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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for April 27

Latest News, Deals & Savings for April 27

This week: Arizona cuts days, hours of operation at some state parks, Pink Jeep Tours is offering deluxe tours of Grand Canyon that include a visit to Quartermaster Point, and Spring Creek Ranch in Colorado is offering five luxurious one-week stays at its exclusive working cattle ranch.

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Some Arizona State Parks Shift to Five-Day Schedules

Reflecting the current economic downturn that continues to plague Arizona's state parks, the seven-member Parks Board has approved cutbacks and/or reduced days and hours of operation for several popular park facilities.

Currently closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park,
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, and Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park.

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Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting May 5 will be Fort Verde State Historic Park, while Oracle state Park will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting May 19.

"In order to keep the parks as accessible to the public as possible with this reduction in force, we will begin shortening weeks," said Jay Ream, Arizona Parks assistant director.

All of the daily park hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Oracle State Park which will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cutbacks are expected to ease the stress of trying to keep parks open seven days a week while dealing with a 26 percent reduction in ranger staff, Ream said.

"We have already lost much of the workforce, and I need to move the experienced rangers to the parks that need the help right away," said Ream. "The danger we are facing is losing some of our experienced and highly trained rangers who would be almost impossible to replace."

In February 2009 the Arizona State Parks Board voted to close the historic lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park and Jerome State Historic Park.

The decision was made partly due to needed repairs, but also to move park rangers to other state parks that have lost many professional and seasonal personnel due to a $34.6 million sweep from state parks funds.

"These are not easy people to replace," said Ream. "They are the best of the best in these fields and highly recruited because of their multiple talents. Some of our ‘super rangers' are actually trained and skilled in every category. They are committed to state parks despite demanding training requirements and relatively low pay."

For more information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174, outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703 or visit
www.azstateparks.com

Pink Jeep Tours Launches Grand Canyon Classic Deluxe Tour

Pink Jeep Tours said it is offering a special Grand Canyon Classic Deluxe tour that features exclusive access to Quartermaster Point, one of the most remote areas at Grand Canyon West.

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Guests travel in the Tour Trekker, Pink Jeep Tours' brand new first of its kind, high-end and spacious sightseeing vehicle. The tour includes brief stops and photo opportunities at the historic Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the desert community of Dolan Springs and the rugged Joshua Tree forest, then continues to the Grand Canyon's West Rim, home of the Hualapai nation.

"Quartermaster Point provides modern day spiritual significance for Hualapai people to enjoy the splendor and solitude of our homeland. Quartermaster is a peaceful experience with nature at its best," said Waylon Honga, chief operating officer, Grand Canyon Resort Corp.

Once at the West Rim, guests travel to awe-inspiring Quartermaster Point, an area named after O.G. Howland who served as Quartermaster in the Union Army under Major John Wesley Powell.

The absence of handrails, fences or crowds makes Quartermaster Point a remote and panoramic viewpoint overlooking the magnificent Colorado River. Tour guides offer an optional 20-minute hike to another viewpoint with spectacular views of the canyon and the river few visitors ever experience.

"Taking customers to remote destinations and providing them with an escorted interpretive tour is our niche. Our custom Tour Trekkers were designed and built to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible," said Alix Reed, general manager, Pink Jeep Tours. "We feel very privileged to be entrusted in sharing the beauty and the history of this magnificent point."

Another highlight for guests are views of the amazing Skywalk. Composed of glass and steel, the transparent walkway extends 70 feet beyond the rim with a nearly 4,000 foot drop below to the canyon floor.

Pink Jeep Tours provides door-to-door service from most hotels. Pick up time is 7:30 a.m. The tour lasts approximately 9 to 10 hours. The tour price is $224 per person, plus tax and gratuity and $32 for the Skywalk.

For more information, call Pink Jeep Tours at (702) 895-6777 or go to
www.pinkjeep.com.

Colorado's Spring Creek Ranch Opens for Guests

For the first time ever, Spring Creek Ranch in Colorado is offering five luxurious one-week stays at its exclusive working cattle ranch.

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Just in time for the warmer months, the ranch is offering up an experience with all the amenities one would require from a luxury hotel and all the activities one would expect from a working ranch.

Just a little over an hour away from Aspen, the 1,200-acre ranch is nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and boasts sweeping views of undeveloped national forest.

Featuring a 4,300 square-foot ranch house with a total of five beautifully-appointed bedrooms and four luxurious bathrooms, the ranch's rustic elegance is highlighted by the wrap-around porch and handcrafted wood work.

When renting the ranch for a week, guests will enjoy a selection of activities that range from the adventurous to the relaxing. Hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding, mountain biking, roping, target shooting, egg collecting from the chicken coop, feeding animals in the barn, irrigating fields, mending fences, as well as cattle herding. With a ranch hand on-site, guests can learn all the tricks of the trade from a true professional.

To fuel up for fun-filled days, the ranch provides breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks. Picnic lunches are also available for those too busy to come back to the house for sustenance.

For those evenings spent admiring the beautiful sunsets, the ranch provides a fully-stocked bar featuring wine and all the ingredients necessary for cocktails.

Additionally, a recreation room with a big-screen television and billiards is available for guests to let loose and have a good time. Those who need to stay connected with the real world can make use of the office with wireless Internet.

For those who want to go beyond the ranch, wine tasting tours, rafting, kayaking, trout fishing, shopping, cave exploring and national park visits are a short distance away.

For more information and reservations, visit
www.springcreekranchcolorado.com .


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