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

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: 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

German travel company says no to dolphin shows

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An orca swims in the Antarctic Sound. bberwyn photo.

Decision based on animal welfare concerns

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Germany’s largest travel agency and tour operator has announced that it won’t be offering any more trips to destinations that keep whales and dolphins in captivity.

TUI Deutschland officials made the decision after aligning themselves with an advocacy group that has highlighted just a few of the problems faced by captive cetaceans, including tiny enclosures and disruption of social structures.

TUI also cited information from the CNN documentary Blackfish, which is set to air once again on Feb. 9. The company also said it won’t offer trips to destinations that advertise swimming with dolphins, according to the German publication Die Welt.

While facilities like SeaWorld and other marine parks see themselves as good stewards of marine mammals, public pressure is growing to end the practice of showing whales and dolphins for entertainment.

German wildlife advocates said recent worldwide attention on the gruesome dolphin slaughter in Taji also helped push the huge tour operator toward the decision.

Morning photo: Alleys

Come for a stroll …

Corfu

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

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