Category Archives: utah

Free entry to all national parks on Monday | ABQJournal Online

Free entry to national parks on Monday | ABQJournal Online

By Journal and wire reports | 9 hours ago

On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, visitors can enter Bandelier National Monument, as well as other national parks and monuments throughout the United States, free of charge.

Monday’s holiday is the first of nine days in 2014 when all National Park Service sites will open their gates to visitors without charging entrance fees.

Fee-free day waivers apply to entrance fees, commercial entrance fees and transportation entrance fees only. Other fees such as camping, tours and concession fees are not waived.

Free entry to national parks on Monday | ABQJournal Online

NM EPHT: Environmental Conditions – Wildfire Smoke in the Four Corners area

Follow the link for the latest versions of these maps.. mjh

NM EPHT: Environmental Conditions – Wildfire Smoke

NOAA Southern Rockies (New Mexico and Arizona) Wildfire Smoke Forecast

Smoke concentrations in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m**3) are represented as
light brown (low concentrations) on the left-hand side of the Legend across the top
of this map to red (high concentrations) on the right-hand side.

Current New Mexico Wildfire Smoke Map

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NOAA U.S. Wildfire Smoke Forecast

Smoke concentrations in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m**3) are represented as
light brown (low concentrations) on the left-hand side of the Legend across the top
of this map to red (high concentrations) on the right-hand side.

Current Wildfire Smoke Map

back to top

NOAA Wildfire Smoke Data

NM EPHT: Environmental Conditions – Wildfire Smoke

Pando, the Trembling Giant

Pando, the Trembling Giant located in Sigurd Cemetery, Utah, US | Atlas Obscura | Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations

In the Fishlake National Forest in Utah, a giant has lived quietly for the past 80,000 years. The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is a enormous grove of quaking aspens that takes the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and literalizes it: the grove really is a single organism. Each of the approximately 47,000 or so trees in the grove is genetically identical and all the trees share a single root system. While many trees spread through flowering and sexual reproduction, quaking aspens usually reproduce asexually, by sprouting new trees from the expansive lateral root of the parent. The individual trees aren’t individuals, but stems of a massive single clone, and this clone is truly massive. Spanning 107 acres and weighing 6,615 tons, Pando was once thought to be the world’s largest organism (now usurped by thousand-acre fungal mats in Oregon), and is almost certainly the most massive. In terms of other superlatives, the more optimistic estimates of Pando’s age have it as over one million years old, which would easily make it the world’s oldest living organism.

Unfortunately, the future of the giant appears grim. … [read the rest at the link]

Pando, the Trembling Giant located in Sigurd Cemetery, Utah, US | Atlas Obscura | Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations


Comb Ridge, Utah, yields big discoveries

Comb Ridge yields big discoveries By Joe Bauman, Deseret Morning News

An archaeological survey of southern Utah’s Comb Ridge is documenting a huge number of sites, from Ice Age camps and 800-year-old Anasazi cliff dwellings to historic artifacts of Anglo settlers.

The field crews are finding “substantial” sites, says the project director, Winston Hurst, a Blanding resident, “real interesting sites that I didn’t know existed.”

Comb Ridge is a huge sandstone feature extending from west of Blanding to the vicinity of Bluff, San Juan County. Among the areas covered by the study is Butler Wash, one of the places where Anasazi Indians lived in cliff dwellings.

“Our project area’s about 25 miles long,” said Hurst. “We have 48,000 acres approximately in our survey area.”

The study was launched in 2005 under a contract between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, administrator of most of the land, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hurst is a subcontractor. The principal investigator is Catherine M. Cameron, associate professor at the University of Colorado. …

So far, the team has found a great many archaeological sites, and unexpectedly interesting ones.

“We’ve got Anasazi roads,” Hurst said. These are strange lanes from eight to 10 yards wide “that they were carving across the desert for miles and miles and miles, connecting places of significance.

“We call them roads, but we don’t know what they were used for.” They probably weren’t roads in our sense of routes to transport supplies.

“They don’t behave like a road that’s designed to facilitate transport and traffic,” Hurst added, “They seem to be lines carved into the world.”

Such lines have been found in Chaco Canyon, a large Anasazi settlement in New Mexico.

“They’re very subtle,” Hurst said of the Utah features. “Sometimes you can see them when the light is at a low angle,” and then they’re hard to see when the sun is at its zenith. Some are easier to see during certain seasons.

They can be easy to miss. “They’re subtle enough that when you’re walking around on the ground, you don’t see them, you look right past them.”

Among other discoveries are Hopi-style pottery fragments on trails crossing Comb Ridge. They date from a period after the Hopi’s ancestors, the Anasazi, had abandoned settlements in Utah.

“We get these stray pieces of 14th, 15th century Hopi pottery,” Hurst said. The scientists find “just enough to indicate they were back there on a small scale.

“We’re not really sure what they were doing — maybe revisiting old ancestral shrines.”

CU-Boulder, BLM Collaborating On Four Corners Archaeology Project | News Center | University of Colorado at Boulder

A partnership between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the University of Colorado at Boulder initiated in August 2005 to inventory a rich archaeological region in southeastern Utah will continue this summer.

Known as the Comb Ridge Heritage Initiative, the project was designed to allow researchers to study a 48,000-acre region in the Four Corners area containing archaeological sites dating back 13,000 years, said CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Catherine Cameron. The $275,000 award to CU-Boulder from the BLM runs through 2008….

Comb Ridge consists of a 30-mile-long sandstone formation and its adjacent drainages, including Comb Wash and Butler Wash.

New Utah Map

Map elevated: New guide out to Utah’s roads, trails, By Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune

A new official state highway map is out, emphasizing the “Utah – Life Elevated” promotional theme to attract more tourists. Free copies of the new state highway map may be obtained by calling the Utah Department of Transportation at 965-4000.

Range Creek, Utah (Fremonts)

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources – Range Creek

Information: Conditions at Range Creek as of July 8, 2007
Range Creek Wildlife Management Area hiking permits are available online.

HIDDEN IN THE BOOK CLIFFS of Emery County between the Tavaputs Plateau and the Green River, Range Creek valley was once the site of numerous Fremont Indian villages. Until recently, this remote canyon was private property and was off-limits to the general public. Because of its isolation, the thousand-year-old Fremont Indian artifacts are numerous and well-preserved. Recently, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources obtained ownership to this remarkable area and implemented a policy of limited public access.

Salt Lake Tribune – Hidden treasures, By Brett Prettyman
Conservation officers protect and explore a wealth of ancient Fremont Indian rock art and artifacts at Range Creek Canyon

Utah chafes under federal land controls

Utah chafes under federal land controls –, By Julie Cart

Recapture Canyon, Utah // It’s a small gesture of defiance – a narrow metal bridge that allows off-road vehicles illegal access to this archaeologically 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.

Historically, residents of the rural West have challenged federal jurisdiction, claiming authority over rights of way, livestock management and water use. But nowhere is the modern-day defiance more determined, better organized or better funded than in Utah, where millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent fighting federal authority, and where the state government is helping to pay the tab – much of it, critics say, without oversight.

For the past decade, the Utah Legislature and two state agencies have been funneling money to southern Utah counties to bankroll legal challenges to federal jurisdiction. Most recently, a state representative persuaded the legislature to provide $100,000 to help finance a lawsuit by ranchers and two counties seeking to expand cattle grazing in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Grand Staircase is one of a dozen parks and monuments that draw tens of millions of visitors to the region every year to take in the spectacular high desert and red-rock canyons that have awed travelers since John Wesley Powell voyaged down the Green and Colorado rivers in 1869.

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. …

Officials of one county have written a bill pending in Congress that orders the sale of federal land, with the proceeds given to the county. Other Utah counties have said they will follow suit. And officials from the two counties surrounding Grand Staircase have lobbied in Washington to drastically reduce the 2 million-acre national monument. …

Elected officials have flouted federal authority by bulldozing roads in the Grand Staircase monument and Capitol Reef National Park and by tearing down signs banning off-road vehicles in Canyonlands National Park. A handful of counties have developed transportation plans that declare roads open that federal land managers have closed.

Selma Sierra, Utah director of the federal Bureau of Land Management, insisted that the agency’s relationship with counties is good. “The BLM manages a substantial amount of land in this state. Yes, those lands belong to everyone in the country, but the decisions we make affect those individuals more so than anywhere else.”

But federal officials say increases in motorized recreation and scarring of the landscape from energy exploration are threatening unique historic and cultural treasures and damaging wildlife habitat.

A recent BLM archaeological assessment of third-century Anasazi ruins and cliff dwellings in Recapture Canyon found evidence of looting and off-road vehicle damage. According to the assessment, the new, county-built bridge “can be expected to hasten and increase indirect impacts to cultural resources here.”

State Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican from the southern community of Kanab, said: It gets down to “sovereignty and autonomy. It’s Western independence. We own the water, we have the right to graze, the minerals are still available, and the roads belong to us. By dang, we are not going to give them up.”

Julie Cart writes for the Los Angeles Times.

Utah’s 42 State parks

Utah’s 42 State parks –,1249,660210942,00.html

Top 10 visitation:

• Wasatch Mountain 442,069
• Deer Creek 355,003
• Willard Bay 325,933
• Utah Lake 265,271
• Snow Canyon 255,643
• Antelope Island 250,886
• Bear Lake 232,825
• Palisade 211,646
• Jordanelle 198,592
• Sand Hollow 186,685

Bottom 10 visitation:

• Piute 29,609
• Goblin Valley 30,081
• Red Fleet 30,818
• Escalante 40,451
• Goosenecks 40.761
• Steinaker 45,615
• Territorial 46,794
• Huntington 47,848
• Kodachrome 49,804
• Utah Field House 52,027″

– – –

• Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder: Museum of Ancestral Puebloan culture, special exhibits, events and programs, day-use

• Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse: Camping, day-use, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, hiking

• Bear Lake State Park in Garden City: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum in Fairfield: Museum, Civil War demonstrations, day-use

• Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab: Camping, day-use, off-highway vehicle riding, hiking

• Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab: Camping, day-use, hiking

• Deer Creek State Park in Midway: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• East Canyon State Park in Morgan: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding: Museum of Native American culture, special exhibits, events and programs

• Escalante Petrified Forest State Park in Escalante: Camping, day-use, water recreation, hiking

• Flight Park State Recreation Area in Draper: Day-use

• Fremont Indian State Park and Museum in Richfield: Museum of Fremont Indian culture, camping, day-use, petroglyphs, access to Piute ATV Trail

• Goblin Valley State Park in Hanksville: Camping, day-use, hiking

• Goosenecks State Park in Mexican Hat: Primitive camping, day-use

• Great Salt Lake State Marina in Salt Lake City: Day-use, marina, water recreation

• Green River State Park in Green River: Golf, camping, day-use, boat launch

• Gunlock State Park in Ivins: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park in Park City: Day-use, hiking, mountain biking

• Huntington State Park in Huntington: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Hyrum State Park in Hyrum: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Iron Mission State Park Museum in Cedar City: Museum of early Utah, day-use, special exhibits, events and programs

• Jordan River OHV Center in Salt Lake City: Day-use, off-highway vehicle riding

• Jordanelle State Park in Heber City: Camping, day-use, water recreation, nature center and programs

• Kodachrome Basin State Park in Cannonville: Camping, day-use, hiking

• Millsite State Park in Huntington: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Otter Creek State Park in Antimony: Camping, day-use, water recreation, OHV trail access

• Palisade State Park in Sterling: Golf, camping, day-use, water recreation

• Piute State Park in Antimony: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Quail Creek State Park in St. George: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Red Fleet State Park in Vernal: Camping, day-use, water recreation, hiking

• Rockport State Park in Peoa: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane: Camping, day-use, water recreation, off-highway vehicle riding

• Scofield State Park in Scofield: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Snow Canyon State Park in Ivins: Camping, day-use, hiking, mountain biking, cycling

• Starvation State Park in Duchesne: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Steinaker State Park in Vernal: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum in Fillmore: Museum of early Utah, special events and programs, day-use

• This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City: Utah heritage, special events and programs, day-use

• Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal: Museum of Utah’s prehistory, special exhibits, events and programs, day-use

• Utah Lake State Park in Provo: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway: Golf, camping, day-use, hiking, OHV trail access

• Willard Bay State Park in Willard: Camping, day-use, water recreation

• Yuba State Park in Levan: Camping, day-use, water recreation


• Utah State Parks and Recreation is preparing for a busy summer season. In fact, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Green River, Escalante and Goblin Valley are booked for Memorial Day weekend.

• Park policy allows campers to reserve individual campsites up to 18 weeks prior to their date of departure from the park.

• For reservations call 1-800-322-3770 from outside the Salt Lake area or 801-322-3770 from within Salt Lake.

• The Utah State Parks Reservation Center can also book group sites, pavilions and boat slips. Agents may also recommend locations for golf tournaments, corporate outings and family reunions.

• Individual campsite reservations must be made at least two days in advance of arrival date. An $8 non-refundable reservation fee is charged for each site reserved. Group site reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance. A $10.25 nonrefundable fee, along with a per-person fee, is charged for group sites and building rentals.

• For more Utah state park information, please visit,1249,660210942,00.html