Tag: Utah

Here in Utah, in the midst of February’s blustery winter weather, we’ve been daydreaming quite a bit about shorts weather and the activities that come along with it. If you’re also catching yourself daydreaming about beautiful sunny weather and thinking about heading out on a bike trip later this year, we’ve compiled ten good reasons why you definitely don’t need to hire a bike guide.

  1. You’re excited to cook your own dinner after an 8 hour day in the saddle.

It was a longer day than you expected, with a few wrong turns that led to a lot of extra miles. You had an early lunch and have been eagerly anticipating your freeze dried dinner. You roll into camp, 3 hours later than expected, lightheaded and stomach growling. You think about sitting back and relaxing but instead, you remember you have the pleasure of cooking dinner yourself as a perfect cap to the long, long day. 

  1. You’ll have the opportunity to troubleshoot a new mechanical problem, right as the sun starts to set. 

You’re always up for a mechanical challenge! The past few days have been going great, no major issues, no flats, no hiccups, and thus you convince yourself to push the extra 10 miles to camp. After all, luck has definitely been on your side this trip. Around 7:30pm you’re a few short miles to camp and it’s an all downhill technical trail from here. Suddenly your dropper post is stuck in the highest position and won’t go down. What a fun opportunity!

  1. You can make up your own stories and unique facts about the landscape.

You’re a storyteller. You always have an answer to share at weekly trivia (whether it’s right or not). Therefore, even though you haven’t been to the area you’re biking through, you can convince almost anyone about the history of the land with elaborate details made up by yours truly. Who needs to know the actual factual history of the land anyway? 

  1. You’ll get to ride the road or trails most traveled since that’s where the Outside Online article told you to go. 

The article was “The Next Great Undiscovered Adventure Hubs” and it showed up as the lead story that went out to Outside’s 350,000 Dispatch newsletter subscribers. The narrative and descriptive language brought this destination to the top of your bucket list. You show up a few months later prepared for a real adventure, only to find yourself standing next to dozens of like-minded, like-looking adventure seekers ready to take on this adventure, which will include following one another turn after turn and flip flopping for days. 

  1. You get to weight-train by carrying your own gear, beer, and food for your multi-day trip. 

Your pack might weigh more than your suitcase when you went on a month-long trip to Europe a few years ago, but that doesn’t bother you – you’re looking forward to the extra workout. Halfway through your trip after your tenth technical ascent, you start giving away cans of beer to anyone you run into, in the hope that dropping those ounces might get you up the next big climb with a bit more ease.

  1. You enjoy putting yourself in stressful, uncomfortable situations way over your comfort level.

Walking your bike is part of the fun, right? It doesn’t bother you to walk your bike 4+ miles on trails that are way over your ability and comfort level. That’s what mountain biking is all about, right?

  1. You took a first aid class 10 years ago.

You are prepared. You have vague memories from a first aid class you took back in college that will definitely come back if you get yourself into a tricky situation. You’ll absolutely remember what to do if your partner falls and you have to stop excessive bleeding from their knee and elbow. You got this, saving their life is all part of the adventure.

  1. You enjoy being glued to your phone to follow the GPS directions and trail maps.

Your partner often jokes that you’re “addicted to your phone” which you always just laugh off. For your upcoming trip, you are glad, however, that your eyes won’t have to take a screen time break since you’ll be required to have your phone with you to check your map and gps signal to make sure you aren’t getting lost. It’s not that you couldn’t leave your phone behind (remember: not addicted), it’s that you need it too much for your safety. 

  1. You enjoy spending half the day in your car setting up a shuttle. 

Half the fun of a bike adventure is the part where we squeeze too many bikes and people into one car to leave the shuttle vehicle. We all get to drive to the end location and then double back to the start, spending half the day getting car sick on windy roads so that we can enjoy the epic ride.

  1. You love making online reservations through Recreation.gov

Who wouldn’t enjoy sitting in front of their computers waiting to compete with thousands of other adventurers for those prized White Rim campsites. Never mind those conspiracy theories of bots grabbing the best sites milliseconds after they come available. After all we used to score Bon Jovi tickets on Ticketmaster no problem! And if we strike out, surely they’ll be some scalpers just outside the park boundaries when we get there for my wife’s 40th birthday trip. She’ll understand if we just end up doing some Ahab laps with the crew.

And there you have it, 10 reasons you definitely don’t need to hire a bike guide for your upcoming trip. If for some crazy reason after reading this you think, “wait, maybe a guide sounds nice” then head over to WesternSpirit.com and inquire today about one of their many customized, fully supported trips that are available for all levels of riders and in some of the country’s top (lesser known) riding locations.

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How Monuments Create Jobs.

Cyclist in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument 

President Trump’s Executive Order on the Antiquities Act calls for a review of the national monuments designated over the last 20 years. As an outdoor business owner, I have had a front row seat for many of these monument designations and have seen the on the ground impacts.

In many cases local residents and stakeholders from mountain bikers to energy companies to environmental advocates began the process of updating plans for their public lands by asking for new laws. People worked together to understand each others goals and craft public land legislation that would protect key areas for conservation and recreation, while leaving other places available for development of oil, gas, and mining. And after all the blood, sweat, and tears of negotiating a deal, many communities in the last 20 years were stymied when congress failed to pass their bills.

Hell’s Backbone Grill at the Boulder Mtn Lodge feeds hungry people visiting the surrounding National Parks and National Monuments 

You can’t really blame folks if they turned to the President and requested an administrative action in the form of a National Monument Proclamation to achieve virtually the same goals they were seeking through public land legislation.  President Trump’s review will find that many communities are quite happy with their National Monuments, not only are they benefiting from outdoor recreation visitors, but they are seeing steady economic growth through new and diverse businesses who want to locate near America’s great outdoors.  Competition for top talent is tight, and if you can boast access to everything from hiking and paddling to jeeping, hunting and fishing, plus treasured cultural resources and uniquely American landscapes, your community—and the businesses that locate there— have a competitive advantage.


Pictographs in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

In reviewing these monuments, Secretary Zinke is also going to find a few places where people aren’t so happy, and while they are quick to complain about their public land managers, the real source of the problem has little to do with federal land ownership or monument designations. Macro economic forces and technological advances of the 21st century are playing out in commodity prices, and extractive industry jobs are disappearing on both public and private lands, while county budgets suffer due to sharply decreasing mineral royalties.

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures was started to run trips in Canyonlands National Park and today runs trips all thought out many of the country’s National Parks and National Monuments.

Meanwhile, the outdoor recreation industry continues to see steady growth generating $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs.  America has a proud history of self sufficiency through living off the land, and our ranchers and coal miners have been major contributors to our country’s progress. Key leaders in congress are trying to find ways to honor this heritage. Pivoting to recreation economy jobs in product design, manufacturing, or retail can be challenging. For that matter, just getting along with the new neighbors can be hard. Change is never easy, but rolling back the clock is downright impossible.


Lower Calf Creek Falls – Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

Monument designations jump start recreation economies and bring a wide array of reliable and growing business opportunities to rural residents and their children. This change is playing out in communities across the country whose economic development strategies are paying off precisely because they have set aside public land in its natural state for outdoor recreation.

Riders enjoying the incredible views the National Monument has to offer 

If the President wishes to honor his promise to those who have lost their jobs in coal country and other rural areas that have been hurt by a changing economy, he should maintain all of America’s existing monuments, and use the powers of the Antiquities Act to create new ones.

 

Ashley Korenblat is CEO of Western Spirit Cycling in Moab, UT, and a Managing Director at Public Land Solutions

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