OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

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Feb 17th
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This year marks the 150th anniversary of Virginia City, once a thriving Old West metropolis of some 30,000 residents located 24 miles east of Carson City and Reno, Nevada.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the city one of the 12 most distinctive destinations in America. Trust representatives presented the award at the historic Piper's Opera House.
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We are two days into a six-day white water rafting adventure on Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon, often referred to as The River of No Return, and as usual, I am powerless to stop my son from adding another heart-pounding feat to his stash of adventures.

This time my husband has joined the fray, and the two of them are about to catapult through Class IV rapids in a flimsy-looking rubber thing called a "Daring Duckie." Smiling like a couple of "Jackass" pranksters, they lurch onto the river.
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Some call it the "Gettysburg of the West" while many others don't even know it exists, but the Battle of Glorieta Pass is one of the few American Civil War battle sites found in the West, and now visitors can enjoy its history from the vantage point of a new public trail.

Part of Pecos National Historical Park (
www.nps.gov/peco/) located about 25 miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Battle of Glorieta Pass Trail opened to the public June 13, 2009 and is the first public trail within the Glorieta Pass Civil War Battlefield Unit of the park.
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The Grand Canyon Depot turns 100 in 2010, marking a century of welcoming millions of visitors to Grand Canyon National Park.

The modest-looking two-and-a-half story log structure that is the Grand Canyon Depot has served as the point of entry for park tourists traveling aboard the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Ariz., 65 miles to the south of the park.

Visitors first came to the Grand Canyon by steam train beginning in 1901 aboard the steam-driven Santa Fe Railway. Before the train option, travelers to the park could only arrive via a jarring all-day stagecoach ride from Flagstaff, Ariz.
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Another dazzling fall colors season is being forecast for Utah Valley, south of Salt Lake City, Utah, by area resorts and businesses as they gear up for autumn festivals and harvest events.

"Utah's impressive display of fall foliage entices both Utah residents and out-of-state visitors to spend more time outdoors and visit the painted peaks throughout our state," said Joel Racker, President and CEO of the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau (UVCVB). "This year brought an increased amount of moisture to the mountains and we are eager to see how that may boost the brilliance of this year's colors."
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Most of the early Old West, the wood frame boom towns and false front main streets where cowboys, gamblers and settlers crossed paths, is long gone, replaced by the next generation's desire for bigger and better cities.

While those first structures have been lost to us, an ever-dwindling number of the West's historic buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s are still around, although sadly, many are run down, falling apart, and waiting for the bulldozer or wrecking ball.
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Train rides to the North Pole, horse-drawn sleigh rides through snowy forests, Charles Dickens, the aroma of cookies and cocoa in mountain villages. This is another side of Colorado's winter season. Now through the New Year, travelers can take advantage of a variety of Christmas holiday-inspired packages and events.

Following are a few ways to celebrate the holidays in Colorado. For a complete list of vacation values and more, visit
www.colorado.com.
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With 2008 (thankfully) in the record books, and a new year ahead of us, I'm sorry to say there remain news reports of government initiatives designed to make it easier to open wild lands and wilderness areas to mineral exploration and other uses. This news got me to thinking about the environment that makes up the West.

Before you think I'm going to extol the virtues of wilderness above all else, let me state that I believe in-and support-the multi-generational ranches that have contributed so much to the health of our range land. Family ranchers understand the need to protect the open range in ways that few others can grasp.
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Arizona is one of the West's great treasure troves of Old West history, of gunmen, prospectors and dreamers, and there's no better place to experience that heritage than along the Apache Trail where little has changed since those days.

Here you'll find legends, markers and stories, including the last stage holdup in the West, the happenings of Billy the Kid, and the graves of bandits who wouldn't go down without a fight.
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Arkansas is quickly gaining a foothold as one of nation's premier spots for mountain biking.

"I think people don't realize quite yet the sheer amount of riding in Arkansas," said Matt McFee, director and lead guide of Hermosa Tours, based in Durango, Colorado. "Most people think 20- to 30-mile ‘epic' days are a thing only to be found further out West, but in fact, they exist in abundance in Arkansas."
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UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, June 9, Caltrans announced it had fully re-opened California Highway 1 to all traffic at Alder Creek just north of the Monterey County / San Luis Obispo County line.

Original Story: California's scenic coastal Highway 1 will re-open to motorists by Friday, June 10, 2011 after Caltrans crews finish clearing away the last truck loads of mountain rocks and debris that closed the route in both directions 40 miles south of Big Sur.

"It could be sooner," a Caltrans spokesperson said, "but it will definitely be by Friday. It's up to the contractor to tell us when the road is ready to re-open."
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Seven of the 10 most visited National Parks in 2007 were in the West, according to the National Park Service, and those seven parks hosted 22.2 million visitors.

Of the 10 most visited national parks in 2007, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, saw the greatest number of visits at 9.37 million.
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My horse sensed them first. We were riding up a wash to a line cabin in the Nevada high desert, under a full moon that bathed the world in silvery light, when the horses whinnied and snorted.

I was out inspecting watering tanks and fences on a ranch. Up ahead in the gray shadows a stallion gathered his mares and foals and headed up the rise, hooves barely audible on the rocky soil. Keeping their distance from man and civilization, mustangs provide an echo of the Old West in ways like nothing else can.
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What is there about the Territorial West that continues to attract people? Why do figures such as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, William Bonny and the rest of the Western pantheon figure so largely in both our imaginations and culture?

Part of the reason is that there are still the rare places where we can walk where they walked, and many of the landmarks they traveled by remain virtually unchanged.
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The federal government has designated 22 trails in 13 states - including trails in California, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas - as newly recognized National Recreation Trails, adding more than 525 miles of trails to the National Trails System.

"From coast to coast, the National Trails System helps connect American families with the wonders of the outdoors," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "These new National Recreation Trails, built through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, will create new opportunities for fitness and stewardship, while creating a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren."
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Cheyenne Frontier Days isn't just about the world's largest outdoor rodeo and Western Celebration, it's also about nighttime fun, and for 2011 the Frontier Nights concert series offers some of the biggest names in Rock and Country Western music including Kidd Rock, the Charlie Daniels Band and Toby Keith.

This year's Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration runs from July 21 through 31, with all shows starting at 8 p.m. For information about tickets to any of this year's offerings, visit the Cheyenne Frontier Days Web site at
www.cfdrodeo.com .
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They may not look like crooks, and their motivations even may be well intentioned, but illegal tour operators are a problem for the National Park Service, and when things go bad it is usually the park visitor who ends up impacted.

"It is an ongoing issue for us," Jo A. Pendry, chief of the National Park Service Concession Program, told OldWestNewWest.Com. "And it is really a difficult thing for our parks to oversee or discover."
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The year was 1979, and one hundred years earlier the Wawona Hotel had opened for business near California's Yosemite Valley. Back in those days, the place was known as Big Tree Station and accounts vary about just what buildings were where, but most historians agree that 1879 marked the year when the hotel began functioning on a regular basis.
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Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has named the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail as the eighth inductee to the group's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

The California trail is featured in Rails to Trails magazine and on RTC's Web site, complete with photos and a detailed ride-along description of its scenic views and important community connections.
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Glacier National Park in Montana is offering a unique adventure opportunity for visitors beginning Jan. 11, 2009, that gives the public a close-up view of how the park's plants and animals survive the challenges of the winter season.

The "Winter Signs" Weekend Snowshoe Program provides the public with free, two-hour, ranger-led snowshoe excursions of the winter environment to discover how the park's winter residents survive the cold and harsh months of winter.
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