More than 260,000 people visited Yellowstone National Park in May, a 20 percent increase from the same month a year ago. During the first five months of 2009, nearly 360,000 people entered the world's first national park. That is an increase of almost 11 percent from last year.
State Parks Board meeting
The Utah State Parks and Recreation Board will meet June 25 from 10:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Soldier Hollow Day Lodge at Wasatch Mountain State Park. Topics for discussion include resource management plans for Antelope Island and Yuba state parks; a name change for Iron Mission State Park Museum; and proposed changes to state park fees. New board officers also will be elected.
The Ogden Nature Center, 966 W. 12th St., Ogden, seeks volunteers to feed and clean cages for live animals. Family teams are welcome, but children must be closely supervised by adults. The animals include birds of prey, snakes, tortoises, salamanders and spiders. Experience is not necessary; training will be provided. Contact volunteer coordinator Jenny Frame at 801-621-7595 or at firstname.lastname@example.org" Target="_BLANK">email@example.com for more information.
The fifth annual Swaner EcoFestival will be June 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Swaner EcoCenter at Kimball Junction. The festival is a free, family-friendly event with live music, food, children's arts and crafts, climbing walls and nature walks. Scheduled activities include a beginning wildlife photography class, animals from Hogle Zoo and green building tours. Call 435-649-1767 ext. 109 or e-mail savannah@SwanerEcoCenter.org" Target="_BLANK">savannah@SwanerEcoCenter.org for more information.
Zion tops list
According to travelers and editors from TripAdvisor, Utah's Zion National Park is the best in the country. Zion was No. 1 on a top 10 list of U.S. national parks. The publication picked Zion because its "stunning red monoliths and canyons of the park invite visitors to explore its beauty by camping, biking, touring by car, hiking and more. Adventurous travelers can embark on the exciting Angels Landing hike, and the views make the daring climb well worth it." According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "It's the best view in the entire park, and best hike I have ever done! Do not miss it!"
Other parks on the list, in order, are: Grand Canyon; White Sands National Monument; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Redwood National and State Parks; Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area; Grand Teton National Park; Mount Rainier National Park; Yosemite National Park; and Acadia National Park.
The nation goes camping
The National Wildlife Federation encourages Americans to get outdoors June 27 with its Great American Backyard Campout.
The event is part of NWF's Be Out There campaign to encourage American families to spend time in nature every day. Visit http://www.backyardcampout.org" Target="_BLANK">http://www.backyardcampout.org for information about group events around the country, recipes, camping tips, family activities, mp3s of campfire songs and more. You can register your campsite there, whether it's in your backyard or at an established campground with other families.
National Wildlife Federation offers free resources to help children and families enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, cycling or hiking. Visit http://www.nwf.org/naturefind" Target="_BLANK">http://www.nwf.org/naturefind for information about family-friendly and affordable outdoor activities and events.
Audubon birding trips
Trips are free, but contributions for gas are encouraged. Be sure to call the trip leader to verify trip details.
June 28, 7 a.m. » Mormon Flats, Parleys Canyon. This trip includes an easy hike on a nice trail following a stream with a variety of birds. Meet in the parking lot just west of REI, 3285 E. 3300 South, East Millcreek, to carpool up Parleys Canyon to Jeremy Ranch. From there it is a five-mile dirt-road drive to the trailhead. Call Vivian Schneggenburger, 801-485-7342, to sign up or for questions.
Utah State Parks events
June 30 » Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Escalante. Geology hike: Travel 150 million years back in time! Explore the park's unique geology on this guided 1-mile hike at 10 a.m. 435-826-4466.
July 2 » Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Blanding. An artist reception for the "Desert Horses -- Painted by the Women Who Ride Them" exhibit will be from 6 to 8 p.m. View the new exhibit of original Western paintings by Moab artist Page Holland and daughter Sunnie Holland of San Antonio, Texas. The show runs through Jan. 30. 435-678-2238.
July 4 » Antelope Island State Park, Syracuse. Independence Day weekend events: Join park staff for Independence Day weekend at historic Fielding Garr Ranch. Learn how the people of Antelope Island lived, learn to make pioneer handkerchief dolls, pick up a needle and quilt, and learn pioneer games such as farm ball. Activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 2 p.m., children ages 6 to 12 can will learn about Antelope Island's pioneer history to earn a Junior Ranger badge. 801-649-5742.
July 4 » Jordanelle State Park, Francis. "All About the Sun" program: Children ages 6 to 10 are invited to join the park naturalist from 11 a.m. to noon to learn about the sun. Children earn a badge and certificate. Rock Cliff is on the east side of the reservoir. 435-782-3030.
July 4 » Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, Vernal. Dippy's birthday celebration: Join park staff from 1 to 3 p.m. and celebrate the discovery of the original Diplodocus sauropod dinosaur, affectionately known as Dippy. 435-789-3799.
July 4 » Wasatch Mountain State Park, Midway. "A Tree's Life" program: Trees provide plants, animals, insects and people with food, shelter and safety. Children ages 6 to 12 are invited to join park staff for a one-hour Junior Ranger program to learn about and discover some of the wonders of trees. Program begins at 1 p.m. at the campground office. 435-654-1791.
July 4 » Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum, Fillmore. Join staff from the museum and Fillmore City for the traditional Fourth of July celebration. Food and activities are available, plus plenty of fun games, including a rounders tournament. Rounders is similar to baseball, but involves more players. 435-743-5316.
To get your event listed, e-mail the information to firstname.lastname@example.org" Target="_BLANK">email@example.com or mail it to Brett Prettyman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.