In its rush Thursday to take the rest of the summer off, Congress left behind a pile of unfinished work, some of which reaches into the National Park System. There's the Interior appropriations bill, which would roll back some environmental protections, and a controversial Public Lands Initiative for Utah that quickly drew fire. And then there's the draft platform for the Republican Convention, which holds freight aimed at fleecing federal lands and tying presidents' hands.
Hovenweep National Monument
Spend any time deep in the heart of Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah and you'll know the park has some of the darkest night skies you've seen. Now the International Dark-Sky Association has made that fact official by recognizing the park for its dark night skies.
Fall is a season of transition in the National Park System, from long, hot days with crowded roads and trails, to cooler, crisper weather that beckons you to make a few more trips before winter sets in. Here is the first of four suggestions to jump on now, or to add to your to-do list.
If you like to frequent the national parks in southeastern Utah, and not many others, you might consider spending $25 for an annual pass to Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments.
In Hovenweep National Monument you can lose yourself in the silence, and worry about the future of this magnificent landscape.
Dotting the sandstone floors of the Colorado plateau are countless potholes -- shallow depressions that hold water only for short periods after rains. But during those wet periods, these potholes come to life with a variety of intriguing creatures, including fairy shrimp.
Hot, Dry Conditions Prompt Fire Restrictions In Canyonlands And Arches National Parks, Natural Bridges And Hovenweep National Monuments
If you're planning a visit to southeastern Utah's national parks, be aware that the Southwest's hot, dry conditions have led National Park Service officials to issue restrictions on open fires in Arches and Canyonlands national parks as well as Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments.
If you've got some artistic flare, and a desire to spend some time in the high desert of southeastern Utah, now is the time to get your application in for the 2011 Community Artist in the Parks Program.
Fall and winter months often are best spent researching road trips, and to help you plan a trek through the Southwest with stops at such places as Mesa Verde National Park and Hovenweep National Monument there's a great new website that takes you down the "Trail of the Ancients."