4 Chinese tourists dead, over 20 injured in tour bus crash in Utah, US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

4 Chinese tourists dead, over 20 injured in tour bus crash in Utah, US

Xinhua
4 Chinese tourists dead, over 20 injured in tour bus crash in Utah, US

AFP

This image released on the Utah Highway Patrol tweeter feed shows a bus transporting Chinese tourists after it crashed on September 20, 2019, near Bryce Canyon National Park.

Four Chinese tourists died and over 20 were injured in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in the US state of Utah on Friday, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

A total of 31 people were on the bus including the driver. All 30 passengers are Chinese nationals, according to the update of the UHP on Friday night.

“Four have been killed, 12-15 with critical injuries and 10 more with minor to serious injuries,” the UHP tweeted, later adding that the driver is a Chinese American and one of the injured parties.

“We are working with the Chinese Embassy to assist the passengers as well as make notification to families in China,” the UHP added.

Currently, five of the injured are in critical condition, with several more with very minor to serious injuries in stable condition, said UHP.

The crash occurred before Friday noon on the state road 12 (SR-12), about 5.6 km west of Bryce Canyon, according to authorities and staff of the park.

According UHP, the tour bus was eastbound on SR-12 heading towards Bryce Canyon. The bus drifted off the road to the right. The driver over-corrected to the left and the bus rolled over, during which it landed on a guardrail and then came to rest on its wheels blocking the westbound lane.

The Chinese Embassy in the United States said the bus was carrying a Chinese tour group into Bryce Canyon in Garfield County.

The embassy said in a statement that it has been in touch with local police for further details regarding the accident and has dispatched an emergency team to provide assistance for the victims.

Three helicopters were dispatched and multiple agencies were involved, said the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

A video footage acquired by Xinhua showed the top of the white bus was smashed with one side peeled away. The footage was shot by a Chinese tourist on a bus passing by the scene. Screams and sighs could be heard in the video.

The UHP said multiple air ambulances and rescue crews have been dispatched.

The injured have been taken to area hospitals throughout southern Utah, and several were transported by an air ambulance, according to the UHP.

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent US government agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation, tweeted Friday afternoon it was launching a team to investigate the crash.

Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told media that he felt terrible for those involved in the crash.

“This is pretty overwhelming for a little county of 4,900 people. This is just horrible for us,” he was quoted by US media as saying.

Some victims were treated at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch City, Utah, according to media reports.

The hospital tweeted Friday night it has received 19 patients so far, among whom 11 have been transferred, one admitted and seven discharged.

“I grieve with all who lost loved ones in this crash and I’m grateful for the quick work of first responders, as well as all those who are volunteering to act as translators,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert tweeted.

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is known for its unique geology, according to the National Park Service website.

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Camping Destinations With the Best Views

There’s nothing like a camping trip to disconnect from everyday life and get out into nature. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous camping trip or just a leisurely long weekend to unplug and unwind, you’ll want to take a look at these five U.S. camping destinations that have the best views.

ADVERTISEMENT

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Credit: PictureLake/iStock

They don’t call Maine the Pine Tree State (yes, that’s a real thing) for nothing. Step into any park inside the state and you’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous pine trees. Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine is no exception. Located on the Atlantic coast, you can get views of not just trees, but the Atlantic shoreline.

What’s really stunning is the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. If you hike there at sunrise, you can enjoy the thrill of being the very first person in the country to see the sunrise, since that’s the easternmost point of land in the United States. This fact alone makes the trek worth it.

There are three campgrounds inside the park. Blackwoods is closer to the town center and is better for those of us who prefer to camp in a secluded area but enjoy knowing there’s civilization just a short drive away. If you want a more rustic camping experience, you’ll want to stay at Seawall. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy views of the water from your campsite, then you’ll want to check out Schoodic Woods. Know that you can hike anywhere you want in the park, but these are the only three designated areas where you’re allowed to set up camp.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Credit: AppalachianViews/iStock

When you’re standing in the middle of Washington, D.C., on a busy day, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 75 miles away lies an oasis that’s as serene as the D.C. metro is crowded. Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails. Many of them take you through several miles of quiet and peaceful wilderness, leaving you alone with your thoughts. Others take you to beautiful waterfalls or stunning viewpoints overlooking the trees and Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

The park sits on 200,000 acres of protected land. It allows backcountry camping for the truly adventurous who want to get off the beaten path and away from everyone. If you’re up for a challenge, take the eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain. This is the most popular route because of the stunning views at the peak. You can camp in one of four campgrounds during every season except winter. If you want to backcountry camp, you’ll need to get a permit (it’s free).

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Credit: Ershov_Maks/iStock

As one of the few places in the country where you can still see glaciers, Glacier National Park in Montana is open year-round to visitors. It features a shocking 1,009 campsites within 13 separate campgrounds, but they’re spread out enough that the park can be full and you’ll still feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (which, for the record, you are). There are over 700 miles of trails, making it the perfect destination for avid hikers. You’ll traverse through forests, meadows, and mountains while seeing spectacular views of lakes and, of course, glaciers.

If you’re up for a drive through the mountains, the 50-mile stretch known as Going-to-the-Sun Road runs through the middle of the park and connects the east side to the west side. While it’s a good way to get from one end of the park to the other in a relatively short amount of time (one way takes about two hours), the view from the highest point is the real highlight. Logan Pass is the highest point on the road, and it sits at 6,646 feet. From this point, you get a panoramic view of the majesty around you, including the glaciers below. You’ll probably also run into some animals, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Note that portions of the road can close at any time for weather, particularly for snow in the winter.

Category IconNature
4pts

Daily trivia question

Today’s Trivia Question

Where is the largest city park in the U.S.?

PLAY!Plane icon

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Credit: Anton Foltin/Shutterstock

Deep in the heart of red rock country lies Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. While we’ve talked before about how desert vacations can be relaxing, this trip is more adventurous. The really cool thing about this park is the Waterpocket Fold, which is a geological wrinkle (officially termed a geologic monocline) on the surface of the Earth that was formed somewhere between 50 million and 70  million years ago. Capital Reef happens to sit at the most scenic part of the fold. The park extends nearly 100 miles and includes canyons, bridges, domes, and cliffs for hikers and adventurers to explore.

Backcountry camping is available with a permit. If you prefer traditional campsites, you can stay at the Fruita campground, which is a developed campground that holds 71 sites. More remote campgrounds are also available if you prefer roughing it. Cedar Mesa and Cathedral Valley don’t have water but they do have pit toilets.

The national park sits on a historic site that has been inhabited since at least 500 B.C. You can even see petroglyphs etched into stone along with some painted pictographs. These remnants of the people who used to live on the land have been preserved as much as possible.

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

Little Beaver Lake Campground, Michigan

Credit: simplycmb/iStock

Michigan’s Upper Penninsula (or simply “up north” to Michigan natives) is an often overlooked place of natural beauty. Little Beaver Lake Campground is particularly noteworthy for its views of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You’ll enjoy unbelievable lake views and can take your boat around to see the famed pictured rocks. If you’re more of a hiker, you’ll enjoy hiking through the forests surrounding the campground. Backcountry camping is available with a permit, or you can stay at one of three rustic campgrounds.

This campground is open year-round. While summer brings tourists who like to kayak, boat, or do other water sports, wintertime allows for snowmobiling, ice climbing, winter camping, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall before, consider making a trip to Little Beaver Lake Campground in the winter. Bring your climbing gear and make sure to pack your warmest clothes, and be prepared for snow. Lots of it. The area can get up to 200 inches of snow during the winter.

Make a Pit Stop at These 5 Wacky Roadside Attractions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Make a Pit Stop at These 5 Wacky Roadside Attractions

The classic road trip is one of America’s quintessential summer activities. It calls for curated music, a well-stocked snack supply, and of course, ample stops at the wacky roadside attractions that decorate our nation’s highways. No summer road trip would be complete without a visit to these intriguing—and in some cases, downright odd—places that are just an interstate exit away.

Carhenge

Credit: Edwin Verin / Shutterstock.com

Where to see it: Alliance, Nebraska

Who needs a trip to the U.K. to see Stonehenge when Alliance, Nebraska, has something even better? This wacky monument is an homage to vintage American vehicles, all painted gray to look like the stones of the famous ancient site. The artist, Jim Reinders, enjoys experimenting with unusual and interesting concepts within his art installations. He wanted to copy Stonehenge after living in England for some time, and with that, Carhenge was born. Using 39 vehicles that assume the same proportions of Stonehenge, Carhenge is approximately 96 feet wide. Located off Highway 87, Carhenge attracts plenty of summer tourists each year. There is a gift shop in case you want a commemorative magnet or postcard to mark your visit to this wacky roadside attraction.

The Tree of Utah

Credit: 314pies / Instagram

Where to see it: Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah

Created by Swedish artist Karl Momen in the 1980’s, you can find this large-scale art installation in the Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah, just off Interstate 80. About 25 miles north of the town of Wendover and halfway between the now abandoned railroad communities of Arinosa and Varro, the artists created the sculpture as an ode to life. The Tree of Utah is over 80 feet tall and can withstand desert winds up to 130 mph, tornado’s, or earthquakes. It is one of the most resilient art structures in the world.

Local highway patrol estimates that 2 million cars travel past the Tree of Utah annually. On average, five cars an hour stop to gaze at Momen’s construction and ponder the meaning of life. The Tree of Utah is made mainly of concrete but has six spheres coated with natural rock and minerals native to Utah. It’s said that Momen had a vision of it while driving across the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Sun Tunnels

Credit: dreamthecombine / Instagram

Where to see it: Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah

If you are up near Wendover, Utah, it’s worth the trip to head over to Nancy Holt’s tunnel art installation as well. These four large concrete tubes, completed in 1986, form an open-X shape on the dried Great Salt Lake bed. The 18-foot long concrete tunnels are tall enough that you will not need to duck when you go inside. These tunnels have holes of varying sizes drilled into them that replicate constellations and allow visitors to gaze at the heavens.

Holt’s focus on the changing degrees of light show different shadow forms inside the tunnels. This enables visitors to “bring the vast space of the desert back to human scale.” During the summer and winter solstices, check out the sunset on the horizon, centered through the tunnels. Holt’s work is considered one of the most defining installations of “land-art” and has largely defined her career.

Enchanted HighwayNorth

Credit: J24L / flickr

Where to see it: Southwestern North Dakota

A collection of large art installations dot the landscape of North Dakota, making the Enchanted Highway an ideal roadside attraction to add to your list. This stretch of highway features metal sculptures of local prairie animals. There are also nods to the local indigenous culture and history of the region. Visitors to this wacky roadside attraction can even enjoy an entire collection featuring Teddy Roosevelt, which has a horse-drawn carriage. Alternatively, check out the World’s Largest Tin Family made completely from empty oil drums. Head over to Highway 94 at Gladstone and enjoy over 30 miles of very unusual art.

Salvation Mountain

Credit: Decruyenaere / Wikimedia

Where to see it: Southern California

This unusual roadside attraction is in the remote desert of Southern California and located less than 100 miles from Palm Springs. Salvation Mountain is the life’s work of local resident Leonard Knight. Knight wanted to illustrate his love and devotion to his faith and wanted to make sure the world could see it. Murals, messages, and imagery that depict Christian Bible verses cover the mountain in colorful paint. Make sure you avoid visiting Salvation Mountain in the summertime, as temperatures in the region can exceed 100F. This attraction took Knight almost three decades to complete and has used over half a million gallons of paint.

With more than 4 million miles of roads and highways that crisscross the country, you are sure to be within driving distance of these quirky and unusual roadside attractions. So the next time you’re feeling a little worn or need something extraordinary to spark your imagination, stop by for a visit.

3 Desert Destinations to Relax In

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Desert Destinations to Relax In

Deserts are an excellent place to take some time for yourself. Sparsely inhabited spaces, breathtaking sights, and warm climates will all help you unwind. Here are three desert destinations where you can relax.

Joshua Tree, California

Credit: Dennis Silvas / Shutterstock.com

This quirky town is located a couple of hours outside of Los Angeles and is a high-desert refuge for artists and free thinkers. It is also the entry point to Joshua Tree National Park. While many desert destinations are defined by their general emptiness, Joshua Tree National Park is celebrated for the great abundance of interesting things.

The park gets its name from the trees that are found almost everywhere. Joshua trees appear to have come to life from the illustrations of a Dr. Seuss book. The ubiquity of the trees and the many interestingly shaped boulders and other natural rock structures give the park an otherworldly appeal.

Joshua Tree is also a haven for rock climbing, if your idea of relaxing involves climbing to the top of a boulder or a cliff face. In addition, extensive trail systems let you wander the park and see the unique ecosystem where the Colorado and Mojave deserts meet. There are also multiple campsites where you can sleep under the stars and enjoy the eerie landscape in the dark.

Sedona, Arizona

Credit: Beth Ruggiero-York / Shutterstock.com

If you prefer your desert oasis to have a bit more infrastructure, head to Sedona. This town, just 30 miles south of Flagstaff, is known for the striking red sandstone rock formations that surround it. Sedona is also at the center of hundreds of miles of trails for use by runners, bikers, and hikers.

Sedona first came to prominence as the center of the Sedona spiritual vortexes, or natural lines of electromagnetic energy. While the Sedona spiritual vortexes may not be for everyone, learning about the history of the phenomenon can be a fun, different way to relax on your trip.

Fine dining and vegan options can be found in town alongside luxurious accommodations. Sedona’s deep desert location can make it a tough sell during the summer months, when temperatures are regularly in the 90s. However, it is an excellent fall destination, when temperatures drop to a much more comfortable level.

Moab, Utah

Credit: anthony heflin / Shutterstock.com

The small town of Moab may not have the same luxuries that Sedona offers, but the desert surroundings more than make up for this. The biggest draws are the nearby Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Arches National Park is to the north of Moab and is adjacent to the town. Here you will find over 2,000 natural stone archways formed over centuries of erosion. About five miles south of Moab is Canyonlands National Park, a desert destination divided into four distinct areas by the intersection of the Green River and the Colorado River. The Island in the Sky Mesa allows for panoramic views of the surrounding desert. The Needles section of the park will let you visit impressive sandstone spires.

Moab doesn’t deliver relaxing desert activities only from inside the nearby parks, however. Within proximity of the city, you will also find spots where you can mountain bike, raft, and camp. No matter how you prefer to relax in the desert, you will find a way to do so in Moab.

5 State Nicknames That No Longer Make Sense

(TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 State Nicknames That No Longer Make Sense

Coming from someone who grew up in the “Bluegrass State,” I will be the first to tell you some state nicknames don’t make sense — or are at least misleading. The state got this nickname from early settlers who named a certain type of grass “Bluegrass” because of the blooms on the top, which were slightly blue. But this grass isn’t as common as the state nickname would lead you to believe. Here is a look at five other state nicknames that no longer make sense.

Wisconsin — The Badger State

Credit: MarynaG/Shutterstock

Wisconsin’s state nickname no longer makes sense — and technically never did — because there are no more badgers in this state than there are anywhere else. The nickname “The Badger State” comes from the 1820s, when thousands of miners flocked to the Midwest. They made homes for themselves by digging caves in the rock under the ground, much like badgers do. For this reason, these miners became known as “badgers” or “badger boys.” There were so many of them (or maybe the nickname was just so funny) that the whole state became known as the Badger State.

Minnesota — The North Star State

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

It is not clear why Minnesota was ever called the North Star State, unless it was just due to its position as one of several northern states in the contiguous United States. The name comes from the translation of the state’s French motto “L’Etoile de Nord,” but the state isn’t particularly well-known for its eoile (star) or being in the nord (north). This nickname has been especially misleading since Alaska joined the United States in 1959, making that state the northernmost in the country.

Utah — The Beehive State

Credit: Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock

Like Wisconsin, this is another nickname that is more misleading than “wrong.” With a nickname like “The Beehive State,” you would expect Utah to be a leader in honey sales or production, but it is actually 24th in the nation when it comes to that industry. So why is it called the Beehive State? According to historians, Utah has used the beehive as its state symbol for hundreds of years, as it stands for “hard work and industry.” In fact, Utah values industry so much that its state motto is simply “Industry.” So the busy bees in the Utah beehives are not real bees, but hard-working people.

Alaska — The Last Frontier

Credit: Maridav/Shutterstock

Space is the final frontier, according to Star Trek, but Alaska has long been known as “The Last Frontier,” due to its unsettled areas and its general wildness. Many people take this nickname to mean that it was the last territory to be settled in America, and this is no longer true. While both Alaska and Hawaii officially became states in 1959, Alaska achieved statehood in January, while Hawaii didn’t become a state until August. In this case, maybe Hawaii is the real last frontier.

New Jersey — The Garden State

Credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Anyone who has ever been to New Jersey, especially the northern part, can tell you there is not much garden to be found in this “Garden State.” A good portion of the state is bustling with businesses, people and traffic. The origin of the nickname actually comes from a speech given by Abraham Browning in 1876. He said that “our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.” How that translates to a garden, I’m not sure, but it makes a great example of a state whose nickname no longer makes sense.

Make a Pit Stop at These 5 Wacky Roadside Attractions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Make a Pit Stop at These 5 Wacky Roadside Attractions

The classic road trip is one of America’s quintessential summer activities. It calls for curated music, a well-stocked snack supply, and of course, ample stops at the wacky roadside attractions that decorate our nation’s highways. No summer road trip would be complete without a visit to these intriguing—and in some cases, downright odd—places that are just an interstate exit away.

Carhenge

Credit: Edwin Verin / Shutterstock.com

Where to see it: Alliance, Nebraska

Who needs a trip to the U.K. to see Stonehenge when Alliance, Nebraska, has something even better? This wacky monument is an homage to vintage American vehicles, all painted gray to look like the stones of the famous ancient site. The artist, Jim Reinders, enjoys experimenting with unusual and interesting concepts within his art installations. He wanted to copy Stonehenge after living in England for some time, and with that, Carhenge was born. Using 39 vehicles that assume the same proportions of Stonehenge, Carhenge is approximately 96 feet wide. Located off Highway 87, Carhenge attracts plenty of summer tourists each year. There is a gift shop in case you want a commemorative magnet or postcard to mark your visit to this wacky roadside attraction.

The Tree of Utah

Credit: 314pies / Instagram

Where to see it: Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah

Created by Swedish artist Karl Momen in the 1980s, you can find this large-scale art installation in the Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah, just off Interstate 80. About 25 miles north of the town of Wendover and halfway between the now abandoned railroad communities of Arinosa and Varro, the artists created the sculpture as an ode to life. The Tree of Utah is over 80 feet tall and can withstand desert winds up to 130 mph, tornados, or earthquakes. It is one of the most resilient art structures in the world.

Local highway patrol estimates that 2 million cars travel past the Tree of Utah annually. On average, five cars an hour stop to gaze at Momen’s construction and ponder the meaning of life. The Tree of Utah is made mainly of concrete but has six spheres coated with natural rock and minerals native to Utah. It’s said that Momen had a vision of it while driving across the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Sun Tunnels

Credit: dreamthecombine / Instagram

Where to see it: Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah

If you are up near Wendover, Utah, it’s worth the trip to head over to Nancy Holt’s tunnel art installation as well. These four large concrete tubes, completed in 1986, form an open-X shape on the dried Great Salt Lake bed. The 18-foot long concrete tunnels are tall enough that you will not need to duck when you go inside. These tunnels have holes of varying sizes drilled into them that replicate constellations and allow visitors to gaze at the heavens.

Holt’s focus on the changing degrees of light show different shadow forms inside the tunnels. This enables visitors to “bring the vast space of the desert back to human scale.” During the summer and winter solstices, check out the sunset on the horizon, centered through the tunnels. Holt’s work is considered one of the most defining installations of “land-art” and has largely defined her career.

Enchanted Highway

Credit: J24L / flickr

Where to see it: Southwestern North Dakota

A collection of large art installations dot the landscape of North Dakota, making the Enchanted Highway an ideal roadside attraction to add to your list. This stretch of highway features metal sculptures of local prairie animals. There are also nods to the local indigenous culture and history of the region. Visitors to this wacky roadside attraction can even enjoy an entire collection featuring Teddy Roosevelt, which has a horse-drawn carriage. Alternatively, check out the World’s Largest Tin Family made completely from empty oil drums. Head over to Highway 94 at Gladstone and enjoy over 30 miles of very unusual art.

Salvation Mountain

Credit: Decruyenaere / Wikimedia

Where to see it: Southern California

This unusual roadside attraction is in the remote desert of Southern California and located less than 100 miles from Palm Springs. Salvation Mountain is the life’s work of local resident Leonard Knight. Knight wanted to illustrate his love and devotion to his faith and wanted to make sure the world could see it. Murals, messages, and imagery that depict Christian Bible verses cover the mountain in colorful paint. Make sure you avoid visiting Salvation Mountain in the summertime, as temperatures in the region can exceed 100F. This attraction took Knight almost three decades to complete and has used over half a million gallons of paint.

With more than 4 million miles of roads and highways that crisscross the country, you are sure to be within driving distance of these quirky and unusual roadside attractions. So the next time you’re feeling a little worn or need something extraordinary to spark your imagination, stop by for a visit.

Here Is Six Beautiful But Lesser Known National Wonders

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

wever, you’re only familiar with some of the most famous ones. Here are six beautiful and lesser-known natural wonders to check out.

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Credit: DrimaFilm/Shutterstock

Have you ever seen 40,000 interlocking basalt columns? If you visit Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, you can. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland. The basalt columns, which are relics from a volcanic age, lead from the hills to the ocean. At the visitor’s center, you can learn more about the cherished tale behind this natural wonder — one involving Irish and Scottish giants who got in a fight. The Irish giant attempted to build a path to Scotland, but the Scottish giant ripped it up.

Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone, Wyoming

Credit: Wisanu Boonrawd/Shutterstock

Many people go to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful, the geyser that regularly erupts into the air. But do you know about Grand Prismatic Spring? Also in Yellowstone, this geyser and hot spring is the biggest hot spring in the U.S. and the third biggest hot spring in the world. It’s located in the Midway Geyser Basin. The bright colors make this hot spring popular among photographers. Grand Prismatic is deeper than a 10-story building and larger than a football field.

Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy

Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy

Credit: sibromar/Shutterstock

The Blue Grotto is a magical sea cave located near the island of Capri; thanks to the reflection of the sunlight, the entire cave is a vibrant shade of blue. You can visit Capri and go into the cave by boat. It’s a surreal, almost otherworldly experience and should definitely be on your bucket list. Be aware, though, that you may not be able to plan in advance — each morning, the skippers go to the mouth of the cave and decide whether it’s safe to enter that day.

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Credit: zrfphoto/iStock

Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the world, and Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is the place to go to see it. Over 400 miles of the cave system have been explored and you can take guided tours to learn about the geology and history of the caves. Stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone deposits and more line the interior. You can also camp in Mammoth Cave National Park and enjoy other surface activities such as hiking and horseback riding.

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona/Utah

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona/Utah

Credit: Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock

The Paria Canyon Wilderness area stretches over 112,500 acres in Arizona and Utah. The Vermilion Cliffs have a Navajo sandstone face and lots of slot canyon hiking opportunities, plus deer and desert bighorn sheep. If you like alone time in nature, Paria Canyon is a gorgeous way to indulge in some. Check out Coyote Buttes, too; this is an area of amazing scenery where the colors and textures of the rock formations change in different types of weather.

Pulpit (Preikestolen) Rock, Norway

Pulpit (Preikestolen) Rock, Norway

Credit: Supreecha Samansukumal/Shutterstock

Preikestolen is a jaw-dropping, 1982-foot-tall cliff in the Rogaland area of Norway. Tucked in the Scandinavian Mountains, the cliff has a flat top that’s about 82 feet by 82 feet. Many tourists enjoy hiking Preikestolen, also called Pulpit Rock, but it’s not for the faint of heart. According to VisitNorway, the 3.7-mile hike takes four hours and ascends 1,148 feet. You can also hike during the night and watch the sunrise from the top of Pulpit Rock. Finally, if standing on top of the cliff doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, many companies offer sightseeing tours that take you out on the fjord, where you can view Preikestolen via boat.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire, clearing way for Mitt Romney

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire, clearing way for Mitt Romney

(CNN)Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to return to the national stage by running for his seat.

He said in a social media message, “after much prayer and discussion with family and friends I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”
Hatch, the Senate’s longest serving Republican, has wrestled with the decision for months, emboldened by the entreaties of President Donald Trump to seek an eighth term.
During an event last month at the Utah Capitol where Trump celebrated the administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump called Hatch “a true fighter” and said he hoped the Republican would continue to serve “in the Senate for a very long time to come.”
The 83-year-old Hatch set off retirement rumors early last year when he said in an interview that he hoped to see Romney one day take his place. But he reversed course and repeatedly insisted to reporters that he “intended” to seek re-election. Last month, Hatch reveled in the spotlight as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee while shepherding a massive tax bill through the Senate — attention, friends and colleagues said, that made him lean toward running again.
close dialog
Receive Fareed Zakaria’s Global Analysis
including insights and must-reads of world news
Activate Fareed’s Briefing
By subscribing you agree to our
privacy policy.
“I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch said in a video statement. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
If Hatch had opted to stay in the Senate, he could have faced a formidable challenge from a crop of ambitious Utah Republicans. Boyd Matheson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee, seriously considered a bid last fall — going so far as to meet with former Trump strategists Steve Bannon and David Bossie.
But as it became clear that Romney would likely run if Hatch bowed out, Matheson withdrew from contention — an acknowledgment that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is wildly popular in Utah and would have little trouble securing the seat.
Romney did not have an immediate public reaction to Hatch’s announcement.

Criticism at home

While Hatch is revered for his long service to Utahns and easily won re-election last cycle after spending $10 million, voters are clearly restive. Three-quarters of Utahans said it was time for someone else to serve in the Senate, according to a poll late last year by the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah.
In December, The Salt Lake Tribune published a scathing editorial calling on Hatch to step down — as the paper named him as “The Tribune’s Utahn of the Year,” noting that he has never wielded more clout.
The editorial criticized Hatch for “his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.” The editorial board noted that Hatch promised that 2012 would be his last race: “Clearly it was a lie.”
“It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career,” the editorial board wrote. “If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him.”
The newspaper pointed out that Hatch, who has referred to himself as “a tough old bird,” has faced questions about his age and his health — acknowledging that his decision on whether to run again would likely hinge on his own health and the health of his wife.
“He has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive,” the editorial board wrote.

 Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

2:41 PM ET  June 22nd 2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Grizzlies in all continental U.S. states except Alaska have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1975, when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone. There are now an estimated 700 grizzlies in the area that includes northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho, leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude that the population has recovered.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

Grizzly bears once numbered about 50,000 and ranged over much of North America. Their population plummeted starting in the 1850s because of widespread hunting and trapping, and the bears now occupy only 2 percent of their original territory.

The final ruling by the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Yellowstone grizzlies from the list of endangered and threatened species will give jurisdiction over the bears to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July.

That will allow those states to plan limited bear hunts outside the park’s boundaries as long as the overall bear population does not fall below 600 bears.

Hunting bears inside Yellowstone would still be banned. The bears roam both inside and outside the park, and their range has been expanding as their numbers have grown.

The Obama administration first proposed removing grizzlies as a threatened species by issuing an initial ruling in March 2016. The 15 months that have passed since then have been used to by federal officials to evaluate states’ grizzly management plans and respond to themes of concern generated by 650,000 comments from the public, including wildlife advocates and Native American tribal officials who are staunchly opposed to hunting grizzly bears.

Some 125 tribes have signed a treaty opposing trophy hunting grizzly bears, which Native Americans consider a sacred animal.

Thursday’s ruling is certain to be challenged in court by conservation groups that argue the Yellowstone bears still face threats to their continued existence from humans, climate change and other factors. Tim Preso, an attorney for environmental law firm Earthjustice, said his organization will look closely at the rule.

“We’re certainly prepared to take a stand to protect the grizzly, if necessary,” he said. “There’s only one Yellowstone. There’s only one place like this. We ought not to take an unjustified gamble with an iconic species of this region.”

Matt Hogan, the deputy regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region, said he is confident that the science behind the decision and the management plans the states will follow will withstand any lawsuit.

“We feel like this species is more than adequately protected in the absence of (Endangered Species Act) protections,” Hogan said.

Endangered Species Act protections set strict rules meant to protect species from being killed or their habitat being harmed, as opposed to state management practices that can include hunting or trapping as a means to keep an animal’s population in check.

Wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have been managing the bear population alongside federal government officials for decades. Those states have submitted management plans that have been approved, and will follow strict regulations to keep a viable population of above 600 bears, Hogan said.

Scientists also studied the effects of climate change on grizzly bears and their food sources, such as the nuts of whitebark pine trees, which are in decline.

“They found grizzly bears are extremely resilient, extremely flexible and adaptable,” Hogan said.

That adaptation has meant switching from nuts to a meat-based diet. That carries the risk of bringing the bears into greater conflict with ranchers protecting livestock and hunters searching for elk and deer, and grizzly deaths caused by human conflicts are on the rise, said Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney for the wildlife advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity.

“Added to those threats will be trophy hunting,” she said.

The federal agency will continue monitoring the grizzly population over the next five years, and certain factors would prompt a new federal review of the bears’ status, such as a high number of female deaths for three consecutive years.

The ruling does not directly affect other populations of grizzlies that are still classified as threatened but which wildlife officials consider recovered, such as the estimated 1,000 bears in the Northern Continental Divide area of Montana and Idaho.

Federal resources used to prepare the final rule on Yellowstone’s bear population will be shifted to planning for lifting protections for the bears living in the Northern Continental Divide, Hogan said.

If You’re A Poor Person In America, Trump’s Budget Is Not For You

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

If you’re a poor person in America, Trump’s budget is not for you

March 16 at 11:40 AM

If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you.

Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.

During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.

And many of them carry out their missions by disbursing money to the states, which establish their own criteria.

“This is a budget that pulled the rug out from working families and hurts the very people who President Trump promised to stand up for in rural America and in small towns,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the poverty to prosperity program at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.

The White House budget cuts will fall hardest on the rural and small town communities that Trump won, where one in three people are living paycheck to paycheck — a rate that is 24 percent higher than in urban counties, according to a new analysis by the center.

The budget proposes housing “reforms” that add up to more than $6 billion in cuts while promising to continue assisting the nation’s 4.5 million low-income households. If enacted, the proposed budget would result in the most severe cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development since the early 1980s, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Trump’s budget plan, by the numbers

President Trump just released his budget plan for the next fiscal year, which proposes some big changes in government spending. Here’s a look at what agencies are helped and hurt by the proposal. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

It would also eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies.

The administration’s reforms include eliminating funding for a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, one of the longest continuously run HUD programs that’s been in existence since 1974.

The program provides cities with money to address a range of community development needs such as affordable housing, rehabilitating homes in neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures, and preventing or eliminating slums and community blight. It also provides funding for Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit that delivers food to homebound seniors.

Robert Rector, a senior fellow who focuses on welfare at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the community block grants a “slush fund for urban government.”

The White House touts its cuts to what the administration characterizes as “a number of lower priority programs” as a way to “promote fiscal responsibility.” In actuality, it guts federal funding for affordable housing and kicks the financial responsibility of those programs to states and local governments.

Gone would be $35 million in funding for well-known programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Youth Build USA, fair housing planning, and homeless assistance, among other housing help for needy Americans.

Other targets include funding for neighborhood development and a home-buying program through which low-income individuals help build their own homes. Trump also plans to cut the Home Investment Partnership Program, the largest federal grant to state and local governments that is designed to create affordable housing.

“There is no coordinated plan for how to fulfill the same mission. Saying states, local governments and philanthropy are going to help is just passing the buck,” said a HUD official who is not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said workers at the agency Thursday morning were feeling “demoralized” and “worried.”

“This is just a tough, tough time,” the official said. “HUD is no different from any other domestic agency in just feeling as though these cuts are all very arbitrary and unnecessary.”

Poor people need not lean on community banks for financial help, either, because Trump plans to eliminate the $210 million now dedicated toward Community Development Financial Institutions. The program, administered through the Treasury Department, invests in community banks that provide loans and financial services to people living in some of the most distressed communities of the country.

“Cutting that program would be nothing short of a disaster, and the ripple effect would be felt in urban areas and some rural areas all over America,” said Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a lobbying group for black-owned banks.

The administration would also eliminate the Energy Department’s weatherization assistance program, which dates back to 1976 when Gerald Ford was president. Since then, it has provided states with grants that have helped insulate the homes of about 7 million families, using low-cost techniques that have large payoffs, saving money for those families and curtailing U.S. energy consumption. It has also helped establish weatherization job training centers in states such as Utah and New York.

Also on the chopping block: the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known widely by its acronym LIHEAP. This program, part of the Health and Human Services budget, helps homeowners cover monthly energy costs, or repair broken or inefficient furnaces and air conditioners. The program is usually underfunded; LIHEAP says that on average, only about 20 percent of the households that qualify for assistance receive benefits before the money runs out. Congress sometimes adds funding during emergencies or energy shortages when costs spike.

Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the Community Services Block Grant, a $715 million program within HHS that funds more than 1,000 local anti-poverty organizations around the country. The organizations provide services ranging from job training to food assistance to more than 16 million people in 3,000 counties. The grants also help communities respond quickly to natural disasters, plant closures and other economic shifts.

Without the grants, there would be little coordination between faith groups, local governments, private companies and nonprofits in addressing the needs of the poor — “just a few unconnected programs that don’t have nearly the impact they have now,” said David Bradley, who founded the National Community Action Foundation and wrote the legislation behind the grants in the early ’80s.

Bradley, though, is “absolutely confident” that Congress will reject the proposal.

“This is the work of a radical right that goes hard after anti-poverty programs,” he said.

The Trump budget would also target the Legal Services Corp., an independent agency that provided $343 million to 134 legal aid organizations for the poor who are tangled up in cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support or domestic violence.

Legal Services was launched as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty with the support of the American Bar Association led by Lewis F. Powell Jr., who later served on the Supreme Court. President Richard Nixon later created a free-standing corporation to administer legal aid funds.

“Here each day the old, the unemployed, the underprivileged, and the largely forgotten people of our Nation may seek help,” Nixon wrote in a 1971 message to Congress. “Perhaps it is an eviction, a marital conflict, repossession of a car, or misunderstanding over a welfare check — each problem may have a legal solution. These are small claims in the Nation’s eye, but they loom large in the hearts and lives of poor Americans.”

In 2015, Legal Services offices closed 755,774 cases — more than 100 for every lawyer and paralegal employed. About 70 percent of its clients are women, and the majority of its clients are white and between the ages of 36 and 59. The program provides lawyers only to people earning no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is currently $15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four.

“We have a legal system that was created by lawyers for lawyers and assumes you have a lawyer,” said James J. Sandman, president of Legal Services Corp. “If you’re a tenant facing eviction and you’re up against a landlord who has a lawyer, if you’re the victim of domestic violence from someone who has a lawyer, you are not playing on a level field. Legal aid is about fairness in the justice system.”

Alaska’s rural poor get hit by the budget proposal, too, despite having two Republican senators. The Agriculture budget would eliminate the Denali Commission, designed to deliver services to remote, rural communities in Alaska, including Native Americans. The commission, established in 1998, contributes to the construction of health-care facilities, water and sewer systems, power generation and communication systems.

The budget would also zero out funds to help native Alaskan villages obtain access to clean drinking water and modern sewage systems.

Cuts to the Agriculture budget also eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority that encourage economic growth in distressed rural communities. And while the budget allocates $6.2 billion to “serve all projected participants” in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, that is $150 million less than USDA had budgeted.

The White House proposed shrinking Job Corps, a program administered by the Labor Department that provides education and job training to more than 60,000 young people and disadvantaged youth. The proposal called for closing centers that do a “poor job” of preparing students for the workforce, but did not elaborate on how many of the 125 centers nationwide would be targeted.

Job Corps, which was created in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s anti-poverty agenda, helps young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 earn high school diplomas and receive vocational training.

The program faced scrutiny several years ago for going over budget and has been forced to freeze enrollment multiple times since 2011 because of the monetary shortfalls. In 2013, a report from the Office of Inspector General found that the budgetary missteps were caused by inaccurate cost estimates and inconsistent monitoring of actual costs. But since then, the program has taken several steps to keep better track of costs and payments.

The Trump administration would also ax the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which aims to help low-income job seekers age 55 and up find work by pairing them with nonprofit organizations and public agencies. The loss of the program could serve as another setback for older Americans who are still struggling to find steady work after the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate for workers 55-plus was 3.4 percent in February, according to the most recent jobs report. But the rate rises to 7.1 percent if workers with part-time jobs who want to be working full-time, and those who have given up on the job search within the past year, are included, according the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School.

The goal of the senior employment program is to help participants find permanent work by providing them with training and job experience. Workers are assigned part-time jobs and paid the minimum wage, with the hope that the experience can help them find jobs that are not subsidized by the government. In its budget proposal, the Trump administration called the approach “ineffective” because up to one-third of participants do not complete the program. Of those who do finish, about half succeed in finding more permanent jobs.

Not everyone, though, believes the cuts will be a disaster for the poor.

Rector, of the Heritage Foundation, said the cuts cannot be evaluated in isolation when they represent less than 1 percent of the $1.1 trillion the government spent on more than 80 poverty programs last year.

“The basic line from the left is ‘this program alone is standing between the poor and destitution,’” Rector said. “We have a very large welfare state, and there is waste in that welfare state. It’s important to prune the waste and make these programs much more effective.”

Jonnelle Marte and Caitlin Dewey contributed to this article.

Read more on the budget: 

Mindculture's Blog

Rising like a blooming lotus through the mud

She's a Frustrated Traveler

Shout out to YOLO!

Diary of a Gay Dad. I am a full time dad to five young children.

People family relationships children cooking jam making and being a gay dad

المعلومات في جميع المجلات

هذا الموقع يمكنه الكلام في ما يدور في العالم

The Common Sense Theologian

Theology, Politics, Life, Education, Family, Home, Kids, Marriage, Outdoors

India Travel BLog

A Blog about Indian Tourism

Danny's wor(l)d

have a great read here!!

%d bloggers like this: