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Tag Archives: National Parks

New West Daily Roundup for Mar. 13, 107

Utah, Utah Legislature

Today in New West news: Utah passes liquor law changes, most visited national parks of 2016, and Montana Republican and Libertarian nominate candidates.

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New West Daily Roundup for Sept. 30, 2016

Cabin Creek ID_Charles Chuck Peterson_Flickr

Today in New West news: OnXmap’s ROAM app, MSU celebrates new Ivan Doig acquisitions, an update on Rare Element Resources, and Utah genealogy company releases Portuguese language version of site.

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New West Daily Roundup for May 18, 2016


Today in New West news: criminal complaint filed against group of Yellowstone tourists, Boulder-based Justin’s bought by Hormel Foods Corp., and Xcel Energy files for $1B wind farm project.

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New West Daily Roundup for Apr. 6, 2016

Courtesy of Sir Bananas

Today in New West news: WhiteWave Foods Co. to debut banana milk, tensions high between Idaho attorney general and lawmakers, and Delicate Arch to grace “forever” stamp.

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Commentary on William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness” essay

William Cronon was recently featured in Ken Burn's documentary on the National Parks. Cronon is a well known historian but his knowledge of the conservation movement context is limited in my view. Cronon is part of new post modern movement that critiques the conservation movement as imperialistic or trivial--only concerned with setting aside places to hike. However, he appears to miss many important contextual aspects of the debate. Below is a critique of his essay "The Trouble With Wilderness" where he outlines many of his concerns. I originally wrote this critique shortly after his essay appeared in Uncommon Ground, but I feel after viewing Burn's movie it is still relevant to the larger wilderness debate today. Cronon's original essay can be viewed here.

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Greening Yellowstone: Local Food in National Parks

From the National Park Service

In 1995 a privately owned company out of Colorado called Xanterra Parks & Resorts took over ownership and management of hotels and restaurants in many state and national parks in the United States. From the Everglades to Yellowstone, the company prides itself on following a tradition of hostelry established by Fred Harvey who made it easier for 1870s travelers to eat well and travel comfortably in the raucous west. But these days, Xanterra also believes that such comfort and tourism should not come at the expense of the environment. By 2015, Xanterra plans to reduce its fossil fuel use and gas emissions in the 25 parks, resorts and conference centers it is affiliated with by thirty percent while diverting fifty percent of all solid waste away from the landfill. They also plan to increase "sustainable cuisine" purchases to fifty percent of all “companywide food expenditures.” In their 2005 Sustainability Report, the company states that it made $1.4 million in sustainable cuisine purchases in 2004, up from $22,765 in 2001. While most of this money was spent on dairy, about $52,000 went to purchasing bison and elk.

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Can Lightweight Backpacking Save Hiking As We Know It?

Dinosaur Sighting?   Long considered a Cadillac of backpacks, the legendary Dana Design Terraplane is indeed a classic, the same way that steel-finned cruisers of the 1950s defined class and style.  But for adherents of lightweight and ultralight, the Terraplane is an overstuffed weighthog. Can hikers attain the same level of durability, function and reliability from products that exude a fraction of the heft?  And will lighterweight gear help bring back the minions who have given up long-distance tromps in the woods? That's one of the debates currently raging in a backcountry which, in some locales, is thinning out of people.

As the face of America broadens in color, becomes more urbanized, and establishes new bases of political power, what will be the fate of public lands whose strongest stewards and user base have traditionally been middle class and white? Who will be the constituents for wilderness a generation in the future? One barometer for thinking about the issue in the West is to consider the trendline in backpacking. Declining numbers have attracted attention not only from public land managers but bean counters in the multi-billion-dollar outdoor gear industry. An emerging but still nascent force is the lightweight and ultralight backpacking movement. Once the domain of tech-heads and minimalists, lightweight has given birth to a growing product line and appeal among older hikers who gave up long-distance backcountry trips because of the loads and the hassles of restocking in route. New West gives readers a look at lightweight as the summer season approaches.

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Want Political Backfire? Screw With the American Vacation

The current attempt by the Bush administration to cut the National Park Service operating budget by 20% is only the latest in a shameless series of efforts to gut the most beloved institution in American society. An administration that has taken pride in ignoring popular opinion now offers a gratuitous slashing that cuts at something Americans regard as a birthright. If you really want to piss off the public, mess with their vacations. "So what if the public's experience is affected?" these beltway divas are telling each other. "They won't be voting for us again."

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Then The West Isn’t Wild Enough, Part II

We headed west out of Zion National Park to seek sanity and solitude, keeping our eyes peeled for camping possibilities. Pinions and scrub oak, yucca and prickly pear. Everything dry and sharp- no place to lie down. Winds whirled the red soil of Tocquerville into tight eddies. No trees, no shelter from the sun. Dust rising, then swirling from the wind’s breath, coiling, as if, like a snake, it was charmed. Zion, where we wanted to return to in the morning to give it a second chance, kept on getting further and further behind us in our quest for camping. Dixie National Forest looked like it would be out best option. A farther drive than we expected, but on the map, it was shaded green. That had to mean trees, shade, a relief from the sun.

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When the West Isn’t Wild Enough

By Karin L. Becker Having never seen pictures of Zion and only heard of it mentioned in books by Edward Abbey, I am not sure of the allure. I wasn’t sure what I would be seeing of the lay of the land. I had hiked and camped throughout Moab and Canyonlands so the red abrupt canyons didn’t surprise me. I envisioned lots of space, immeasurable stretches of desert red earth, sandstone that would crumble underneath the pressure of my fingernail and some green scrubby pinion trees. Upon paying the fee and driving through the two long tunnels, the canyon walls greeted us like a clap of thunder. Immense, awesome and all-encompassing. The canyon was narrow with amber, peach, ocher, and tan layers consuming the sheer walls. Strips of black were seen cascading down from the smooth plateaus, outlining the path of snow melt. The intensity of the land formations was silencing. Zigzagging down the canyon, grass still green and cottonwoods, along the muddy creek, waving in the breeze, we were all eyes. Yes, this is what I came to see! This is the glory that friends had hinted of, but could not translate into words. I was hungry to peer into the cool crevices and bellies of the narrow canyon slits.

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