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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6105774 - 09/28/13 11:39 AM

Be aware that if the Government shuts down this next week all the National Parks will close (but not the support for mining for gas and oil). Also the BLM will halt all non-emergency use of their land as well link. I'm not sure how they'll stop use of Forest Land or BLM land though. Anyway, just an FYI.

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Seldom
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/05/12

Loc: N of Cedar City Light Dome
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: JayinUT]
      #6106064 - 09/28/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

Be aware that if the Government shuts down this next week all the National Parks will close (but not the support for mining for gas and oil). Also the BLM will halt all non-emergency use of their land as well link. I'm not sure how they'll stop use of Forest Land or BLM land though. Anyway, just an FYI.




What effect will that have on the Utah Star Party? (FS land)


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: Seldom]
      #6106124 - 09/28/13 03:01 PM

Jay - A government shutdown won't affect access to GSENM, and if it does happen there won't be anyone on patrol either I'd wager.

Seldom - Should have zero effect unless the area you're accessing is gated.


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JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6106489 - 09/28/13 07:28 PM

I agree with Dippel that if your using BLM land and don't need services or are using land non-gated, you should be fine. Their police officers I believe will remain on duty from what I read but in all the years of using BLM land, I have only see an officer once on actual BLM land. DEA I saw once but that is a different story.

From a September 25th memo by the BLM Management on the impacts if the Government Shut Downs. Here is the link to the PDF.

Visitor Management: The BLM will close and secure visitor centers and facilities on public lands. Visitor activities that require a permit may be canceled or postponed. Contracted operations such as trash collection and toilet cleaning will be suspended. If practical, areas will
be posted with signs that state that no patrols, maintenance or other management activities will be provided including emergency or rescue services provided by BLM.

Special Recreation Permit Authorizations and Concession Leases
Commercial, competitive, and group authorization for events and activities --Concessions and some commercial outfitter and guide special recreation permits can continue operations as long
as they do not need BLM field monitoring and regulatory oversight in the short term, and are not operating in sites that have been closed. No new activities or launches will occur unless they meet the exceptions discussed above. New permit applications, modifications and renewals will not be received or processed. However, cost recovery events scheduled within 48 hours of the onset of the shutdown, which would pay BLM staff salary, will be allowed to proceed. Other
events scheduled to occur during the government shutdown will be canceled, postponed, or suspended. Vendors’ operations will be suspended. Individual permits in special areas- No new entries or activities will be allowed at the time of the
shutdown. Use of permitted areas should be ended as soon as practical, and no longer than within 48 hours of shutdown, such as at Long Term Visitor Areas or Aravaipa Canyon.

Volunteers
Volunteer activities would be discontinued during the shutdown.
Campgrounds and Other Recreation Sites
Campgrounds, boat ramps, and other recreation sites will be closed or posted as closed in areas where public access cannot practically be restricted. All facilities will be operationally shut down and posted accordingly, with gates locked, restrooms locked, and water systems shut down. Consistent with other Federal recreation providers, occupied sites would be given 48 hours to vacate, with the area shut down as the last visitor leaves. Shutdown activities for the
sites would be completed within the 48 hour period. Campground hosts and other volunteers would be given the same 48 hour period to vacate, and should not expect to receive any reimbursement for this period. National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS)
NRRS will be shut down. This is consistent with sister agencies that use the system. Refunds for previous reservations will be available through normal NRRS processes.
BLM Agency Technical Representative will initiate a closure of all BLM Rec.gov facilities.
a) All BLM facilities will have a message posted at a bulletin stating the site is closed until
further notice.
b) Recreation.gov will not allow anyone to make reservations for any BLM facility.
c) The Recreation.gov contractor will be open for business throughout any closure for customer service only and will NOT be taking advanced reservations.
d) Area POCs will be responsible for lifting closures once the shutdown has ended - (since each area may have slightly different reopening plans and time frames, they must notify Active
Network (NRRS contractor) when to resume normal operations specific to their facility).

So yes, there are impacts on BLM land and the National Parks in the area will be closed if this happens.

In terms of the Utah Star Party I contacted the office this week and since I paid for a permit on the Forest Land they will honor that permit in lieu of us using primitive camping sites which is what we intended. The campgrounds by Vernon Reservoir will not have the bathroom's drained until the shutdown is ended IF it happens but they should be functional. Also Thursday is looking like 20% chance of showers, Friday night should be clear as is Saturday and Sunday (I may stay through Sunday we'll see).

Edited by JayinUT (09/28/13 07:32 PM)


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: mountain monk]
      #6106842 - 09/29/13 01:28 AM

Quote:

Linton,

Oh, poor you! You have to go down to Capital Reef for "astro duty."

Dark skies.

Jack




Yeah Jack... it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
No pay... late hours... but hey, the fringe benefits are great!
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: bunyon]
      #6106851 - 09/29/13 01:49 AM

Quote:

I simply drove south of town on some dirt road for about 20 minutes, stopped and set up. No one came by all night and it was one of the darkest nights of observing I've ever had.




Hmm... Smoky Mountain Road, by any chance?
I haven't been out on that *yet*, but it was recommended by a NPS Ranger from the North Rim. Apparently, it goes all the way down to Badwater, near Page, but there's a serious 4WD section near the midway point. Anyway, that was the darkest place she'd ever been.
A friend of mine from L.A. was out on Hole-in-the-Rock Road several years ago, with a bunch of other astro-fanatics after a week at the North Rim GCSP, and he and the others thought it was the darkest place they'd ever been. I'm seeing a pattern here.
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #6106860 - 09/29/13 02:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:


North of Boulder on Route 12, below the rim of the Aquarius Plateau. Just as the road turns decisively north you will find a turnout with a panoramic view of SE Utah. Nearby are two-tracks leading to various very un-offiicial camp sites. Get off the road and set up. About 9,500 feet. Gets my vote as one the best observing sites in the U.S. Black, black, black.




But watch out for the large number of cattle grazing open-range in this area, including quite a few wandering along the pavement of Route 12 itself! Many of the cattle are not inclined to be in any hurry to move out of the way of an approaching car, and a substantial portion of them are of a variety which has black coloration. Or at least that was true in summer 2012 when I made that trip.




Yeah, the cattle can be be a problem, especially the Black Angus, but at least they move slow. But deer and elk are more problematic, as they're more prone to darting out in front of you.
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6106903 - 09/29/13 03:18 AM

Quote:

Jack, just wow. Thanks a million for the great information! You've given me a lot to think about. Right now I'm seriously considering heading down Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. to the primitive camping area near Sooner Rocks. There's also camping allowed in previously disturbed areas within 50 feet of the road along FR260, FR275, and FR280 as alternative options, as is the Cutoff Road near Little Death Hollow that you pointed out. Since I'm going to be there for four days and nights I'd rather set up a camp than try and poach something sleeping in my vehicle. From what I can see on the chart, the whole chunk of territory along Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. is in a black zone.

The area you mention north of Boulder sounds VERY tempting, but at 9500 feet it's gonna be c-c-c-old up there. Probably too cold for my thin desert rat blood this time of year. I'll definitely keep it in mind for early summer though. For this trip I think I'll try to stay below 5000 feet.

Once again. many thanks for the benefit of your years of experience in the area. It's obvious that you love the place. Although I've been to Moab and Canyonlands many times this will be my first visit to Escalante and I'm really looking forward to it.




Dpippel,
Excellent advice from Jack, there. Not too much I can add.
Sounds like your wanting to get off the main roads, so that eliminates a few of my ideas, such as Head-of-the-Rocks scenic overlook (about 5 miles north of Escalante), the Hogsback (a couple miles north of Calf Creek campground), and 2 of the 3 scenic overlooks going over Boulder Mtn... Steep Creek (?) which I believe Jack was referring to and Larb Hollow, which is further north, toward Torrey. (You can see the La Sal Mtns, east of Arches, from the latter - roughly 130 miles away!) These are all places you can/must see during your daytime hours.
Be sure to check on current road conditions. I read that Hole-in-the-Rock Road incurred major damage in the epic rainstorms we recently received. There may be others. Hell's Backbone is always a rough ride, but it's namesake Grill in Boulder is *highly* recommended, if you've got the cash to spare.
About 6-8 miles east of Boulder, on the Burr Trail, is a primitive campground amidst some lovely Junipers on the north side of the road. I've been wanting to try a couple nights there sometime. It's just before you start to drop down into Long Canyon, which is awesome to drive through. The Capitol Reef end of that road is amazing too, with steep switchbacks descending down the Waterpocket Fold and the Henry Mtns towering up in the east, beyond Strike Valley.
I'd urge you to set aside a little time for Capitol Reef while you're in the neighborhood, but then I'm somewhat biased!
Linton


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6107009 - 09/29/13 07:08 AM

No clue, Linton. I was following a distance relay run (called the Blue Planet Run) and found myself in Escalante for two nights. I had the scope with me and the lady at the hotel said it was really dark. So I just sort of puttered around until I found a road that ran south and I went. Not the most organized session ever but my log book shows dozens of very faint objects and lots of exclamation points. So it isn't just in my memory that it was excellent.

I've also observed at Natural Bridges, which was fantastic. But not quite as dark as the night south of Escalante.

However, despite many trips to southern Utah for one thing and another and about a dozen observing session over the years, I live in the east. Don't confuse me with someone (like many here) that knows anything much about the area. All I can say is, anyone who likes dark sky and magnificent vistas should get themselves there at least once.

Quote:

Quote:

I simply drove south of town on some dirt road for about 20 minutes, stopped and set up. No one came by all night and it was one of the darkest nights of observing I've ever had.




Hmm... Smoky Mountain Road, by any chance?
I haven't been out on that *yet*, but it was recommended by a NPS Ranger from the North Rim. Apparently, it goes all the way down to Badwater, near Page, but there's a serious 4WD section near the midway point. Anyway, that was the darkest place she'd ever been.
A friend of mine from L.A. was out on Hole-in-the-Rock Road several years ago, with a bunch of other astro-fanatics after a week at the North Rim GCSP, and he and the others thought it was the darkest place they'd ever been. I'm seeing a pattern here.
Linton




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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6107235 - 09/29/13 11:06 AM

Quote:

Excellent advice from Jack, there. Not too much I can add.
Sounds like your wanting to get off the main roads, so that eliminates a few of my ideas, such as Head-of-the-Rocks scenic overlook (about 5 miles north of Escalante), the Hogsback (a couple miles north of Calf Creek campground), and 2 of the 3 scenic overlooks going over Boulder Mtn... Steep Creek (?) which I believe Jack was referring to and Larb Hollow, which is further north, toward Torrey. (You can see the La Sal Mtns, east of Arches, from the latter - roughly 130 miles away!) These are all places you can/must see during your daytime hours.
Be sure to check on current road conditions. I read that Hole-in-the-Rock Road incurred major damage in the epic rainstorms we recently received. There may be others.




Thank for the additional suggestions Linton. I'll definitely be doing some exploring and hiking during daylight hours and plan on just going where my whim takes me in that regard. I'm trying to keep this trip as unstructured as I can. Instead of having an itinerary of stops to check off I want to simply experience the place. Let it happen to me so to speak. As for Hole-in-the-Rock Rd., the latest road conditions posted by the BLM on 9/22 show that it's in fairly good shape. I plan on calling them today to get the most current info. If this route is compromised I'll look for an alternative, which could be the Cutoff Rd. accessed from Wolverine Loop.


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woodscavenger
sage


Reged: 08/20/13

Loc: Boise, ID
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6108539 - 09/30/13 01:06 AM

I am wishing I was there now. We were down in Green River, ut and Escalante,ut for a week this summer. I was not into astronomy at the time. What a missed opportunity. We spent three days doing canyons off of hole-in-the rock rd. Some washboard but with my 2012 Sequoia we moved pretty quick down most of it. Have a great trip.

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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: dpippel]
      #6108647 - 09/30/13 03:30 AM

Quote:

Thank for the additional suggestions Linton. I'll definitely be doing some exploring and hiking during daylight hours and plan on just going where my whim takes me in that regard. I'm trying to keep this trip as unstructured as I can. Instead of having an itinerary of stops to check off I want to simply experience the place. Let it happen to me so to speak. As for Hole-in-the-Rock Rd., the latest road conditions posted by the BLM on 9/22 show that it's in fairly good shape. I plan on calling them today to get the most current info. If this route is compromised I'll look for an alternative, which could be the Cutoff Rd. accessed from Wolverine Loop.




Fair enough. Play it by ear. You'll see a lot of these places without even trying.
Highway 12 is one of THE most scenic roads I've ever been on... and I've been around.
Oh... I think you'll like the DARK and transparent night sky, too! Have fun!
Linton


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: lintonius]
      #6108989 - 09/30/13 10:13 AM

Thanks guys! Starting to get stoked now that the week has started. I'm leaving early Friday morning and am calling today to get an updated road report. So far the weather is looking PERFECT for the four days I'll be there. This could be epic!

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? new [Re: dpippel]
      #6109123 - 09/30/13 11:44 AM

Just spoke with Shannon (who was very friendly and accommodating) at the Escalante visitor center and it's a go! Game on! Anyone care to join me?

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: dpippel]
      #6112040 - 10/01/13 09:41 PM

Called again today to confirm or deny that GSENM will be accessible during the shutdown. I was assured that it would be NO PROBLEM! w00t!!!! Come oooooooon Friday!

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seawolfe
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/26/13

Loc: N 47.11.23 W 122.20.18
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: dpippel]
      #6112484 - 10/02/13 05:20 AM

Lucky you!

I wanted to go to and am still planning on going to Lassen Volcanic. But currently the main road through the park, which by the way is a STATE road, is closed. So hopefully the government will be up and running again by next Tuesday.

Hope...hope...hope!

Edited by seawolfe (10/02/13 05:21 AM)


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: seawolfe]
      #6112692 - 10/02/13 09:30 AM

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you seawolfe! I'm sure it will be all over by next week.

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Spaced
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: dpippel]
      #6114974 - 10/03/13 11:35 AM

I've added this thread to my personal favorites list, for future reference. What a wealth of information!

In 2001 I spent a week in Coyote Gulch (near Escalate) with my cousin, my daughter and my daughter's friend. It was backpacking only -- no astro gear other than binocs. In late May/early June high (for that area, anyhow) humidity prevailed, with almost nightly t/storms over the mountains to the west. But even so, we'd lie on the warm rocks at night and gaze at the universe.

One of these days . . .


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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: Spaced]
      #6116717 - 10/04/13 08:29 AM

Well folks, with the exception of my C11 OTA, my bike, and a cooler I'm all loaded up and ready to go. Heading out around 6:20AM AZ time. I'll be posting a trip report when I get back. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Clear skies...

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dpippel
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 04/05/13

Loc: Desierto de Sonora
Re: Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Observed There? [Re: dpippel]
      #6125090 - 10/08/13 02:25 PM Attachment (7 downloads)

Dark, dark, DARK...

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