By Brian Maffly
By Brian Maffly
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Locals worry about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

Locals worry about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

A sprawling network of camping resorts soon could begin unfolding in the Kolob highlands on ’s northern boundary, potentially resulting in an influx of overnight use in a remote and scenic part of southern Utah. Late last year, Ian Crowe, a St. George real estate broker, filed applications with Washington County officials to develop up to nearly 3,000 camping sites, including yurts, tents, vintage trailers, shipping containers, even treehouses, near Kolob Reservoir and the park’s Lava Point, about 25 miles up the winding Kolob Terrace Road from the town of Virgin. But the project was...

June 20, 2020
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Utah gave group $400,000 to sue the feds on public lands issues. It never did. What happened?

Utah gave group $400,000 to sue the feds on public lands issues. It never did. What happened?

In 2016, the Utah Legislature opened up its wallet to a nonprofit called the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM), one of several groups that have received millions in taxpayers dollars in recent years to push greater local and state control over Utah’s large expanses of federal land and imperiled wildlife. But FIRM’s taxpayer-supported charge was specific: File lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of Utah counties. The goal was to reverse restrictive land-use policies as a way to promote “integrated” use of natural resources. Four years and $400,000 later, FIRM...

June 23, 2020
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Pressure builds from locals to close Utah’s Zion National Park even as tourists continue to go there

Pressure builds from locals to close Utah’s Zion National Park even as tourists continue to go there

While visitor services and many popular Zion Canyon destinations are closed, southern Utah’s remained open Thursday despite pleas from two gateway towns to shut down the tourist spot, which has seen heavy spring traffic by out-of-staters. In recent days, elected officials in Springdale and Rockville voted to send letters to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to close Zion, one of the nation’s most heavily visited national parks, especially in April. “We feel the park’s closure is essential to limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Utah. Out-of-state visitors continue to...

April 2, 2020
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Study: Shrinking national monuments could cost hundreds of jobs

Study: Shrinking national monuments could cost hundreds of jobs

While rural Utah leaders have long derided national monument designations as an unacceptable drag on their area economies, a new study by a nonpartisan think tank indicates that large monuments, including , on balance, have helped drive economic activity in adjacent communities. And, it warns, reducing them in size, as , could cost hundreds of jobs. These are the findings of , a long-established nonpartisan organization, based in Washington, D.C. Its economists analyzed the economic effects of 14 large monuments designated in eight Western states between 1996 and 2014, teasing out causal...

March 27, 2020
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Local leaders shut down popular recreation sites, campgrounds in Grand Staircase, San Rafael Swell, other hiking hot spots

Local leaders shut down popular recreation sites, campgrounds in Grand Staircase, San Rafael Swell, other hiking hot spots

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern. See more coverage . To support journalism like this, please consider or become a . The clampdown on outdoor recreation has spread to two more southern Utah counties, where area officials have become increasingly alarmed with the spring influx of visitors streaming onto scenic public lands, particularly the San Rafael Swell and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, fearing that they could unwittingly spread the coronavirus and...

April 8, 2020
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Utah national parks prepare to reopen, but don’t expect a normal park experience

Utah national parks prepare to reopen, but don’t expect a normal park experience

Bryce Canyon, Utah’s last national park to close as the coronavirus swept the nation, is poised to be the first to resume operations May 6 even as new infections climb in other parts of the state. For the time being, of the high-elevation park and services will be all but nonexistent. “We shy away from saying ‘reopening’ because people won’t be able to experience the parks the way they have in the past,” said National Park Service spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo. Acting on a directive from President Donald Trump, the National Park Service is looking to open its shuttered parks and other...

May 1, 2020
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