|Lucy Burningham, Cris Draper, Lazell and Suzzane Jones visited the area to develop ideas for writing travel pieces about Castle Country. Guiding them through Nine Mile Canyon, the San Rafael Swell and Range Creek were Red Olerich, Tom McCourt and Reece Barrick.|
A Geology, Archeology and Paleontology familiarization media tour was organized by the Carbon County Travel Bureau beginning June 10 and running through June 13. It began early Friday morning with a full day tour of Nine Mile Canyon and the following day was a full and complete day in the San Rafael Swell. On June 12 the tour included a Range Creek tour and that evening a stay at the Tavaputs Ranch and tour of the Tavaputs Plateau the following day. Because of weather the last two days of the tour had to be cancelled.
Kathy Hanna-Smith, director of the bureau and organizer of the media tour was excited about the opportunity to show off the area.
“We were lucky to get the quality of freelance writers that we had,” she stated. “We could never afford to buy this type of coverage. This particular tour cost the bureau approximately $800-1,000 including lodging food, guide service, transportation and other related costs to do this type of business. However this type of exposure could have a return of thousands and thousands of dollars in media coverage.”
Writer, Lazell Jones, a Southern California based photojournalist who often visits and writes about Utah and the Castle Country area, returned once again to gather travel information, expand his photo library and to enjoy the personal experiences associated with exploring the many recreational opportunities the San Rafael Swell has to offer. Writing two stories for national publication (Family Motor Coach Magazine and Camping Life) his attention was focused on Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry and the many panels of early man art that lace the walls of places like Buckhom Wash. Impressed by the endless vistas and canyons, the photo opportunities and the outdoor recreational possibilities he has vowed to return next to see Range Creek. Jones says he’s addicted to Utah and needs a “support group”if he is ever going to be able the give up this habit of continually coming back here. He claims that Utah is his place of choice
Lucy Burnngham, another writer also was glad to participate.
“As a native Utahn, I’ve been hearing about the treasures of Nine Mile as long as I can remember, but this was my first visit to the site,” she said. “I was amazed at the range of petroglyphs in the canyon, and just when I thought I’d seen the best one, we’d come across something even more spectacular.”
She also thought the Swell was a great place too.
“Anyone who’s driven over 1-70 knows the San Rafael Swell is spectacular, but to truly get a feel for the area, you’ve got to leave the pavement,” she said. “Our whirlwind tour took us to the most amazing overlooks, dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs the area has to offer. Despite a flat tire in a rainstorm, we had no trouble getting a great overview of one of the state’s most spectacular spots. I look forward to coming back with my tent and some hiking boots to explore even more.”
Burningham is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City. She writes about travel, the outdoors, business and politics for a variety of publications. Her work has appeared in Sunset Magazine, Outside, Dandelion, Hooked on Outdoors, Trailblazer, Salt Lake Tribune, Park City and Salt Lake Magazine.
Cris Draper from Utah Outdoors Radio was also thrilled with the experience.
“I am truly moved by the wondrous hidden treasures that are waiting for the outdoor enthusiast taking the time to stop and experience,” he said. “The sacred reminders of a people and their traditions will leave a lasting impression in my heart. Visiting the Rochester panel in the San Rafael Swell was a humbling experience and left me with the feeling of having set foot on sacred ground. From the many Indian dwellings, the plentiful and sometimes perplexing rock art images in Nine Mile Canyon, to the colorful spring time bloom the desert flowers in the San Rafael, I hated to see my time there end so quickly.”
While in the area, Cris had a live interview with Fuzzy Nance, one of the areas professional biking guru’s.
Red Olerich with Outdoor Utah was on the San Rafael tour. He is no stranger to this area. He always writes about this area in his magazine and has event information on his website of this area.
Smith is in the process of putting the remainder of the tour that got rained out back together. She hopes that the rest of it will take place soon so the writers can develop more ideas for articles.
“We have conducted these type of media tours in the past and have always found them to be very worth our time, efforts and money,” she said. “In fact, the Utah Office of Tourism secured two writers from London, England that were in our area June 17-20 doing stories on dinosaurs and the San Rafael Swell.”