Outdoor Retailer convention leaving Utah

After an unproductive meeting between Gov. Gary Herbert and outdoor recreation business representatives, industry leaders say they hope to find a new location for the Outdoor Retailer shows “as soon as possible.” “Unfortunately, what we heard from Governor Herbert was more of the same,” according to a written statement by the Outdoor Industry...

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Patagonia to Withdraw from Outdoor Retailer in Response to Utah Gov. Herbert’s Decision to Rescind Bears Ears Protection

Last month, Patagonia’s founder and CEO, Yvon Chouinard stated, “If [Utah] Gov. Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Gov. Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument. He should stop his efforts to transfer public lands to the state, which would spell disaster for...

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Time for Outdoor Retailers to leave Utah and its anti-recreation politics

Op-ed by Peter Metcalf, CEO and Founder, Black Diamond Inc. Over the past several months Utah’s political leadership has unleashed an all-out assault against Utah’s protected public lands and Utah’s newest national monument, Bear’s Ears. It’s time for Outdoor Retailer to leave the state in disgust. Over 20 years ago, I successfully led the...

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Utah’s Zion National Park so popular that even ‘offseason’ has gridlock

Even by Utah standards, few things are as beautiful as snow on redrock, especially in Zion Canyon where visitors can take in this lovely sight this week in the stillness of winter — if they can get there. It may be the middle of the “offseason,” but the canyon, the centerpiece of Zion National Park, has been so packed since Christmas that park officials have...

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Restoring the trampled land of Utah’s national parks

“What is it about the desert?” “For me, it’s always been the wide open spaces. You know, you’re very small, and so therefore any problems that you might have also feel really small. And so it’s really a place to put things in perspective,” park ranger Liz Ballenger said. “It’s restorative.” But there are times when even the desert needs to be restored. The arches and...

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Arches, narrows and waterfalls: Canyoneering and extreme hiking in Moab

Moab, Utah, surrounded by Arches National Park to the north, Canyonlands National Park to the southwest and the La Sal Mountains to the east, is a hub for desert adventures from rafting to mountain biking and so much more. For some visitors, the act of squeezing through narrow canyons, rappelling into open pools and clawing through loose dirt and bushes — canyoneering —...

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Monumental decision: All eyes look to Interior Secretary Jewell on divisive Bears Ears issue

This is big, raw countryside with tumbling landscapes of jutting Navajo sandstone cliffs bleached by grueling heat and sprawling bluffs that rise proud and angry from a sagebrush floor. There is nothing diminutive in this bold and unforgiving land that is so overwhelmingly expansive and complex one can lose a sense of time and being — wrapped in serene beauty that can...

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Congressman Proposes Massive Giveaway of Taxpayer-Owned Energy Resources to the State of Utah

A controversial legislative proposal released July 14, 2016 by Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) would transfer all federally-owned energy and mineral resources in southern Utah to state control, paving the way for massive new uranium, coal, and oil extraction across the area’s national forests, redrock canyons, and other public lands. The bill, known as the Public Lands...

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A Primer on Exploring Southern Utah’s Best Slot Canyons

You may love hiking, but you’ve never fully experienced adventure hiking until you’ve explored some slot canyons. Slot canyon hiking is a mellower cousin of technical canyoneering, but it’s far more involved and exciting than your standard saunter through the desert. Indeed, slot canyoning is an exercise in human Slinky-ness: You shimmy, scramble, wade, scoot, slog,...

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Volunteer opportunities available in Southern Utah national parks, forests

As part of the National Park Service centennial, the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors program, established in 2015, will be expanding to over 100 ambassadors during the 2016-17 season in an effort to connect people of all ages to their national parks and public lands. Multiple volunteer opportunities are available at national parks, national recreation areas and national...

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The High Life: Hiking Utah’s Uinta Highline Trail

Only a half mile from the trailhead near Hacking Lake you can ogle a herd of mountain goats. Minutes later, a weasel darts upon your track with a mouse hanging in its mouth. Another half mile, and you stumble upon two spotted elk calves lounging near timberline. Then, two more goat herds on the five-mile climb to 11,700-foot Gabbro Pass, from which you flush 100 elk on...

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Hiking Southern Utah: Tuacahn Split

Tuacahn Split is a fun but strenuous hike located near Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, Utah. It takes you through a maze of sandstone that leads up above Snow Canyon State Park. Throughout the hike you will see the breathtaking views of red sandstone and black lava rock that are so familiar to everyone in the St. George surrounding area. The trail is about three...

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“Bears Ears” region of Utah needs protection from drilling, mining and vandalism

A stretch of starkly beautiful wildlands in Southeast Utah is at risk due to energy development, looting and vandalism, but a movement led by Native American tribes could lead to its permanent protection as a national monument. Nestled immediately to the south and east of Canyonlands National Park, the region known as “Bears Ears”—named for two sandstone-fringed buttes...

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Can drilling and recreation coexist in Moab, Utah?

Neal Clark has been watching his feet a lot this fall day. The young environmental lawyer chose flipflops for this tour of the Utah desert with the blithe self-assurance of someone comfortable outdoors. Remarkably, he’s stumbled into thorns only once. Now, he cautiously threads a gap between banks of cryptobiotic crust. The castle-like colonies of microorganisms anchor...

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Tribes outline proposal for national monument in Utah

Tribal leaders in the Southwest have outlined a proposal to designate a section of southeastern Utah as a national monument, seeking to become partners with the federal government in managing their ancestral homeland. The proposed Bears Ears National Monument is named for twin buttes that overlook Cedar Mesa. The 1.9 million-acre area would be bordered to the south by...

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Anatomy of a flash flood

Last week 20 people died in a wave of flash floods in southern Utah, eerily similar to a summer in Arizona 18 years ago. Of those who died, seven were in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and another 13 were lost when their cars were swept away from around the town of Hilldale. The seven in Zion were geared up with helmets and ropes, not the most trained group, but...

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Enjoy solitude by hiking to high-elevation Marjorie Lake

The hike to beautiful Marjorie Lake includes a network of lakes and trails all within a mile or two of each other that all start from one trailhead next to Washington Lake in Utah. The Lakes Country Trail is located at an elevation of 9,680 feet. The trailhead can be located from the parking lot near Washington Lake and its campground facility. The rolling, rocky, easy...

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Red Rock Country: What Locals Wished You Knew

“There are two easy ways to die in the desert: thirst or drowning. This place is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person’s mind is too much water.” The Red Rock Country of...

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State, national park leaders hammer out deal for Arches water

There is not much water in southeastern Utah’s Arches National Park. What water is there is vitally important to the flora and fauna of the popular high-desert preserve. State and federal officials gathered in the park just north of Moab to acknowledge the role water plays with a contract meant to protect the precious resource. The deal signed by Utah Gov. Gary...

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Syncline Loop Trail Around Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands National Park

Island in the Sky is a thousand foot high mesa in the isthmus between the Green and Colorado Rivers that forms one of Canyonlands National Park’s four distinct districts. There is excellent hiking on each side of the mesa, including this trail on the west side that circumnavigates Upheaval Dome. Once thought to be a collapsed salt dome, new geologic evidence...

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Hiking to the highest point of Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake

There’s nowhere in Utah quite like Frary Peak. When you reach the top of this hike, you’re rewarded with the unique-to-Utah feeling of being completely surrounded by water. The 7-mile roundtrip hike will take the better part of a day, but the views of the Great Salt Lake, bison and the unique territory of Antelope Island are worth the trek. At 6,596 feet, Frary Peak is...

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How oil drilling is threatening Utah’s red rock recreation sites

A different kind of spire is jutting into the iconic red rock vistas of Moab, Utah. It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab’s long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch in the midst of this area’s popular...

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Take a Walk on a Leaky Uintah Basin Oil Well With a Whistleblowing Oil and Gas CEO

Three separate and very interesting things have happened over the past few months, and what makes them even more interesting is the timing, and the fact that they all happened within such a short period. Sequentially speaking, the second and most recent thing that happened, is that a midwife in the highly conservative oil patch community of Vernal, Utah in the Uintah...

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Lathrop Trail, Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

Located on the east side of the Island in the Sky District, Lathrop Canyon drops off the mesa to the White Rim, then dives all the way to the Colorado River. The Lathrop Trail enables a short, medium or long hike, depending on the level of the canyon you wish to tackle. The first couple miles are a sandy straight and level shot through prairie-like grassland. As you...

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Elephant Canyon, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park

The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands National Park and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The district’s extensive trail system provides many opportunities for overnight trips or long day hikes including this one around, over and through Elephant Canyon. This 10-mile loop will take you up...

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Little Ruin Trail, Hovenweep National Monument, Utah

The canyon and mesa country north of the San Juan River in the four corners region holds many archaelogical sites where ancestors of today’s Pueblo Indian tribes lived. Round, square, and D-shaped towers grouped at canyon heads most vividly mark once thriving communities. Many dwellings stood right on the canyon rim, and some structures were built atop isolated or...

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Little Wild Horse Canyon, San Rafael Swell, Utah

The San Rafael Swell consists of a giant dome-shaped anticline of sandstone, shale, and limestone that houses many of the classic slot canyons that Southern Utah is known for. Included among them is Little Wild Horse Canyon, where the walls are so close you may have to turn sideways to get through. Spring and Fall are ideal times to hike here. The weather is usually dry,...

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Upper Muley Twist Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park

Perhaps the best hike in all of Capitol Reef National Park, Upper Muley Twist Canyon is a full-featured Utah adventure that includes narrow canyons, expanses of slickrock, large arches, and dramatic vistas from the top of the incomparable Waterpocket Fold. There are opportunities for side trips to slot canyons and other exciting off-trail experiences, as well as perilous...

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Lick Wash, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Northeast of the Southern Utah town of Kanab, a surprise slot canyon called Lick Wash is located along Skutumpah Road. It’s 15 miles on twisty, dirty ranch road to get there, but the reward is well worth the adventure. This is the Paria-Escalante region of the national monument, beneath the Pink Cliffs. You will even find pink colored stones and pebbles in the...

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Angels Landing and West Rim Trail, Zion National Park

Angels Landing is a unique fin sandstone monolith that erupts 1,500 feet from the floor of Zion Canyon. The trail to the top is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park, certainly the most thrilling. For someone like me with heights and edges phobia and vertigo, it’s a little too much excitement, but there is a compromise. You can still enjoy most of the...

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