June 19, 2004 |
Invoking an obscure 19th century law, officials of a rural Utah county have announced their intention to establish a road to a scenic rock formation through a remote part of Canyonlands National Park. It is the first time a local government has formally laid claim to a right of way in a national park in the lower 48 states, though authorities in other western states, including California, have indicated a similar intent.
May 16, 2004 |
The real mountain bikers, those with ropy leg muscles and well-worn bike saddles, careened down the Jeep Trail, past the red rocks and purple pinnacles, toward the White Rim Trail below. In minutes, they sliced through the sandstone layer cake of reds, chocolate browns, curry yellows and greens that took 15 million years for time and water to carve into a labyrinth of colored canyons, buttes and arches.
October 7, 2003 |
We are sprawled flat on our backs on a sandstone slab, soaking in darkness this August night with the satisfaction of Iditarod dropouts basking in a wintertime tropical sun. Above us, the sky pulsates with 11,000 visible stars. We can pick out the Pleiades, Andromeda and Perseus' double cluster as shooting stars whisk by, the last of the Perseids meteor shower. Mars burns feverishly. The Milky Way, thick with stars, forms a wide silver arch over our heads. We are deep inside Canyonlands National Park at an outlook called Grand View Point, one of the darkest spots in the United States: 57 miles from the Interstate 70 headlights, 33 miles from the nearest stoplight, 27 miles from a gas station sign, 12 from an electrical outlet.
July 20, 1997 |
These places offer exceptional quiet, according to the National Park Service: Arizona Chiricahua National Monument Fort Bowie National Monument Grand Canyon (off-season) Tonto National Monument California Death Valley Colorado Dinosaur National Monument Hawaii and Samoa Haleakala National Park Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Kalaupapa National Historical Park National Park of American Samoa, Tau and Tutuila Units Nevada Lake Mead National Recreation Area New Mexico Aztec Ruins Chaco Culture
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 1993 |
Music blaring from cars in the parking lots of Arches National Park violates the solitude of the southeastern Utah desert. A mobile mountain bike repair shop sits astride the road leading to Slickrock Trail. Traffic is snarled, property prices are soaring. Tourists, alas, have found Moab.
April 17, 1988 |
Despite a few flaws, our national parks remain incomparable--unencumbered by such staples of urban blight as billboards and mini-malls. With rare exception, they are the best that America has to offer. National parks belong to all of us. Even with various restrictions and restraints, they essentially are places to be free. The use of automobiles is gradually being curbed; so is helicopter touring.