National parks visitation sets all-time record in 2014

Park visitors spent more than $15 billion last year

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Visitors enjoy the scenery at Colorado National Monument. bberwyn photo

Elk Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  bberwyn photo

Staff Report

FRISCO — As the National Park Service nears its 100th anniversary, the parks it manages are more popular than ever. Visitation to national parks broke a long-standing record last year, with more than 292 million visits. The previous record was set in 1987.

“As the National Park Service strives to share a more inclusive and well-rounded version of the American story through the places we care for, it is gratifying to see more people than ever coming to their national parks to enjoy nature, learn about history, and spend time with their families,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. Continue reading

Morning photo: Colors of Iceland

Flashback …


FRISCO — From the surreal mineral-tinted waters of the Blue Lagoon to glacial runoff in the highlands, Iceland is dominated by water features. As I recently wandered through the Summit Voice photo archives, I noticed how nearly every single image in the set included water in some form, including massive geysers, ubiquitous waterfalls and, of course, the sea!

Report: No gains in U.S. airline fuel efficiency

Industry foot-dragging continues,; lawsuits pending

An Iceland Air jet flies over Greenland en route from Reykjavik to Denver. bberwyn photo.

An Iceland Air jet flies over Greenland en route from Reykjavik to Denver. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — U.S. airlines aren’t making much progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation. Despite some improvement by individual airlines, the analysis showed there was  no net improvement in the fuel efficiency of U.S. domestic operations from 2012 to 2013.

The nonprofit organization also calculated that two of the most fuel efficient carriers  — Alaska and Spirit — had the highest operating profit margins in 2013. Meanwhile less-efficient carriers like Allegiant made profits while using old, polluting and less efficient aircraft. The study findings contradict airline industry arguments that fuel costs automatically push airlines to maximize efficiency. Continue reading

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
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