Moab | KUER 90.1

Moab

Phot of a road sign
Joe Shlabotnik via Creative Commons

The City of Moab is asking the Bureau of Land Management to cancel plans to lease large swaths of public land around Moab to oil and gas developers.

A decorative road sign reads “Welcome to Moab, Grand County, Utah.”
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Tuesday morning, June 23, 2020

Photo of a man walking toward the edge of the mesa
Guerric / Creative Commons

The Bureau Of Land Management has proposed leasing 114,000 acres of public land in Utah to energy developers, including land adjacent to some of Utah’s most iconic national parks. 

Photo of people sitting, kneeling and lying in a street with signs including “Justice For George Floyd.”
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

MOAB—Watching hundreds of people take to the streets in Moab on Friday night to demand an end to racial inequality and police brutality brought tears to Desirae Miller’s eyes. 

Photo of a crowded sidewalk
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MOAB — As Arches and Canyonlands national parks prepare to reopen this weekend, Gov. Gary Herbert has rejected a request from Grand County officials to limit overnight lodging. 

Photo of the arch
Jan Willem Broekema via Creative Commons

BLUFF — Business has completely dried up at Canyonlands Jeep Adventures in Moab. 

A winding river cuts through red rock canyons
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance courtesy photo

The Bureau of Land Management is considering leasing over 100,000 acres of public land around Moab to energy companies, raising concerns about effects on both tourism and conservation efforts. 

Photo of a red awning over a shop window that reads "Red rock bakery and cafe"
Courtesy of Howard Trenholm

It's been more than a month since Red Rocky Bakery owner Howard Trenholm closed his business in Moab because he wasn't making enough money. But now that tourists will be allowed to visit again, he's getting ready to reopen — reluctantly. 

A decorative road sign welcomes visitors to Moab.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

COVID-19 has hit workers in Moab especially hard, since many are unemployed in the winter and go back to work in the spring. 

Photo of park entrance.
Claire Jones / KUER

The Interior Department has announced it’s temporarily waiving entrance fees for recreation areas, national monuments and national parks. Secretary David Bernhardt said he wanted to make it easier for people to recreate on public lands.

Photo of a road sign that welcomes visitors to moab
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Hotels in Moab will not admit new visitors for the next 30 days because of coronavirus, health officials announced Tuesday. 

Photo of a line of cars at the entrance of Arches National Park.
KUER File Photo

Updated 9:11 a.m. MDT 3/17/2020

“Please. Do. More. Now.” 

That's the message Moab Regional Hospital sent yesterday to Gov. Gary Herbert. In a letter, the hospital’s leadership asked Herbert to close all non-essential businesses in Moab for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. They wrote that Moab could see up to 6,000 visitors next weekend, based on current hotel bookings. 

Photo of runners crossing a finish line with the sign Canyonlands Half Marathon against a red rock background.
Ken Lund / CC via Flickr

Updated 2:21 p.m. MDT 3/12/2020: Governor Gary Herbert announced Thursday afternoon that the state recommends limiting mass gatherings, defined as events with over 100 people in one room or building. That recommendation is in effect beginning Monday, March 16, and continuing for at least two weeks.

Photo of people gathered in the hall of the Utah Capitol building
Jon Reed / KUER

Tourism is a big business in Utah. In 2018 alone, the industry generated $9.75 billion and brought in travelers from all over the world. That included a record number of visitors to the state’s national parks and ski resorts. 

Photo of bikers on the Slick Rock trail
Wikimedia Commons

Updated 1:21 p.m. MT 2/19/20

MOAB — The Sand Flats recreation area is home to two of Moab’s main attractions: the world-famous Slickrock Bike Trail and the Hell’s Revenge Jeep Trail. Together, they draw thousands of visitors here every year, contributing millions of dollars to the local economy.

Photo of Coal the deer peering at the camera from behind some brush.
Courtesy of Moab resident Steve Ross

Tuesday evening, Jan. 28, 2020

On The Colorado River's Banks, A Toxic Pile Continues To Shrink

Oct 28, 2019

In a park, nestled in a red rock canyon outside Moab, Utah -- a short drive from a giant pile of uranium tailings -- a crowd gathered for a celebration. Elected officials and community members mingled, and enjoyed refreshments. 

Volunteers placed pieces of yellow cake in small paper bowls.

Photo of a sign welcoming people to the city of Moab.
Creative Commons

Most of Moab’s sewer and water lines were built more than 60 years ago, at the height of the uranium boom. Now, the town of around 5,000 residents is seeing a boom in tourism. On weekends, its population can reach up to 40,000, according to City Manager Joel Linares. This puts pressure on its infrastructure, and makes it more expensive to replace. 

Photo of bear returning to wild.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Updated 1:05 p.m. MDT 8/13/19: Bear activity is up in 2019, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). As of July, 29 incidents involving bears had been reported, more than double the number of incidents reported by the same time last year. 

Renee Bright / KUER

MOAB — After a recent 12-hour nursing shift at the local hospital, Ryan Huels took stock of his tidy home just south of this high desert town.

Renee Bright / KUER

MOAB — About 40 miles north from the tourist hordes in town and set against a backdrop of tan clay and red mesas, the vista looked primed for a nature magazine cover shoot: early afternoon, the desert bloom in full force, awash with purple and yellow flowers. Quiet.

Governor's Office

A fast-moving brush fire destroyed eight homes in the Utah tourist town of Moab, while more than 3,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming fled multiple wildfires scorching the drought-stricken U.S. West on Wednesday.

Steven Damron

The United States Board on Geographic Names has voted overwhelmingly to rename Negro Bill Canyon near Moab.

Clayton Scrivner

Work has begun on a new water treatment plant in Moab, Utah. Construction began on Tuesday.

Medical Helicopters Flying From Moab

Dec 26, 2013
Classic Lifeguard

  A medical helicopter service that serves rural communities in the West has added Moab to its operations.

Classic Lifeguard added a base in Moab this summer and since then, it’s been flying about ten calls a month.  Company spokesperson John Gottfredson says having a medical helicopter close by can make a huge difference for patients.

Dan Bammes

As the clock ticks down on a possible shutdown of the federal government, Utah’s tourist industry is already hearing from worried visitors.  

Visitors to Utah’s five national parks could encounter locked gates if the government shuts down because Congress can’t agree on a funding bill.  Marian DeLay, the head of the Moab Travel Council, says foreign tourists in particular are telling Moab businesses they don’t want to get to Utah and find the parks closed.

DOE Marks a Milestone at Moab Cleanup Site

Jun 18, 2013
Alicia Geesman

  The U.S. Department of Energy says it’s moved six million tons of uranium mill tailings off the old Atlas mill site in Moab.  That’s 38-percent of the total, with about ten million tons still to go.

Workers on the site take three months off every winter, but project director Don Metzler says President Obama has proposed an increase in funding to keep them working longer.

 “It would allow us to go for twelve months a year, year-round," Metzler says, "with maybe a two-week vacation just so we could watch the dollars there a little bit.”

Moab tailings site
Alicia Geesman

Millions of people across the West depend on the Colorado River for drinking water and irrigation, and that's what's made cleaning up the site of an old uranium mill in southern Utah a high-priority project.  Many other countries have the same concern.  Their representatives got a close-up look last week at how the United States is handling that project.