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Otto

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Mittwoch, 1. November 2017, 17:15

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Horseshoe Bend Rim Railing Construction Beginning November 6

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Improvements at the rim of the Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will be starting November 6. Visitors are advised that while contractors are installing rim safety railing, half of the rim viewing area will be closed to visitor access until construction has been completed. Additional improvements include a trail to the rim that meets Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) standards for accessibility and blends with the natural environment, and two shade structures with benches along the new trail. One of the shade structures is being installed by the park and the other shade structure is being installed by the City of Page. A small, ABA accessible viewing area with safety railing will be available at the overlook rim.
According to Superintendent William Shott, “Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s Horseshoe Bend Overlook has become an iconic destination area for tourists from all over the world, and visitation has increased significantly. We’re excited to work alongside our partners, the City of Page, to address the needed improvements.”
The completion dates for this phase of improvements are still to be determined and may be affected by weather. Construction is expected to take at least 90 days. The construction will not affect parking.
Construction of a viewing platform and rim railing will greatly increase visitor safety at the rim for families while also meeting accessibility standards. The rim railing will encompass a viewing area at the terminus of the trail. Though not recommended, visitors may always choose to take in the iconic view without the security of railing simply by walking along the canyon rim. The park thanks the public for their patience while these improvements in visitor services are completed.
Construction is being funded by visitor entrance fees to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the City of Page, Arizona Parks and Trails, Coconino County, and Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas Guest Donation Program in collaboration with the Glen Canyon Natural History Association.

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Freitag, 3. November 2017, 18:04

Vandals Paint Sandstone Cliffs at Snow Canyon State Park

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TUtah State Parks officials are asking for the public's help to crack down on vandalism at a scenic park in the southwest corner of the state.
Snow Canyon State Park Manager Kristen Cornella says vandals recently sprayed paint on the sandstone cliffs in the White Rocks area of the canyon north of St. George.
She says the vandals had to hike several miles with the spray paint cans. She says the paint covering about 10 meters is difficult to remove and often requires the use of power tools that alter the natural rock features.
The white Navajo sandstone with hues ranging from creamy white to burnt orange is what remains from an ancient desert sand sea. The Anasazi Indians first inhabited the area about 1,800 years ago.

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63

Mittwoch, 15. November 2017, 17:25

Grand Staircase-Escalante monument will be pruned by half, Hatch official says

Trump to announce monument reductions next month, but official fears “pingpong effect” if future presidents restore the current boundaries.

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President Donald Trump will shrink the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by about half, to a size between 700,000 and 1.2 million acres, following the recommendation of his Interior secretary, according to a staffer for Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Ron Dean, Hatch’s central and eastern Utah director, revealed the potential magnitude of monument reductions Tuesday while fielding questions from the Utah Legislature’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands.
He also confirmed Bears Ears National Monument will be redrawn in the range of 100,000 to 300,000 acres when the president visits Utah early next month. It’s currently 1.35 million acres.
But Dean cautioned, absent changes to the Antiquities Act that rein in alleged abuses, any monument reduction could be fleeting since afuture president could reverse whatever action Trump takes.
“We are going to get a pingpong effect should the president lose and the wrong kind of occupant of the White House, who has a different view of what public lands in the West are all about, they could restore Grand Staircase and Bears Ears,” Dean said. “There is a substantial fear that, especially in Bears Ears’ case, it would be even be larger than originally called for by President Obama.
Trump’s action to reduce Utah’s two monuments will be based on recommendations by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whom the president instructed to review 27 large monuments designated mostly by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act.
In a leaked memo, Zinke did not recommend revoking any monuments, but he did urge the president to reduce Grand Staircase, Bears Ears and two other Western national monuments. His specific recommendations, however, remain under wraps despite widespread calls for their release to the public.
“The fact that we’re learning as much about the president’s review fromSen. Hatch as we are from the White House shows that the realdecisions about these monuments are being made in secret,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, said she makes a point of speaking with local residents and businesses whenever she visits Garfield and Kane counties. People often tell her they would prefer Grand Staircase remain in tact because the monument protects so many natural wonders that draw visitors.
“It has helped them greatly economically and their way of life,” Iwamoto said.
But Kane and Garfield county commissions see the monument as a drag on their economy and heritage and have implored the federal government to break it into a few small monuments, focused on places that truly warrant preservation instead of vast landscape sprawling from Skutumpah Terrace to Glen Canyon.
Dean said he has not seen Zinke’s proposed monument changes, but was confident the acreage ranges he provided are accurate.
“If [Trump’s] announcement is outside those parameters, my rumors are bad rumors,” said Dean, arguing that presidents have authority to adjust monument boundaries proclaimed by predecessors.
“There have been multiple instances of monuments being enlarged or shrunk, sometimes in substantial ways,” he said.
Dean’s report to state lawmakers is based on what Trump has told Hatch, one of the Senate’s most powerful members, whose support would help the president advance his legislative agenda regarding tax reform and financing a wall along the Mexican border.
Earlier this week, Zinke told The Salt Lake Tribune he counseled the president to severely reduce Bears Ears, but keep it bigger than Bryce Canyon and Arches national parks combined. That means at least 180,000 acres.
Zinke’s recommendations are expected to align with what state and local leaders requested for the two Utah monuments. For a reduced Bears Ears, Utah officials drew a 120,000-acre oval stretching from Bears Ears Buttes to the Butler Wash ruin and submitted the map to the Interior Department.
Proposals for a redrawn Grand Staircase were left to Kane County leaders. They presented their map while meeting with Zinke on May 10, during the secretary’s multi-day swing through Utah, according to County Attorney Robert Van Dyke. Yet the county has rejected The Tribune’s public records request for that and many other maps it prepared in its push to reduce the 1.9-million-acre monument Clinton proclaimed as he was running for re-election in 1996.
That map indicated two areas local officials believe would be appropriately protected as national monuments, according to Van Dyke’s presentation at the State Records Committee Nov. 9, where he tried to fend off The Tribune’s appeal. One would be the Escalante Canyons in Garfield County, and the other would be a slice of Kane County between Paria and Cottonwood washes.
Dubbed “Heart of the Monument” because the outline is shaped like a heart, this area is just south of Kodachrome Basin State Park and includes Hackberry Canyon, but leaves out numerous world-class hiking destinations as well as much of Kaiparowits Plateau, which holds abundant coal deposits.
The Record Committee found that the county had properly classified the maps as protected drafts, but ordered the one shown to Zinke and several other maps be released, concluding that disclosure served the public interest. The county has until Dec. 9 days to contemplate an appeal to district court.

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Freitag, 17. November 2017, 17:31

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods to become first in national park system to require year-round vehicle reservations

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In an attempt to reduce traffic jams and overcrowding, Muir Woods National Monument will become the first national park unit in the United States to require reservations year-round for all vehicles to enter the park.
Managers of the Marin County preserve, famous for its towering redwood trees, announced Thursday that starting Jan. 16 everybody who plans to bring a car to Muir Woods will need to book a reservation online or by phone. Vehicles without reservations will be turned away at the gate.
The parking lot at Muir Woods has 232 spaces. Reservations will cost $8 per vehicle in addition to the $10 park entrance fee and will be taken starting Jan. 1 at gomuirwoods.com. After that, reservations can be booked 90 days in advance.
“Visitation has continued to increase,” said Darren Brown, a transportation planner with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which manages Muir Woods. “The problem is too many cars. It’s extremely crowded, and we can’t handle as many cars that end up going there.”
Last year, 1.1 million people visited Muir Woods, up 30 percent from the decade before. The new reservation system is expected to reduce that number to about 924,000, the National Park Service estimates.
The 554-acre forest, named for naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir, was preserved more than a century ago by Marin County Congressman William Kent, who purchased some of the land and donated it to the federal government. President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument in 1908, and Kent went on to become a lead author of the bill that established the National Park Service in 1916.
The property has become wildly popular over the generations, however, receiving up to 6,000 visitors on some summer weekend days. Motorists have parked cars along the winding roads in the area, causing problems and harming the adjacent Redwood Creek, home to endangered coho salmon.
“Some weekends, we’ll have 250 or 300 cars parked down the road more than a mile from the monument,” Brown said. “People were walking in the road. It wasn’t safe.”
The park service will continue to let hikers and bicyclists into Muir Woods without a reservation. Disabled spots will require a reservation like the other parking spaces. The agency plans to post signs starting in January along Highway 101 and other local roads telling people they won’t be allowed into the park without a reservation.
And people who show up at the last minute hoping to make a reservation from the gate will be out of luck. There’s no cellphone service there.
The park service also will expand shuttle bus service, which now runs on summer weekends, to run every weekend beginning Jan. 16. Shuttle reservations are $3.
Environmentalists on Thursday were generally supportive of the overall plan.
“I can certainly count myself among those more than 1 million people who have experienced frustrations when attempting to visit and park my car,” said Kati Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the National Parks Conservation Association in San Francisco. “We support the reservation and shuttle solution.”
Attempts to put similar reservation systems for vehicles in place at other national parks have been met with opposition from local communities, who have worried that it would harm tourism.
Former Yosemite Superintendent B.J. Griffin drew waves of controversy in the mid-1990s when she began exploring the idea as a way to cut down on crowds in that park. She later dropped the idea.
This year, however, with annual visitation now up to 5 million people, Yosemite officials instituted a pilot program for four weekends in August at one parking lot near Yosemite Falls. In February, Haleakala National Park in Hawaii began requiring reservations for anyone wanting to drive a car to the summit of the mountain from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. to watch the fabled Maui sunrise.

Meanwhile, Zion and Arches national parks in Utah are also studying the idea.
The Muir Woods plan was discussed for several years. At first, the park service proposed building a new remote parking lot along the slopes of Mount Tamalpais, on the Panoramic Highway near Mill Valley. But neighbors vociferously fought that idea — and it was dropped. The park service also proposed building a shuttle bus station near Muir Woods at Muir Beach, but neighbors sued to stop that idea.
The reservation system grew out of a task force of neighbors, business groups, environmentalists and local leaders convened by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael.
“There was some controversy when we began discussing it,” Brown said. “Certainly the communities on the approaches to Muir Woods are affected by it. Now everybody is pretty much in agreement.”

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