Of Trains and Arches in Utah's Parks

Utah State QuarterI've got a couple of current stories here from Utah that you may be interested in.

Golden Spike Anniversary
On this date (May 10) back in 1869 in northern Utah at a place called Promontory Summit, a ceremonial final railroad spike made of gold was driven to complete the Transcontinental Railroad. That location has been preserved as the Golden Spike National Historic Site. The site has two locomotives which reenact the ceremony daily during the summer. Today, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah's Governor will be the one driving the replica spike. He is visiting the site today to announce Utah's pick for their new state quarter which depicts the events 137 years ago. Looks like I'll have to update my list of state quarters which include our National Parks.

Climbing Delicate Arch, The Aftermath
A day after it hit the press I still find this story upsetting, and I'm not the only one. A climber has done a solo climb to the top of Delicate Arch inside of Arches National Park. The climber, Dean Potter, lives in nearby Moab and is a Patagonia Alpine Ambassador. In other words, this guy should have known better than to spread his white climbing chalk all over a national icon! This has made a lot of folks in the climbing community upset. Patagonia says they did not endorse his climb but they are now associated with this mess because of their sponsorship of Potter (although, in a Salt Lake Tribune editorial today, it is suggested that Patagonia was planning on using photos of the climb in an advertisement, and it was someone from Patagonia marketing which released the story of the climb to the press). The Park Service has made it crystal clear today that this type of activity is strictly prohibited.
Effective May 9, 2006, under the authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1), all rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited.