they try to get out onto the lake.

These reservoirs also have low water and difficult launching conditions: East Canyon, Hyrum, Palisades, Quail Lake and Newton Reservoir. See the State Parks boating conditions report for details.

Campgrounds are still open at those reservoirs.

Launching conditions are good at Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge, Strawberry, Utah Lake and all other major Utah boating waters. Check locally for information about conditions on smaller waters.

Fishing is good on most Utah reservoirs and streams, and it will get better now as summer's heat wanes. Strawberry has produced excellent trout fishing all summer. Lake Powell continues to be excellent for striped bass and smallmouth bass. At Powll, stripers are now feeding on the surface and that brings on a very fun fishing opportunity.

Fly fishermen are now having great success using hoppers and other terrestrial insect patterns on the Green River, Middle Provo River and other streams.

See our latest fishing report for more information.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sundance Is More About The Outdoors Than The Indoors

The Telegraph newspaper (Macon, GA) has this interesting article on Sundance Resort, focusing on summer activities instead of skiing. Here are excerpts:

Sundance is more about the outdoors than the indoors. Wildflower glades catch my eye. I notice old-growth pines and rock outcroppings. A sparkling stream and waterfall grab attention while wooden structures blend into the forest. Only later do I realize that 95 guest cottages are scattered across the property. Where are they? Lost in the wilderness.

The village - rustic and almost pioneer in spirit - is the center point of Sundance Resort and Sundance Preserve. While we stroll through, a group of nature photographers gathers for a workshop. Mountain bikers prepare for their ride. A chairlift carries a family with young children up the hillside. "They see panoramic views of the mountains without having to hike up the slopes," says Jessie Walthers of the Sundance Preserve.

Screenwriters, playwrights and composers benefit from the laid-back atmosphere of the village. We see signs directing actors to meeting rooms, but don't really notice groups of theater and film people. That is to say, we didn't spot any celebrities. (Resort owner Robert) Redford keeps a very low profile, the staff tells me.

Welcoming, comfortable interiors make it feel as if you are his houseguest. The fine-dining restaurant, Tree Room, is a showplace for Redford's personal collection of American Indian art and Western memorabilia. Meals here and at the Foundry Grill reflect Redford's appreciation for organically grown vegetables and naturally raised meat and fowl. Mountain cuisine on the Tree Room's menu includes oven-roasted pink trout with skillet potatoes and herb-crusted rack of lamb. It has an AAA Four-Diamond rating. Guests sip drinks in the Owl Bar. Redford transported the 1890s bar from a Wyoming establishment that was patronized by Butch Cassidy's Hole-in-the Wall Gang.


Read the entire article.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Transportation Director Says Utah Bridges Are Safe

John R. Njord, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation, has written an article insuring travelers that our highway bridges are safe. Here are excerpts:

"We at the Utah Department of Transportation are saddened by the tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minnesota. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims and their families. And our sympathy and support go out to our colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, who must sort out how and why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

"Here at home, we want to assure Utahns and others who travel our state's roads that there is no cause for alarm here. Our bridges are safe.

"We are fortunate here in Utah to have strong leadership on bridge safety from state politicians, who have given us the funding we need to ensure your safety. This past legislative session alone, the governor recommended and the Legislature funded UDOT an additional $30 million for bridge repairs.

"Take care of what we have" is one of UDOT's primary strategic goals. Equally important is: "Improve safety." We are doing exactly that. When you drive across a bridge, you are entitled to the assumption that the structure is safe and sound. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that assumption is correct."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Resort Offers Discount For Moab Music Festival

The Moab Music Festival will run Aug 30-Sept 15 this year. This is the 15th season for the popular festival.

The festival offers, "Music from around the world amidst the spectacular red rock canyonlands of Moab, Utah. Each year musicians and music lovers alike, from across the country and around the world, travel to the Moab Music Festival to perform and to listen to musical masterpieces, old and new, set among some of nature's most spectacular landscape masterpieces... the red rock canyonlands."

"Performances take place in indoor and outdoor venues ranging from historic Star Hall in Moab to the banks of the Colorado River."

The Dallas Morning News reports that Sorrel River Ranch is offering discounts on lodging during the festival. Sorrel is a venue for some performances.

Read the Dallas Morning News article.

See the Sorrel River Ranch website.

The festival website includes a video sampler depicting the festival.

Monday, August 20, 2007

St George Listed As Top Adventure Town

National Geographic Adventure Magazine has released its list of Best Places to Live + Play, including St George as a top adventure town.

The magazine calls St George a "mellow desert oasis with Zion National Park right out the back door."

It continues, "The community's mix of red rocks devotees and East Coast transplants comes for the red-rock-meets-alpine setting, perpetual sun, and progressive mindset. A wholesome spirit pervades—there's just one liquor store in town—but the litany of white-knuckle activities nearby livens things up."

Read the article.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Seabase Offers Ocean-Like Dive Experience in Utah

Naturally warm, naturally salty, a spring on the edge of the Great Salt Lake offers an unusual experience for scuba diving and snorkeling. This Salt Lake Tribune article profiles the place, which is called Bonneville Seabase. Here are excerpts:

While Utahns can snorkel or scuba dive in reservoirs with decently clear water such as Lake Powell, Flaming Gorge, Fish Lake, Blue Lake or Bear Lake, the Seabase offers a unique experience. It's designed to simulate ocean dives, complete with 68 species of fish, including a pair of nurse sharks that are close to 9 feet long. There are pompano, puffers, groupers, angel fish, grunts, jacks, tangs and rabbit fish at depths as deep as 60 feet. And all this at 4,293 feet in elevation.

Divers and snorkelers from all over the world flock to this remote outpost about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City.

"People in Australia and Fiji know about us, but a lot of people in Grantsville or Tooele don't," said George Sanders, who, with Linda Nelson, owns the Seabase and the Neptune Divers shop in Salt Lake City.

Nelson said the best conditions are early in the morning when lack of divers stirring up the clay sides and bottoms of the pools helps the water clarity.


Seabase offers three pools, one of which is covered to allow for a warmer experience during winter. There are also warmwater showers, dressing rooms, a diving shop and instructional area and a snack bar.

More info

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Land Speed Records Fall at Bonneville Salt Flats

Speed Week is underway at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The New York Times has this report, under this headline:

Ford Fuel Cell Car Goes 200 M.P.H. at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Here are excerpts:

Mr. (Mujeeb) Ijaz is ecstatic: “We set the first record for fastest fuel cell electric car. We had a five-mile run. We were at 204 m.p.h. at mile four and 207 m.p.h. at the mile-five cool down line. We have Champagne going on right now. I wish you were here.”

It’s Speed Week at Bonneville, a yearly ritual of triple-digit one-upmanship across an oblivion of white salt.
One racer has already crashed at 170 m.p.h. Mr. Ijaz, manager of fuel cell vehicle engineering at Ford, and his team are running a fuel cell-powered electric car. Announced to the world in July, the Ford Hydrogen Fusion 999 is named after the car that Henry Ford drove to a land speed record in 1904. Mr. Ford went 91.37 m.p.h. This week, Mr. Ijaz’s goal was to hit 200.

Here are photos from Speed Week.

This Deseret Morning News article gave a good preview of events. Here are excerpts:

A record number of drivers preregistered for this year's event on Bonneville Salt Flats. The early count was around 520, which is about 100 more than last year.

Some suggest all this new interest is because of increased publicity on salt-flats racing. Others think it may have something to do with the movie "The World's Fastest Indian," released a few years ago, which portrays the life and Bonneville record attempts of Burt Munro of New Zealand in the 1950s.

The next event at Bonneville will be the annual World of Speed, Sept 12-15.

This website has good information about Salt Flats racing and events.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Utah Job Growth Tops Nation, Economy Is Very Strong

Utah's major newspapers report stronger than expected job growth in July - keeping the state's economy strong. Our state continually ranks high for lifestyle and business environment.

Here are excerpts from the Salt Lake Tribune article:

Utah's stellar rate of job creation, which should have slowed down by now, crept up again in July.

Utah created 56,800 jobs in the year that ended in July, for an employment growth rate of 4.7 percent, up from 4.5 percent for the year that ended in June, the Utah Department of Workforce Services reported.

Arizona is a distant second to Utah, with job growth of 3.2 percent. The national average? A paltry 1.3 percent, by comparison, down from 1.4 percent in June.

"Utah continues to have a really, really strong economy," Mark Knold, chief economist for Workforce Services, said Tuesday. "What impresses me is that our job growth is staying so high. Utah just doesn't seem vulnerable to the things that are affecting other parts of the country right now."


And here are some from the Deseret Morning News:

It may sound like a broken record, but Utah's job growth nonetheless is topping the charts.

The state's nonfarm job growth in July was 4.7 percent when compared with a year ago, and the 56,800 jobs added during that period is the best among all states, according to figures released Tuesday by the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

"I would characterize this as more of the same," said Mark Knold, chief economist for the department. "We've been sounding like a broken record this entire year in terms of the high job growth and a very low unemployment rate. So far, we're just continuing to maintain that kind of trend as we're going through 2007."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Colorful, Mystical Rock Formations Make Bryce Canyon A Hiker's Heaven

The Kansas City Star has this interesting article about hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park. Here are excerpts:

I had already noticed the preponderance of different languages as well as accents. But Bryce is pretty remote - 250 miles or more from either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. So what's the draw?

"They all come for one thing - to see these spectacular rock formations call hoodoos," (Ranger Jan) Stock said.

Just like me. Nowhere else can you find so many curious ... mystical ... otherworldly ... just how the heck do you describe these things?

Some sources say the word "hoodoo" is associated with things that cause bad luck and is a variation of the word "voodoo." Or maybe the two words are connected just because they rhyme.

The Paiute Indians who once lived here had another explanation. As told by Stock, the Paiutes said the hoodoos were the remains of the Legend People, creatures who could turn themselves from one shape to another.

The coyote grew increasingly annoyed at these very selfish beings, so he created a ruse, inviting them to a large party or banquet. When they arrived, dressed up, made up and even transformed into their favorite beings, he told them they had been tricked and turned them all into stone.

Now that's a story.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

11th Annual Park City Marathon

Park City will be hopping on Aug 25, when runners from around the country converge for the 11th annual Park City Marathon. There will also be a half-marathon event.

A new course will be used this year. It follows a scenic alpine loop past a wide variety of spectacular sights and terrain. And the course now features an eight-mile downhill finish! Both the marathon and half-marathon courses follow smooth gravel or paved bike paths for the majority of the miles, with very little traffic.

Spectators will line the route and there will be traffic congestion near the starting and finishing lines.

For more information phone 435-640-4450

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Massive Effort Underway To Rescue Trapped Miners

Crews are working frantically to rescue six people trapped in a coal mine near Huntington, a tiny community south of Price (about 146 miles southeast of Salt Lake City).

If the miners were not killed by falling debris or resulting dust, there is a good chance they will be found alive because fresh air naturally ventilates the mine, and emergency water supplies are stocked in shafts.

Huntington is bustling with activity, as rescue workers rotate in and out, heavy equipment is delivered, reporters file stories and families come together for support.

Community leaders have requested prayers on behalf of the trapped miners.

KSL TV news posts information as it becomes available. Here are excerpts from the latest report:

If all goes well, it will still take three days to reach the chamber where the miners are believed to be, he said. Even then, rescuers will have only a 2-inch hole into the chamber through which to communicate with the miners and provide them food or air, he said.

"They're digging as much as they can, even with their hands," said Julie Jones, a city councilwoman whose son, Elam, works at the mine.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fossils From Supercrocodile Found in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

An ancient crocodile, as big as a Tyrannosaurus, prowed swamps in what is now Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Paleontologists say it was so big, it snacked on 10-foot sturgeons and devoured land-dwelling dinosaurs.

The creature's jaw shape and the position of its teeth suggest the dinosaur is from a previously unidentified species and could represent a new genus category, said Alan Titus, paleontologist for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The fossil was found in an area of the Kaiparowits that had already yielded a new species of horned dinosaurs, a plant-eating hadrosaurs and a bird-like species known as a hagryphus.

The fossil is being stabalized and studied at a paleontology lab in Kanab. Eventually it will be housed at the Utah Museam of Natural History in Salt Lake, where it can be studied in more detail

The info above is taken from this KUTV news report. This Salt Lake Tribune article also describes the find.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Kimball Park City Arts Festival

At the 38th Annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival will be held this weekend at the center (638 Park Ave, Park City).

On Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 6pm, the festival features 220 artists including potters, painters, jewelry designers and more! The artwork is different every year!

Enjoy live music, all kinds of food from Greek to burgers, Utah’s Castle Creek wines and Budweiser beer gardens and a full day of fun.

Bring the kids to enjoy face painting and watch them create their own artistic masterpieces at the Kimball Kid’s Corner.

For more info see www.kimballartcenter.org/events/arts-festival/ or call 435-649-8882.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thunderstorms, Flood Potential in Southern Utah

This is the "monsoon" season in Utah, with a chance of thunderstorms most days. When rain falls on southern Utah slickrock it quickly channels into ravines and can cause dangerous flooding.

People traveling and recreating in Utah need to watch weather forecasts and avoid areas with flood danger.

A severe storm yesterday caused considerable damage in the Kolob Terrace area of Zion National Park, and around the town of Gunlock near St George. Up to three inches of water fell in the upper Zion area, sending a flash flood down North Creek. Some homes in the Staples subdivision along North Creek were damaged. The Zion River Resort, near Virgin, was evacuated. The Kolob Mountain Road was closed by mud but has now reopened.

The town of Gunlock was briefly isolated when the flood took out a bridge over the Santa Clara River. One lane over the bridge has now been reopened.

"In the 46 years that I've lived here, this is the biggest flood I've ever seen come down the North Creek," said Doug Wilson in this newspaper report. KSL TV also has a good report about the damage.

The Left Fork of North Creek runs through The Subway, which is a popular slot canyon hiking destination. In a slot, there is no way to get out of the canyon quickly in the event of a flood. Had people been in the canyon yesterday they probably would have been killed.

Access to the Subway and similar slots is by permit only and the Park Service monitors weather conditions. However, hikers need to assume responsibility for their own safety and never enter a narrow canyon when there is a change of flooding.

If you plan to hike slots in southern Utah during the next few weeks, use extreme caution and get current info from visitors' centers.

Flash floods usually become less frequent during September - that is an excellent time to hike our canyons.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Great Basin And Natural Bridges Are 'Other Gems' In National Park System

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interesting article describing places in the National Park System where you can escape the crowds. Great Basin National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument are featured on the list.

Here are excerpts:

"Getting to Great Basin isn't easy because it really is in the middle of nowhere. But if you're traveling from Zion National Park to Yosemite or Yellowstone, it's worth the slight detour. Once you arrive you can go underground via Lehman Caves, view 5,000-year-old Bristlecone pine trees, backpack along more than 60 miles of trails, or try your luck with some of the park's brook, brown, rainbow and even cutthroat trout. "

"Utah 95 is known as the "Trail of the Ancients" due to the widespread presence of Anasazi, or Ancestral Puebloans, who lived here on the Colorado Plateau from roughly A.D. 500 to 1300. Natural Bridges, created to protect three stone bridges formed by rushing waters, also counts roughly 500 archaeological sites within its borders. Throughout the surrounding two-million-plus acres of public lands, much of which are either administered by the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management, are literally thousands of other ruins and artifacts."

"Natural Bridges' heavily treed, 13-site campground lies on a small rise near the middle of the monument. Wrapping it are two deep, sandstone canyons that flood waters sculpted over the ages. In doing so, they created three of the world's largest natural bridges: 268-foot-wide Sipapu, 180-foot-wide Owachomo and 204-foot-wide Kachina. The overhanging cliffs also house the Horsecollar Ruins, the remains of dwellings abandoned roughly 700 years ago."

Read the entire article.
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