AM News Brief: Record Skiing Season, Bear Ears Restoration and Striking Heat Wave


Wednesday morning June 16, 2021


Utah sets ski season attendance record

Utah ski resorts had record attendance last winter despite COVID-related restrictions and below-average snowfall. In a press release, Ski Utah said there are 5.3 million skier days, or one person visiting a ski area for the purpose of skiing or snowboarding. It marked a major rebound from the previous winter, when Utah recorded 4.3 million visitors and the season was cut short by the pandemic. Utah resorts have been forced to implement COVID-19 security protocols, including capacity limitations and mask warrants. The industry association says this winter’s figure also surpasses the previous record of over 5 million skier days set two seasons ago. – Associated press

Southern Utah

The secretary inside recommends the restoration of the bear ears and the grand staircase

U.S. Home Secretary Deb Haaland has recommended full restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, according to information disclosed at the Washington Post. The New York Times confirmed the news with a spokesperson for Governor Spencer Cox. Cox and the Utah congressional delegation have asked President Joe Biden to meet with them before making a final decision on the monuments. Former President Donald Trump significantly downsized the two in 2017. The five tribes that lobbied for Bears Ears are calling on Biden to increase his size to 1.9 million acres, which is larger than the original monument. – Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region / Nation

Keeping Telehealth Laws Flexible

Telehealth flourished during the pandemic because lawmakers temporarily rolled back regulations on seeing doctors by computer or over the phone. Now they want it to be. Several bipartisan bills in Congress are currently aimed at helping Americans maintain access to telehealth. In rural areas like Mountain West, this could continue to help older residents in remote areas so they can talk to providers on their computers or on the phone. – Madelyn Beck, Mountain West Press Office

More forest fires are happening at high altitudes

Climate change is causing more forest fires in an unlikely place – subalpine forests, according to a new study published Monday at the National Academy of Sciences. Subalpine or high altitude forests are generally snowy and humid landscapes known for their cool temperatures. According to the study, global warming is causing larger fires in the forests of the Rocky Mountains. The researchers used charcoal found in lake sediment recordings to determine the frequency of fires in a given area. They found that there had been more forest fires in the past two decades than at any time in the past 2,000 years. – Maggie Mullen, Mountain West Information Office

Record-breaking heat wave grips western United States

Dangerous, record-breaking heat is spreading across the southwestern United States and parts of Utah, Montana and Wyoming. It’s caused by a high pressure dome hovering over a wide swath of the area, pushing temperatures into triple digits this week. It also heightens the risk of forest fires in the midst of a long-lasting drought. Utah set a heat record Tuesday for the second day in a row. Some of the hottest temperatures are found in dry Arizona, where the National Weather Service predicted a record 117 degrees Tuesday in Phoenix. The previous record for the date was 115 degrees in 1974. The excessive heat stretched from southeastern California to Arizona and Nevada and New Mexico. – Associated press


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