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AM News Brief: Fishing Limits Increase, National Park Crowding & Salt Lake City Masks

Photo of flag at city hall.
Erik Neumann / KUER
/
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is once again implementing a mask mandate in city buildings. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, July 29, 2021

State

Fishing Limits Increasing At A Number Of Utah’s Bodies Of Water

Fishing limits are increasing at many of Utah’s lakes and reservoirs. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources issued the changes Wednesday as a result of the state’s extreme drought and low water levels. Smaller amounts of water reach higher temperatures which leads to less oxygen available for fish, and the result can be fatal. DWR is allowing fishers to catch and keep more fish in an effort to reduce the chance of die-offs. At Monticello Lake in San Juan County, people can hold on to up to eight trout per day. This is the third emergency change to fishing limits DWR has issued this summer. — Tess Roundy

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Mayor Reimposes Mask Mandates For City Buildings

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is once again implementing a mask mandate in city buildings. It applies to all Salt Lake City employees and members of the public who enter city buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Utah has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, the vast majority of which are now caused by the Delta variant. Mendenhall said she is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lead, which now recommends people wear masks indoors where COVID transmission is substantial or high. That applies to the vast majority of Utah. Utah Courts are also going back to mandating masks. The policy applies to facilities in counties with “moderate” or “high” levels of COVID transmission. — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

Gentle Ironhawk Shelter Could Help Deal With Domestic Violence

A partnership between the Navajo Nation and Utah Navajo Health System, or UNHS, is making it possible for the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter to reopen this year in Blanding. The shelter will serve people who are fleeing domestic violence situations and need a safe place to stay or heal. It will have 18 beds and can accommodate up to 30 women and children. Rick Hendy, director of the UNHS Behavioral Health Department, said right now victim advocates drive families hours away for refuge — this will allow people to get help closer to home. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

Region

Loving Our National Parks To Death

In a hearing Wednesday, members of Congress considered whether the Mountain West’s national parks are being loved to death by an influx of visitors. Yellowstone National Park saw close to a million visits in June, a 20% increase over pre-covid levels in 2019. At Zion National Park, hikers are waiting as long as four hours to access popular trailheads. Park employees and advocates said the overcrowding has consequences, like trail damage, wildlife disruption and vandalism of Indigenous sacred sites. Lawmakers also heard feedback on the reservation systems some parks are using. They’ve prevented overcrowding, but some visitors travel thousands of miles only to miss out on a ticket. Witnesses called for increased park staffing and better marketing of lesser-known parks. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau