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BY LEIGH VON DER ESCH
On behalf of the state of Utah, it is our pleasure to welcome you to the 2011 Outdoor Writers Association of America Conference, July 9-11, at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
Utah represents the best of both the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest. In Utah you can explore the state’s 26 designated scenic byways, five national parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas, one national historic site, six national forests and more than 40 state parks.
Impressive vistas, inspiring landscapes and exciting adventures are around every corner whether you choose to ski, hike, climb, mountain bike, enjoy whitewater rafting, or discover birds and wildlife. Utah is also unique in that its international airport is located minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and less than an hour from world-class skiing and recreation. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is a short 29 miles from the airport. That means you can be checked in and skiing or hiking in less than an hour.
Utah is a land of four distinct seasons. In July, the average temperature ranges from 62 to 92 degrees, the perfect temperatures to enjoy the outdoors. Utah is abundant in lakes and rivers, which make fishing, boating, rafting, kayaking and canoeing popular summer activities. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and Green River offer renowned trout fishing. The Colorado River, just outside of Moab, offers scenic floats and exhilarating whitewater. Hiking and biking are other ways to experience Utah’s natural beauty in the summer. Whether exploring southern Utah’s red rock canyons or northern Utah’s alpine forests, you are sure to lose yourself in the moment. When visiting Utah in the height of summer, you will want to pack for warm weather but also bring a jacket for the cool mountain nights. Be sure to bring along your favorite water bottle and sunscreen for any outdoor adventures.
Beyond the outdoor recreation opportunities, we hope you take time to enjoy Utah’s rich culture and history. Some of the most noteworthy attractions include Golden Spike National Historic Site, the Pony Express Trail and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
From Native American artifacts to award-winning art, Utah offers a diversity of museums and galleries. Salt Lake City is home to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, featuring permanent collections and traveling exhibits from around the world. The new Utah Museum of Natural History, slated to open this fall, features a collection of 1.2 million pieces from around the world, many representing Utah’s natural history. The Anasazi and Edge of the Cedars State Park Museums in southeastern Utah allow visitors to experience life in the ancient Puebloan culture. Edge of the Cedars Museum houses the largest collection of ancestral Puebloan artifacts in the Four Corners Region. The North American Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, just minutes south of Salt Lake City, boasts the world’s largest collection of mounted dinosaur skeletons.
Complementing Utah’s diverse scenery is a plethora of dining and shopping opportunities. True to its heritage, Utah features bold western cuisine characterized by southwestern flavoring, award-winning French and Italian fare and fusion cuisine, Thai, Indian and other eclectic culinary experiences. Visitors can also enjoy one of Utah’s microbreweries. Utah Brewers Cooperative (Wasatch and Squatters Brewing) was named the mid-size brewery of the year at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.
Shoppers will find malls, factory outlets, antique shops, galleries, and boutiques that offer something for everyone. From large shopping malls in Salt Lake City and the unique shops of Park City to handmade craft stores in charming small towns, great shopping is available throughout the state.
We want you to experience Utah’s best! As the 2011 host state, we are excited to provide conference attendees with pre- and post-conference FAM trips. Experience why people fall in love with Utah! We have teamed up with our state travel partners to offer you trips around the state. From whitewater rafting in Moab to world-class fishing on the Provo River, we have the trip of a lifetime for you. For more information on pre- and post-conference trip opportunities and registration visit www.owaa.org/2011conference.
For more information on the state, please visit the Utah Office of Tourism website at www.visitutah.com.♦