Travel: Government shutdown blamed for big drop in national park visits

Government dysfunction hurts gateway towns near parks

The Grand Canyon, bberwyn photo.

The Grand Canyon, bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Visits to National Parks in the U.S. fell slightly in 2013, mainly due to the government shutdown in October, when the National Park Service turned away millions of visitors.

In total, 273.6 million total visits were recorded during the year at the 401 parks, down 9.1 million visits from 2012. The shutdown also resulted in an estimated loss of $414 million in visitor spending in gateway and local communities across the country when comparing October 2013 to a three-year average (October 2010-12). Continue reading

I’m no Aixpert, and I don’t want to aixacerbate the problem, but aixpressly speaking there are an aixtraordinary amount of aixellent puns here.

Journey into Provence …

Aixellent travel blog and pics by @kberwyn!

Aixellent travel blog and pics by @kberwyn! Click on the pic to see the post.

Morning photo: Sunday in Saranda

Lazin’ in the sunshine …

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By the fountain.

FRISCO —As different and exotic as Albania may seem, the people there enjoy the same simple pleasures we all do, like taking time out to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon. After I enjoyed Sunday’s sunshine here in Frisco, I came upon a set of images taken a few years ago in Saranda, a harbor and resort town along the edge of the Ionian Sea. Just like Summit County, Saranda is a popular tourist destination, but when Leigh and I visited in late September, it was off season. And just like Summit County, locals were taking it easy and enjoying the respite from waves of visitors. Continue reading

Travel: Operation Odessa

From the Potemkin Stairs to Pushkin

Got watermelons? Kim Fenske finds a stash during his exploration of Odessa.

Got watermelons? Kim Fenske finds a stash during his exploration of Odessa.

 

Traditional agricultural heritage blends with seaside resort tourism in Odessa.

Traditional agricultural heritage blends with seaside resort tourism in Odessa.

Story and photos by Kim Fenske

Always up for a challenge, I decided to fly overseas for the first time in my life to a region where I did not speak a single word of the local language. My general objective was to ascend the highest peak in the Carpathians of Ukraine, Hoverla Mountain, 6,762 feet, about three thousand vertical feet below my home at the base of Copper Mountain. Along the way, I was going to visit Odessa, the most important Black Sea port in the former Soviet Union.
With two weeks to go before my vacation days began, I bought tickets to fly into Odessa. Once committed to the trek, I booked a reservation for a couple of nights lodging within the Odessa Center, next to the Potemkin Stairs. Continue reading

Morning photo: End of the Earth

Ushuaia revisited …

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Mountain panorama, Ushuaia.

FRISCO — It’s been a few years since we visited Ushuaia on our way to Antarctica, but the memories are as vivid as ever. The wild landscapes at the tip of South America are simply marvelous, and the Earth’s southernmost city is full of gritty charm. Here’s a quick flashback set. Continue reading

Morning photo: Warmup!

Summer scenes

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A blazing sunset of the coast of Negril, Jamaica.

FRISCO — After posting several sets featuring the incredibly beautiful snows we’ve been experiencing here in Colorado, I decided it was time for a warmup, so I searched the Summit Voice photo archives for some summer scenes. It’s just a reminder that winter won’t last forever, so enjoy it while it’s here! Continue reading

Morning photo: Alleys

Come for a stroll …

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An inviting alleyway in the old town of Corfu, designated as a world heritage district.

FRISCO — While yesterday’s photo essay offered a bird’s eye view of city rooftops, today’s edition is at ground level, taking a look at some alleys around the world. By definition, an alley, or alleyway, is a narrow lane, path, or passage way, often for pedestrians only, which usually runs between or behind buildings, often in the older parts of towns and cities. For a traveler or explorer, that’s a pretty prosaic point of view. We prefer to see alleys as a pathway to adventures in unknown destinations. After all, what could be more inviting than a narrow, winding cobblestone path, beckoning to the unknown. Continue reading

Morning photo: Rooftops

Up high …

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Salzburg in the sun.

FRISCO — I don’t ever really think consciously about getting a picture of a city’s rooftops, but inevitably on our treks, Leigh and I end up at an overlook somewhere — maybe on a hill or in a church steeple — where the city below unfolds like a street map. In some cases, you can see how a town grew organically, near a shallow river crossing, or from a central market place. Other times, you can sense how man imposed his will on the landscape, imposing a strict grid pattern over the contours of the land. I’m a big fan of getting the view from a good vantage point to help explore a new destination, or rediscover familiar territory, so next time you visit a new city, look for the high ground! Continue reading

Travel: National Parks boost healthy, sustainable food

The cafeteria at Muir Woods National Monument in California showcases organic, locally produced foods.

The cafeteria at Muir Woods National Monument in California showcases organic, locally produced foods. bberwyn photo.

New guidelines also encourage shift to locally produced food

By Bob Berwyn

Hot dogs and hamburgers will remain on the menu at 250 national park snack bars and restaurants, but 23 million park visitors are also finding healthier options like fish tacos and yogurt parfaits.

The changes come under a new two-part set of rules finalized in April 2013 and  rolled out across the country this summer.

“Park visitors are going to  see really tasty choices that are healthy for them, with sustainable attributes, some regionality and a softer environmental footprint,” said Kurt Rausch, a National Park Service contracting specialist who helped develop the new guidelines for businesses offering food sales in parks. Continue reading

San Antonio missions may get World Heritage status

‘The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage …’

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The Alamo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It’s been nearly 20 years since a new World Heritage site has been designated in the U.S. but that could soon change. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell last week said the San Antonio Missions, including the Alamo, will be nominated for the international list, which recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet.

The most recent U.S. addition to the World Heritage register was the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (administered jointly with Canada) in 1995.

“World Heritage Sites represent an incredible opportunity for the United States to tell the world the whole story of America and the remarkable diversity of our people and beauty of our land,” Jewell said. “The San Antonio Missions represents a vital part of our nation’s Latino heritage and the contributions of Latinos to the building of our country.” Continue reading

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