Though it’s still incredibly cold in southern Utah, visitation is starting to pick up on Utah’s public lands — and the state legislature is noticing.
While bills trudge on, year-end numbers for 2021 are starting to emerge and more and more proposed legislation is about public lands issues.
What’s the most important issue to you that the legislature is currently considering, or they should be considering? Email me and let me know.
Here’s your Utah national park news for the past two weeks:
In the news
first:Indigenous artist Patrick Dean Hubbell featured at Cedar City gallery
Artwork from the Diné, or Navajo, artist Patrick Deal Hubbell, who is considered to be one of the fastest-rising artists in the region, is being featured at the Southern Utah Museum of Art.
Second:Biologists see fewer birds of prey around Cedar City ahead of Utah’s storied Bald Eagle Month
Also in Cedar City, biologists are seeing fewer birds of prey in the region which can affect other wildlife.
Third:Federal judge aimed to suspend wild mustang roundup in Nevada after advocates sue
A program that captures wild Mustangs in Nevada might be suspended by a federal judge after advocates said the horses were “needlessly and recklessly” killed.
fourth:Oh, Utah! When will you learn?
One of our Writers on the Range columns focused on the environment and overtourism, calling on officials to focus more on environmental policy than tourism companies.
• There is a new proposal for a national monument in southern Nevada, Avi Kwa Ame in the Mohave Desert. A group of tribes, advocates and officials are working toward making it into a monument with a resolution sent to President Biden.
• US Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Angus King (I-Maine) proposed a new piece of legislation called the Gateway Community and Recreation Enhancement Act which would “create a pilot program to inform potential park visitors in real-time of crowd levels at National Parks or other federal lands as they travel and provide suggestions for alternative recreation destinations,” a press release said.
More:US Senate discusses overtourism, crowding at Utah national parks, Zion applauded by Lee
• A study by pet wellness company Honest Paws found that Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are some of the best places to bring your dogs in Utah.
• The Center for Biological Diversity has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Utah Bureau of Land Management after some say the BLM ran over dinosaur tracks by Mill Canyon near Moab.
• Nonprofit research group Headwaters Economics developed a tool called the Rural Capacity Index to measure the ability of rural communities to pursue funding for infrastructure and climate resilience projects, a press release said.
• Applications for the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant are open until March 18. But if you submit your application by the end of February, the agency’s staff will review it for completeness first.
• A new study in the Journal of Travel Research found that using “counterfactual thinking,” or encouraging people to think of alternative realities or situations, can be used in teaching people about environmental information and “motivates tourists to adopt pro-environment measures during their travels, thus contributing to an environmentally sustainable future.”
• Dangling Rope Marina in Lake Powell will be closed throughout 2022 due to low water levels.
More:States set to sign voluntary cutbacks of Colorado River water
• The state of Utah has engaged a law firm to challenge President Biden’s restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments with SITLA is working with the Department of the Interior to exchange 135,000 acres of state-owned land inside Bears Ears for federal lands with better revenue-generating potential, a Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance press release said.
• The Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas opened a new temporary exhibit about local Native American Heritage and History through the end of February.
• Four out of five Utah national parks broke visitation records in 2021, with Zion expected to smash its record as well.
• The number one most-liked home on Airbnb last year was the Zion EcoCabin in Hildale, just outside of Zion National Park.
• Two weeks ago, the Cedar Band of Paiutes Youth presented a Native American flute and traditional pow wow dance at the Pioneer Courthouse.
• A website for outdoorsy people, Outforia, released a study finding that Zion, Bryce Canyon and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are some of the most dangerous national areas in the country with some of the largest numbers of search and rescues.
• About 82% of Utahns report being active outside work hours, a CDC study said, making Utah the second-most active state in the country, just behind Colorado.
• Luxury hotel Amangiri in Kane County near the Arizona border was deemed the most romantic hotel in the world by travel agency Big 7.
• E&E News reported that National Park Service employees are facing a housing crunch as housing prices soar across the country.
• The Department of the Interior announced that $1.15 billion in available funding will be going to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country, a DOI press release said.
• The National Park Service has hired a full-time investigator to enhance oversight and museum compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a DOI press release said.
• And finally, one of the most interesting stories I read this week — sometimes when people take rocks from national parks, they mail them back, but the park service doesn’t exactly know what to do with them.
• If you’re looking to get tickets to Arches National Park in May, now is the time to reserve them on Recreation.gov!
• Bryce Canyon National Park announced the dates for their annual festivals and citizen science programs.
• The park also featured a cat-like rock formation for the Lunar New Year, the year of the tiger.
• Capitol Reef National Park got some snow these past two weeks, reminding us that although the weather is slowly getting warmer in St. George, you should still watch out for snow while recreating in the parks.
• Celebrate Black History Month with the National Park Service by using their “28 Days of Black History” calendar!
• Zion National Park is hiring! Check out the available positions on the park’s website.
• Zion also celebrated the Lunar New Year by showing its stripes. (Striped rock, that is.)
• Also, Zion is featured in a new PBS documentary featuring local officials! It’s available on Zion Forever’s Web Site.
The bills mentioned in the last Park Remarks are trudging their way along through committees and debates.
GUIDE HERE:Park Remarks: Your 2022 legislative session guide on public lands, rural, indigenous issues
If you’d like to make your voice heard, call your local legislator, which you can find on the Utah Legislature website.
The legislators for central St. George, for example, are Rep. Walt Brooks (R) and Don Ipson (R).
A new bill that has been introduced since the last Park Remarks is Tax Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicles, or HB0221, which would give an income tax credit to individuals or corporations for leasing or buying an alternative fuel vehicle.
Also, Recreational Trails, or HB0227, was introduced which would create a recreational trail network and change how trails are managed and funded.
Finally, Utah Clean Cities released an infographic on the bills they’re watching related to clean air and electric vehicles.
According to the National Weather Service, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks should be in the mid-40s and drop to the teens at night. Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon should be in the low-40s. Zion should be in the high-40s. Dress warm, bring water and leave no trace!
K. Sophie Will is the National Parks Reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News through the Report for America initiative by The GroundTruth Project. Follow her on Twitter at @ksophiewill or email her at email@example.com. Donate to Report for America to support her work here.