Stranded tourists find Castle Country ain't so bad
With all 401 National Park sites closed due to a federal spending debacle, travelers are being forced to make emergency changes to their plans. In Castle Country the national closures instantly provided an opportunity for ramblers from Miami to Holland to see the splendor of Southeastern Utah.
"We heard about Nine Mile because of the National Park closure," said Adalaide from Miami, Florida. "We were in Logan and they recommended this area and we have had quite an adventure."
Adalaide, who preferred not to divulge her last name, and her friend stopped the visitor's center as soon as they reached Carbon County and were pleased to find the multitude of land marks that awaited them. Meeting with Travel Region Coordinator Jana Abrams, the pair found that all the amenities they required were at their finger tips right here in Carbon County.
"Abrams, she was so knowledgeable, she asked how many days we were going to be here and told us all about the local attractions," said Adalaide. "From the time we got here, everyone has been so amazing. They have been so kind to us."
The pair spent their first night at the Legacy Motel on Carbonville Road and were planning to go into Nine Mile Canyon on their first full day of travel.
"I don't think we will be able to see all 70 miles today but we plan to drive three hours in and three hours out, we are very excited about Nine Mile Canyon."
The pair's cross country trip took a detour midway through because of the national park closure. After visiting Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks, the federal sites were closed. They had planned to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon and instead found their way to Utah's Castle Country.
"We wouldn't know about this wonderful place if it wasn't for the shutdown," she said.
According to Abrams, a couple visiting from Holland had planned a month long vacation in Utah, hoping to spend the majority of their time in national parks. When the federal shutdown nixed their plans the travel region stepped in.
"I first recommended Nine Mile, that's a day trip," said Abrams. "Then I recommended the San Rafael Swell. When they come in, we show them the best places to eat, where to stay and where to go."
As the pair from Holland had quite a bit of time to spend, Abrams also recommended Goblin Valley and Moab among other areas.
Since the shutdown, the travel region has seen visitors from Holland, Florida, Washington, California, Montana, Nevada, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Michigan, Texas, Maryland, Indiana and Alberta, Canada.
"Everyone that comes through says 'Wow, I didn't know there was this much to do here,'" said Abrams.
One look at the literature available from the office of tourism shows that Castle Country is tailor-made for most any type of vacation. From passive sight-seeing types to those looking to scale the vertical sandstone of Moab, Southeastern Utah has something for everyone.
In the three days between Tuesday and Friday, the office of tourism was able to service 25 traveling parties, more than double the amount the office would typically see at this time of year.