Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snowbird Kicks Off 36th Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest swings into high gear this weekend at Snowbird Resort, in the mountains above Salt Lake City. This is the 36th season for the popular festivities.

Over the years, Oktoberfest has become Utah's premier celebration of German food, music, dance and fun.Some 70,000 visitors are expected to participate over the 13-day celebration. Popular attractions include Oktoberfest Halle, featuring the tastes of Bavaria with entertainment from local and national German bands and yodelers. Kinderland offers fun for children of all ages; Der Marktplatz will allow shoppers to browse through a variety of crafters.

The celebrations runs weekends through Oct 5.

See the festival web page for details.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lake Powell's High Water Wows Visitors

The New York Times has this article about Lake Powell, where the water level is at a six-year high as the area recovers from drought. Below are excerpts.

“The red sands, the cliffs,” said Bill Floor as he readied his boat for a jaunt through a channel not open in years because receding waters left it dry. “Lake Powell has its own special spirit.”

Tom Rohn of Carefree, Ariz., and a friend, Wayne Campbell of Bellevue, Wash., found that the higher water allowed them to go deeper into the many inlets and canyons that rim the lake.

“We saw places we probably haven’t seen for many years,” Mr. Campbell said.

People new to the lake probably will not understand the excitement. Even at its low point it was still immense, its aqua-blue water a contrast to the jagged red and beige rocks around it.

“We came because it is in the desert and we do not see this in Italy,” said Federico Ventura of Milan, here with his family. “We did not know about the water. To me it is just a beautiful lake.”

Read the entire article.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Secret Is Out About Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has been nominated as one of the best "Secret Spots of the West" by readers of the LA Times. The sanctuary is located near Kanab, in southern Utah.

Times Writer Hugo Martín gives insights in this article. Below are excerpts.

"It's so peaceful there. It's just such a beautiful place to go," says Michele Johnson of Los Angeles, in nominating Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.

Amid these 33,000 acres of sand, juniper and sagebrush, volunteers and sanctuary workers have built air-conditioned shelters, offices, banquet halls and outdoor enclosures to house and care for up to 2,000 abandoned animals, including horses, goats, pigs, birds, dogs, cats and rabbits. The rescued animals include 22 dogs confiscated from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's kennels in the Virginia dog-fighting case. The sanctuary is a short drive from Zion National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, an easy side trip for vacationers enjoying some of the Southwest's best national parks.

As I drove across the Utah desert from Las Vegas, I wondered why people would spend their precious few vacation days caring for abandoned animals under the hot summer sun. You'd have to be a bit nutty to trade in a day of hiking through Zion's sweet clover and Indian paintbrushes to scoop up horse manure or refill dog bowls at an animal sanctuary, right?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Zion Park Centennial Events

The Zion Park area was first given national recognition and protection in 1909, when it was designated a national monument.

Several commemorative events are scheduled for the near future. Below are excerpts from articles describing some of them.

Zion National Park to host gala event
"Zion National Park Foundation and Zion Canyon Field Institute will host a social evening celebrating the Centennial of Zion National Park on Sept. 20.

"The event will serve as a fundraiser in the foundation’s efforts to rehabilitate the historic grotto museum which is the oldest standing building in the park. Upon completion of its facelift, the building will house the artist-in-residence program."

Celebrate Zion wonders
"Zion didn't receive national park status until 1919, but it was recognized for its beauty in 1909, when it was designated as Mukuntuweap National Monument. According to "A History of Washington County: From Isolation to Destination," by Doug Alder and Karl Brooks, The monument designation came after a survey report by St. George resident Leo A. Snow shared the secret of what has become a place of sanctuary befitting its name.

"The St. George Art Museum - along with the park, the Zion Natural History Association and the St. George Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau - is sponsoring an exhibit starting Aug. 25 of 76 historic paintings and 68 contemporary works detailing the wonders and history of the park."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Biker Bandidos Invade Moab

500-800 members of the Bandidos motorcycle group will be in the Moab area this weekend for a club event. Most will arrive on Friday and stay through Sunday.

Their headquarters will be at Kane Springs campground.

KSL TV has this report about the group. Below are excerpts.

"Along the Colorado River canyon where they're camping, the Bandidos will reportedly have their own security force. Local cops are getting help from numerous agencies, bringing in at least 100 extra patrol officers. "We're running a high-profile detail here. There will be lots of cops visible everywhere," Navarre said.

"Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland said, "I mean, we have no intelligence to indicate that we're going to have any problems."

"The cops have no intention of using this event as an opportunity to serve outstanding warrants. As one officer put it, "Why stir up a hornet's nest?"

"In a campground building, the Bandidos plan to hold a business meeting on membership, budget and future planning. The travel council has even had positive discussions with the Bandidos about recycling."

Read the complete report.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Western Legends Roundup

The 10th annual Western Legends Roundup is now underway in Kanab, running through Aug 23.

The festivities feature all things cowboy with music, cowboy poetry, food and fun.

The popular group "Riders in the Sky" headline this year's roundup. Other performances will be by IAN TYSON, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave.

The Roundup gives this invitation: "Come join us in 2008 for the best time in the West! Something for everyone! Wholesome fun for the whole family!"

See the roundup website for more information.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ogden Recognized As Adventure Sport Center

Ogden City continues to receive national recognition as a center for adventure sports. This Deseret Morning News article describes recent accolades. Below are excerpts.

Weber County's largest city gained yet another outdoor honor on Aug. 12 when the September issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine listed Ogden as one of the nation's 50 "next-generation adventure towns."

Of the 50 U.S. towns included in the "Where to Live and Play Now" article, Ogden was also highlighted as one of the authors' "top 12 picks."

A photograph of Ogden in the magazine shows rock wall climbing. It also mentions the 40-foot-high Ninth Street crag as a popular local climbing spot and the rustic Alaskan Inn in Ogden Canyon as a great place to stay overnight.

The article said Ogden is the "Disneyland for adrenalized adults."

"It is very gratifying to have so many members of the national media recognize Ogden's focus on adventure recreation," Mayor Matthew Godfrey said. "Having two of the largest outdoor magazines (Outside and National Geographic Adventure) in the world recognize us in this way has surpassed our expectations."

In July, Outdoor Magazine ranked Ogden third behind Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., as the top best re-invented cities in America.

Read the complete article.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Flood Strands Tourists, Destroys Trails in Havasu, Grand Canyon

Tourists and many residents have been evacuated from the popular Havasu Falls area in the Grand Canyon, after heavy rains caused a dam breech and flooded the area. Many trails have been destroyed and the campground was flooded. The Arizona Republic has this news report. Below are excerpts:

About 400 people were evacuated Sunday, including tourists and some of the 400 members of the Havasupai Tribe who live in Supai, located about 250 miles northwest of Phoenix, north of Seligman. The village is in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon.

By midnight Saturday, (Warren ) Youngman said, the waters "looked bad." In the next few hours, heavy rains pounded the Redlands Dam south of Supai, causing a breach and waters to rise.

Youngman said an unknown number of bridges and three homes along the Havasu Creek were swept away by 3 a.m., but no injuries were reported. Evacuation orders were made official by 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

Emily Gerlick, 23, of Phoenix, was with a group of five campers who were flown out early Sunday. She said she woke up around 2:30 a.m. to find water surrounding her tent at the popular Supai Campground, near the picturesque Mooney, Havasu and Navajo falls.
At 4:30 a.m., campers in the area were told they had 10 minutes to gather their belongings and return to Supai, where they were flown out in a Blackhawk helicopter.

The water in the canyon "was rushing and raging," Gerlick said. "It sounded like a freight train."

Another camper, Kyle Jones, 24, from Las Vegas, said members of the tribe from Supai were instrumental in getting people safely out. They strung up rope that evacuees could hold on to as they made their way across the water.

"The campsite had become an island," Jones said.

As much as 8 inches of rain had fallen since Friday, causing trouble even before the dam burst. A private boating party of 16 people was stranded on a ledge at the confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River on Saturday night, after floodwaters carried their rafts away, Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said.

The boaters were found uninjured and were rescued.

Read the entire article.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Moab Music Festival

Enjoy music from around the world amid the spectacular red rock canyonlands of Moab, Utah. Moab's highly touted Music Festival runs Aug 28 through Sept 13 this 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.

Known for its distinctive programming, the award-winning Moab Music Festival offers concerts of classical chamber music, traditional music, vocal music, works of living composers and jazz performed by acclaimed artists from around the country. Performances take place in indoor and outdoor venues ranging from historic Star Hall in Moab to the banks of the Colorado River.

See the official festival website for details.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gladys Knight with Utah Symphony at Deer Valley

"Grammy Award winning artist Gladys Knight will close this year’s Deer Valley® Music Festival with the Utah Symphony and an evening of toe-tapping, soul-stirring music that will only leave you wishing for more."

That's how the popular festival bills its finally, Aug 16, 7:30 pm.

The festival is now concluding its fourth season of providing chamber music, classical, opera, and pops offerings in a beautiful mountain setting in Park City.

See the festival website for more details.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the festival: Knight's appearance at Deer Valley promises to be a pip

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Utah State Fair Runs Sept 4-14

The theme for the 2008 Utah State Fair is "Out of the Ordinary." It will take place Sept 4-14 at the State Fair Park, 155 N 1000 W, Salt Lake City.

Grandstand entertainment includes:
- Vanessa Hudgens
- Natalie Grant
- Country Gold Tour
- Chris Cagle
- Veggie Tales LIVE
- Marshall Tucker Band / Atlanta Rhythm Section / Georgia Satellites
- Elvis Extravaganza
- Colgate Country Showdown with headliner Lady Antebellum
- Utah's Strongest Man
- Amateur Nationals

This is a traditional fair with farm animals, craft displays, blue ribbons and cotton candy. It offers something for every interest.

Fair Gates Open
Sunday through Thursday 10:00 am until 10:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am until 11:00 pm

Carnival
Opens at 12:00 noon on weekdays, 11:00 am on weekends

See the fair website for more information.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wall Arch Collapses, Devils Garden Trail Closed

"Wall Arch, located along the popular Devils Garden Trail at Arches National Park collapsed sometime during the night of August 4, 2008. Rock has continued to fall from the arms of the remaining portion of the arch necessitating the closure of the Devils Garden Trail just beyond Landscape Arch."

That's the official information from this National Park Service News Release. The Park Service provided the photo above, showing the arch before and after its collapse.

The remaining rock structure appears to be unstable and boulders cover the in the area of the fallen arch, necessitating its closure.

Devils Garden is one of the most popular trails in the park and we expect it to reopen soon, perhaps routing visitors around the Wall Arch area.

News outlets around the world have reported on the collapse. Here's an article from International Herald Tribune, France: Iconic stone arch collapses in southern Utah park

That article and many others have one bit of incorrect information. They use a statement similar to this: "Nevertheless, it was the first collapse major arch in the park since nearby Landscape Arch fell in 1991."

A large hunk of rock fell from Landscape Arch in '91, but that span still stands. Landscape is regarded as the largest natural arch in the world. It is a thin, delicate-looking arch, and one day it will fall, but at this writing it still stands.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Golden Spike Railroaders' Festival

Golden Spike National Historic Site will host its annual Railroaders' Festival on Saturday, Aug 9. The visitor center will be open from 9 am through 5 pm, with events scheduled throughout the day.

Enjoy steam locomotive demonstrations, re-enactments of the driving of the golden spike, railroad memorabilia, frontier lifestyle activities, games and more.

Golden Spike National Historic Site is located in northern Utah, off Highway 83 northwest of Brigham City.

For more information call 435-471-2209.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shortcut, GPS Get Tourists Into Trouble

A group of 26 tourists had to be rescued from a remote part of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument recently when they tried to drive passenger cars down rugged backroads.

They got into trouble after a tour guide told them they could take a shortcut to Grand Canyon, and their GPS showed what appeared to be a good route. They were running out of gas and supplies when they decided to call for help. Luckily they were able to get cell phone service. Had they not had that signal, the incident may not have had a happy ending.

KSL TV has this report. Below are excerpts.

Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith says, "I think the best thing anybody can do when they go into an area like that is, if they're going off on a road that is not paved, is not well (maintained) like a county road, they need to ask the local people where it goes and what do I need to travel that road."

GPS devices do have options, and one of them is whether you want to follow unpaved roads. The unpaved road options should always be turned off; that should prevent you from being prompted to get into the backcountry.

The Kane County sheriff warns that these devices can be helpful, but you should know how to use them and let common sense override any directions you get from a GPS.

Read the full report.

Friday, August 01, 2008

We've Expanded Our National Park Content

At utah.com, we've been working hard to update and expand our national park content, including text, photos and video.

We now offer multiple pages for each park, plus more and better photos and video clips. Here are links to our new pages.
- Zion
- Bryce Canyon
- Arches
- Canyonlands
- Capitol Reef

We now have extensive information on auto touring, hiking and other activities that are popular in the parks.

But we're not done. We'll continue to improve our information and develop new multi-media content. We'll be adding a large number of new video clips during the next few weeks.

Take a look and let me know if you have any ideas/suggestions about how we can make utah.com more useful.

- Dave Webb
davewebb@utah.com
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