Check in to get away: Zion park aims to require reservations

SALT LAKE CITY — It would be a first for a U.S. national park: requiring reservations to get in.

But it’s an option Zion National Park officials are considering to manage an overwhelming surge of visitors to the sweeping red-rock vistas and canyons in Utah.

Zion, which welcomed 4.3 million people last year, is weighing online reservations for those who want to explore its main canyon. National Park Service rangers struggle to cope with overcrowded tour buses and alleviate damage to Zion’s natural wonders, including soil erosion and human waste near trails.

People without reservations could pay an entrance fee and drive through the park, but they couldn’t stop to hike or picnic.

“We have to do something,” park spokesman John Marciano said.

With limited budgets, Zion’s park service rangers routinely see long lines and plants trampled by visitors who also have cut some 30 miles of their own trails.

Zion isn’t the only U.S. national park with swelling numbers of tourists, and at least two national parks, in California and Hawaii, are testing more limited reservation systems for parking.

Overall, more than 330 million people visited U.S. national parks in 2016, a record. Visits were bolstered by the improving economy, cheap gas and marketing campaigns for the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial.

Zion is the fifth-most-visited park in the national park system. It’s particularly susceptible to overcrowding because many of its iconic cliffs and trails are located in the narrow, 6-mile-long Zion Canyon. The park already urges visitors to take a shuttle between March and November.

After a series of public meetings, Zion rangers are proposing an online reservation system, similar to the way campsites are reserved now. While certain hikes and activities require permits or reservations, the new system would apply to the entire main corridor of the park.

The number of reservations would be based on capacity, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Colorado contributes $1.7 million to lure Outdoor Retailer to Denver

DENVER — Colorado will contribute $1.7 million to help relocate the nation’s largest outdoor recreation trade show from Salt Lake City to Denver.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission this week approved the award, contingent on three outdoor retail conventions being held in Denver annually for five years.

Luis Benitez, of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, told the Denver Post that each show has the potential to generate $45 million in direct and indirect economic benefits.

The state money is in addition to $1.7 million from a Denver marketing association.

The operator of the twice-a-year Outdoor Retailer show recently decided to leave Salt Lake City after two decades over political differences with Utah leaders.

The retailer show will join a winter snow sports show already held in Denver and run by the same operator.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

A Developer at Slack on the Importance of Diversity in Tech

While tech giants such as Google and Facebook have been transparent about sharing their diversity statistics and efforts to increase minority representation, the low numbers of women and minorities at work in Silicon Valley’s thriving tech industry have, in the words of a recent Atlantic cover story, “barely budged” over the past few years. According to a 2014 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, women make up only 36 percent of the high-tech workforce. (They account for about 47 percent of workers overall.) Black workers account for only 7 percent of the industry’s jobs, and Hispanics fare slightly better at 8 percent. This means that, despite years of talking about change, much of the industry, particularly leadership roles, remains dominated by white men.

Kaya Thomas, now a developer for the messaging app Slack, has been vocal about the industry’s lackluster minority recruitment tactics. In a response to claims that dismal diversity numbers are a result of a weak talent pool, Thomas wrote, in a post on the site NewCo Shift, “We are here, but you are not choosing to see us.”

While in college, Thomas created We Read Too, an app that catalogues young-adult books featuring protagonists of color and written by authors of color. The 21-year-old has also volunteered for Black Girls Code, a nonprofit created by her own mentor, Kimberly Bryant.

For The Atlantic’s series on mentorship, “On the Shoulders of Giants,” I spoke with Thomas about the benefits of reaching out to a mentor online and the pressure that comes with starting out in an industry known for its lack of diversity. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Elisha Brown: What do you think the industry is doing well when it comes to diversity efforts?

Kaya …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business