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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

See Our New Moab Pages

At utah.com, we have expanded and improved our Moab section, adding a tremendous amount of new information and photographs.

See the new pages here: www.utah.com/moab/

We are slowly going through each section of our website, adding new content as we also improve the organization and usability of the site. So far we've improved these sections: Park City, Salt Lake City, St George and now Moab. We are also working to improve our national park pages.

We are working with photographers to get new images on the site. We're adding photo galleries for each major destination. We'll also be adding more video clips.

We are also working to post more information about hiking trails. We are putting trail information into a database so it is easy to manage, and also easy for readers to find. We now have comprehensive information about virtually all maintained trails in the national parks and we are working hard to add popular trails outside of the parks.

In addition to good information, we also want to have photos and video clips showing popular trails. We are adding those things as rapidly as we can.

We welcome comments and suggestions as we work to improve this website.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FrontRunner Train Eases Travel Between Salt Lake And Ogden

It looks like Utah's new FrontRunner commuter rail service will be popular, and will help ease travel between Ogden and Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

"UTA is expecting about 6,000 daily riders once people start paying fares on Thursday. But the initial rush of riders has been encouraging, Bohnsack-Ware said.

UTA continues to work out kinks with FrontRunner's free wireless Internet access, which has been spotty in the first days. The system should be fully functional within a week, Bohnsack-Ware said."

The Deseret Morning News reports:

Utah Transit Authority officials are hailing today as a day of success for FrontRunner, the just-opened commuter rail line between Ogden and Salt Lake City.

"It's better than expected today," Bohnsack-Ware said.

See UTA's map and schedules for FrontRunner

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ride 'Em, Cowgirl In Utah

The London Times looked at the best travel articles it published during the past year and selected 10 all American travel stories.

At number 3 on the list, "Ride 'em, cowgirl in Utah."

With a favorable exchange rate, the paper says interest is high in travelling to the US. Writer Lisa ter Haar describes her family adventure. Here's her introduction:

"There’s a time to be born, a time to die, and a time to walk on the wild side and spend 10 days in the cowboy state of Utah on a cattle drive, eating dust like the early American settlers. The mothers among them would have been lucky to see a half century, given childbirth and heavy labour.

"But, 150 years on, as a fiftysomething financially independent single mother of two teenagers, I aimed to “cowboy up” and move 810 Angus cattle 100 miles from their summer grazing south of Alton to the north rim of the Grand Canyon."

Read the complete article.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nonstop Flights From Utah to Amsterdam and Tokyo?

The mega-merger of Delta and Northwest airlines may expand international travel options, possibly allowing nonstop frights from Utah to Amsterdam and Tokyo.

Delta has already committed to a flight between Salt Lake and Paris, beginning on June 2.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article on possibilities arising because of the merger. Below are excerpts.

Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive officer, and Ed Bastian, president of the Atlanta-based carrier, met with Salt Lake-based employees, government officials and LDS Church leaders during a daylong series of appearances that culminated four days of meetings around the country to drum up support for the merger.

"Amsterdam is Northwest's gateway throughout Europe, and we've connected Salt Lake to Paris. We haven't run the numbers, but I think there is a possibility that when we do run the numbers, we are going to see Salt Lake-to-Amsterdam also works," Bastian told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Bastian said a route to Tokyo's Narita International Airport also is possible but presents a bigger challenge. Delta would need a bigger, more expensive jet to reach Japan from Salt Lake, possibly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is scheduled to enter service in 2009.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival will run May 15-19, 2008.

The festival provides a chance for people to learn about and see a wide range of birds and animals. It includes workshops, displays, field trips and other activities. Hawkwatch International will conduct one workshop. The festival is centered at the Davis County Events Center, 151 South 1100 West, Farmington, Utah.

The wetlands around the Great Salt Lake are important habitat for migrating birds, and also local populations. Festival field trips go to wetland sites, and also to other productive birding sites around the region.

The keynote speaker this year will be Bruce Thompson, a natural science education specialist. Writer Rosalie Winard will be a special guest at the festival.

See the festival website for more details.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lake Powell Offers Hot Spring Fishing

Fishing success is excellent at Lake Powell right now and the fast action should continue for the next several weeks.

Striped bass, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are the most popular game fish in the big lake, and action is great for all of them right now. Walleye, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish are also commonly caught.

Striped bass are over-abundant in the lake and anglers are encouraged to harvest them to help keep the predator-prey balance healthy. They are easy to catch right now and people are filling up coolers in a hurry. 100-fish days are common.

The striped bass are concentrated near the dam, along sheer cliffs in the main channel, and in the backs of canyons. People are catching them all over the lake.

Smallmouth and largemouth are nesting in rocks spots coming into shallow water. Anglers often catch them working crank baits or jigs near shore.

Small shad are the primary forage fish in the lake. Cast a Rapala or other shad-imitating lure near rocks or brush in the back of a canyon and you may catch any of the game fish in the lake.

The spring air temperature at Powell is great right now - it will be pushing into the 80s (F) during the next weeks. The water temperature is still cool (55-65 deg F). People are starting to ski and play in the water, but most are wearing some kind of insulated suite. By June the water will be delightful.

We are updating our fishing report weekly, so watch it for timely info about fishing around Utah.

For specific info on Powell, this report has excellent information. That site also has this page with catch reports.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Huge Snowpack Will Bring Great Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting will be exceptional in Utah this season, thanks to the massive snowpack on the mountains above the Colorado and Green rivers. The snow is now melting, raising river levels, setting the stage for great adventure in late May and early June.

Holidayextras.co.uk has this article about the upcoming season. Here are tidbits:

Ski enthusiasts have enjoyed an outstanding ski season and once the snow melts there will be no stopping the Colorado River, particularly in Utah where there are no dams to control the released water.

According to US adventure specialists
Tag-A-Long Expeditions, such high water only occurs about once every ten years. They expect the Colorado River to peak between 12 May and 16 June 2008. The company is offering various rafting packages to Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. The 100 mile journey between Moab, Utah and Lake Powell takes in 28 Grand Canyon style rapids.

Now's the time to book river trips.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Moab Outdoor Photography Symposium

Top nature and landscape photographers will share tips at the annual Moab Outdoor Photography Symposium, scheduled to run May 1-4. Workshops are filling up so interested people should register immediately.

The Rocky Mountain News has this new article on the symposium. Here are excerpts:

The fifth annual Moab Outdoor Photography Symposium is coming up May 1-4, and it's a pleasant blend of outdoor workshops and indoor seminars and presentations. Expert photographers inspire with their work and their words. And the seminar topics offer guidance and tips for novices as well as more technically savvy shooters.

The symposium also allows for lots of feedback on your own work, which you can show in the participants' exhibit and/or present digitally to your fellow seminar members.

When: May 1-4
Cost: $125 for the seminar, $50 per workshop class, limited to 12 people each. Some are already full.
Where: Moab Art and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North, Moab, Utah
Info: Bruce Hucko, photographer and symposium director, 435-259-4176

See the event website for more details.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Salt Lake Marathon Coming April 19th

The Salt Lake Marathon will take place on Saturday, beginning at 7 am at the University of Utah. The course winds south along the eastern side of Salt Lake Valley to 6200 South and then comes north along Van Winkle and 500 E to end at Liberty Park.

There will be road closures and other restrictions along the route. (See route map.)

Listed Among 12 New Favorite Marathons
The Salt Lake City Marathon was among the 12 new favorites listed by Runner's World in their January 2005 Marathon Guide: "Small Wonders: Big Fun, Big Scenery, Big Rewards." January's Competitor Magazine and Rocky Mountain Sports Magazine cited the Salt Lake City Marathon as "Best Race at Altitude."

Quality of Life Expo
In conjunction with the marathon, a Quality of Life Expo will be held Thursday & Friday at the Salt Palace Convention Center. It will feature a variety of vendors specializing in running related gear, training programs, latest technology, race opportunities, nutrition, race clinics, guest appearances, and much more.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Compromise May Help Settle Southern Utah Wilderness Battle

The decades-old battle over land use in southern Utah may be a step closer to settlement, with organizations on all sides showing support for a new bill defining management of federal land near St George.

Environmental groups have long pushed to have large parcels of land designated as federally protected wilderness. Many other groups oppose such a designation because it would prohibit construction of new roads and block development, including oil and mining activities.

The two sides have been deadlocked for years, not willing to even consider compromise. But this new bill is gaining a broad base of support. The Deseret Morning News reports on the bill in this article. Below are excerpts.

"After five years at the table with all interested stakeholders, Congressman (Jim) Matheson and I have produced a bill that successfully strikes a balance between conservation and growth in Washington County," (Senator Bob) Bennett said in a statement. "Parties on all sides of this debate have repeatedly told me it would be impossible to broker a deal on this emotional issue which, for decades, has caused people to dig in their heels. The persistence we've applied now appears to be paying off as our bill has gained extremely diverse support and a very good chance of passing."

264,394 acres of land would be added to the National Wilderness Preservation System, increasing the amount of wilderness acreage in the county from 3.5 percent to 20.5 percent.

The creation of two National Conservation Areas to provide 140,000 acres for the protected desert tortoise, as well as recreational uses.

A proposed utility corridor for the Lake Powell pipeline and a northern transportation corridor are not included, although Bennett said these changes could be made through the administration.

Designation of 165 miles of the Virgin River as a Wild and Scenic River, the first one in Utah.

"It is going to change the landscape of southwestern Utah," he (Washington County Commission Chairman Jim Eardley) said. "We are going to protect the off-highway routes we already have and will try to respect and protect the mining claims. We also hope to ensure the transportation and utility route rights-of-way are maintained. We need to do that in order to manage our growth."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hike Devils Canyon and the San Rafael Knob

I enjoyed a fun hike last weekend, although it was more strenuous than expected and I'm still sore. It was great to get out into the desert, work the muscles and breath clean, crisp air.

We hiked up Devils Canyon and then tried to climb the San Rafael Knob (the highest point in the San Rafael Swell). Tried but failed because we were turned back by snow and ice.

It doesn't snow much in the Swell, and the little that falls is usually gone by the end of March, but this year has been cold and wet and there were still patches in shady spots. And patches of ice on the slickrock. To ascend the Knob you have to cross a narrow shelf half-way up the sandstone dome. There is nothing to hang onto and the mountain drops almost vertically below you.

It is a short stretch, usually no big deal, but we allowed the ice to scare us away. We probably could have made it. But "probably" made me uncomfortable. If we "almost certainly" could have made it we would have conquered the dome that day.

Going up is usually easy. Coming down, with gravity adding momentum to every step, it would have been dicey. We almost certainly could have made it up, and we probably could have made it down. But we choose caution and turned back.

Devils Canyon is a beautiful labyrinth just south of I-70, on the west side of the Swell. It contains several narrow sections that are fun to explore. You get into the canyon by taking Exit 114 (Moore cutoff), driving over Justensen Flats and then dropping down into the canyon.

The road into the canyon is extremely rough. If you have a 4X4 vehicle modified for off-road, you can drive to the bottom. In our stock four-wheel drive pickup, we parked halfway down the cliff and walked to the bottom.

You can go up or down the canyon and enjoy great narrows. Going up (east) the canyon swings around near the base of the Knob, so it is easy to combine the canyon and dome into a loop hike.

The Knob gives incredible views of the surrounding countryside. By hiking the slot canyon together with the slickrock dome, you get a good sense of what the San Rafael Swell has to offer. The scenery is comparable to that found in Utah's famous national parks.

The old jeep roads in this area have been opened to ATV riders, and they are becoming very popular. If you are good on an ATV you can ride almost to the base of the Knob. Reaching the top from there it would be a short but strenuous adventure hike.

We have more details and maps showing these areas:
Devils Canyon
San Rafael Knob

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Utah Ski Season Winds Down

We are now closing out the 07/08 ski season, and it has been great by every count. Numbers are still coming in but everyone expects that we've set new records.

Snowbird plans to offer daily skiing through May 11, and then Friday-Sunday through Memorial Day. The 'Bird is famous for prolonging the spring season, and it may stay open longer if we keep getting cold storms.

Other resorts will close during the next couple weeks. Alta will offer skiing daily through April 13, and will re-open for the April 18-20 weekend before shutting down its lifts.

Tentative closing dates are given below, as provided by Ski Utah.
Alta 4/13 + 18-20
Brian Head 4/13
Beaver 3/29
Brighton 4/20
Canyons 4/13
Deer Valley 4/13
PCMR 4/13
Powder 4/20
Snowbasin 4/20
Snowbird 5/26 (Open Fri-Sun only after May 11)
Solitude 4/13
Sundance 4/5
Wolf Mountain 4/12

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Moab Festival of Cultures

Moab will host a unique festival to celebrate the various cultures found in southwestern Utah. The press release below gives detais.

MOAB, Utah—The Moab Valley Multicultural Center hosts the inaugural Festival of Cultures on May 2-4, 2008 on Center Street in downtown Moab. This event celebrates the wide variety of cultures in the Four Corners region and will feature educational speakers and films, a street fair, cultural dance, music and performance art, festival booths and even a parade. This community cultural event begins at 3:45 p.m. on Friday and will conclude around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Several guest speakers and films will explore topics of multicultural values and perspectives. Scheduled to appear are Lucille Hunt, a noted Navajo storyteller; Tony Yapias, former director of Utah's Office of Hispanic Affairs and editor/publisher of UtahLatinos.com; and Yukio Kachi, retired professor of philosophy and multicultural scholar. Three films that highlight the similarities and differences within cultures will also be shown: Cartas del Otra Lado (Letters from the Other Side); ONE; and Navajo Boy. Public discussions will follow each film screening. A photographic exhibit by Armando Solorzano, associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah will be on display in the city offices for viewing during the festival. The exhibit will include photos that illustrate Hispanics in Utah through the past hundred years.

Exhibition booths will feature food, crafts and information: food options will include traditional Mexican dishes, Navajo tacos, Korean delicacies and Thai stir fries; an international bazaar will feature handicrafts from around the world; and a children’s area will be available offering face painting, dancing and music. The parade, scheduled for Friday, will feature participants dancing and performing in their native dress. The Balet Folklorico, Taiko drummers, and Desert Veils have been invited to perform. Sunday’s events will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food, mariachi music and salsa/merengue dancing. Vendors interested in reserving a booth must submit an application by March 31, 2008. Complete details are available online at www.moabvalleymulticulturalcenter.org/festivalofcultures.

The Festival of Cultures is a community cultural project that would not be possible without the help of several local non-profits. The event is made possible by partnerships and grants from the City of Moab, the Utah Arts Council, the Utah Humanities Council, the Moab Arts Council and the Moab Travel Council. For information on lodging and other activities in the Moab area, including what to see, where to stay, and what to do, visit the Moab Area Travel Council at www.discovermoab.com.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Otter Creek Rainbows and Other Spring Fishing Options

Spring fishing is picking up in Utah right now, with ice melting from many of our reservoirs and fish becoming more active. The next few weeks will bring some of the best fishing of the year.

Otter Creek Reservoir, in south-central Utah, is ice-free and fishing is good for large rainbows. I fished there Saturday and enjoyed good success. My photo shows one of our larger fish. Most were fat and ran from 13-21 inches. The fish finder showed rainbows all over the reservoir, at all depths, but most of the fish we caught were close to shore. We were in a boat and did well casting along the shoreline.

I fished Piute Reservoir Saturday afternoon and found action slower there. We did catch some nice-sized rainbows, and others have reported fast action. The wind was blowing when we fished and that may have put them down.

Lake Powell is warming up and the smallmouth bass and striper fishing there should be excellent within a couple weeks. Success will stay strong into June.

Action is also picking up on our quality trout streams. Midge and blue wing olive hatches will become prolific on the Green, Provo and other streams during the next few weeks. Runoff will start to interfere with fishing on some streams, but the Green and Provo have tailwater sections that are protected and they should offer good fishing through the spring season.

Willard Bay, Utah Lake and Yuba Reservoir have open water and offer some action for walleye, along with other species. The walleye spawn will be winding down at Willard and Utah Lake. As the fish recuperate they often go on a feeding binge.

Deer Creek, Jordanelle, Rockport and Echo should lose their ice caps during the next couple weeks, and they will all offer good fishing.

Meanwhile, ice fishing continues to be good at Strawberry, Fish Lake, Bear Lake and other waters.

I'm updating fishing conditions weekly on this page.

- Dave Webb
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