Driving in Utah is a road tripper’s dream. With its unworldly scenery and unusual history, Utah ranks among the most intriguing destinations in the U.S. This big western state has magnificent mountain peaks, stark deserts, colorful canyons, and the second saltiest body of water on Earth. Utah is home to 43 state parks, five national parks, and seven national monuments, making it a paradise for travelers who love the outdoors. Also, the state is justly famous for its excellent skiing, river rafting, bicycling, and backpacking.
Starting at noon Thursday, May 12 from Antelope Island State Park, a group of six people will pile in an RV and drive approximately 2,200 miles visiting all 43 state parks and returning back to Antelope Island Sunday, May 15.
Six people piling into one RV and visiting 43 Utah state parks in three days!
It’s a one-of-a-kind adventure that sounds like a television reality show.
“The idea of the Road Trip is to showcase the importance, beauty, and diversity of Utah’s state park system and rally Utahns to come out and support their favorite state parks, and state parks in their communities,” said Barbara Riddle, president and CEO of Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“I can’t wait to see what it’s like when the whole thing is done,” Riddle added. “We’ve been calling it a little like the Chevy Chase ‘Vacation’ tour. Our hope is nobody ends up in the rocking chair on top of the RV on the way back.”
Also with a seat in the RV are Chris Dallin, Tim Hughes, Russ Smith, Bill Francis, and Vaughn Jacobsen, all of whom are involved with the Antelope Island Stampede Committee.
Dallin came up with the idea when he and Jacobsen were talking about Dallin’s idea for a fun weekend.
“I believe that life is made up of activities and fun moments and we thought this would be a fun way to see state parks,” said Dallin, a board member of the Davis County Chamber of Commerce.
The trip is funded privately and through donations: RV provided by All Access Recreation Club, cash from Chevron, promotion by KSL Radio, satellite communication by Skycall Communications, and videography by The Imagination Company.
During and following the trip, the Road Trippers will blog, and share video, and photos through updates on their website at utahstateroadtrip.com.
“We challenge every Utahn to visit a state park this year, if we can do all 43 parks in three days, you can visit one,” said Russ Smith with Skycall Communications.
The Road Trip coincides with the Utah Tourism Conference and National Tourism Week, and is an official Travel Day Event designated by U.S. Travel. Road Trippers will stop briefly at the Utah Tourism Conference in Park City on Thursday night to meet up with the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition, Utah Office of Tourism, and other tourism entities.
Tourism is one of Utah’s largest industries, generating $6.2 billion in traveler spending every year and $625 million in state and local taxes. Utah’s state parks alone host nearly 5 million visitors annually.
Dallin said he thinks that it is sad that when he talks with people around Davis County, they tell him about trips to Paris, Cozumel, and Cancun. But when he asks them if they can name four Utah State parks, he has not found one person who can answer.
“Around here they say Willard Bay, Antelope Island, and that’s as far as they go,” Dallin said. “We hope we can bring some attention as a part of this and help people recognize that there is beauty out there that needs to be discovered by them and their families.”
Many state parks, including Antelope Island and Territorial Statehouse are planning community events around the Road Trip.
All visitors to state parks that day will receive a Utah State Parks supporter pin; no taxpayer money was used to purchase pins.
Established by the 1957 Utah Legislature, the state park system has been a recent target of budget cuts, stripped of $8.3 million in general funds over the last four years. With no new funding in sight for operations or replacement of aging facilities, the Road Trippers want to raise awareness about potential state park closures.
Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.