Utah County Agrees to Land Reshuffling

Arches National Park is part of Grand County, which just signed on to the Public Lands Initiative.     Photo: Arches National Park/Flickr

Utah County Agrees to Land Reshuffling

Will create more than 500,000 acres of wilderness

High Country News reports that Grand County, on Utah’s border with Colorado, has signed on to the Public Lands Initiative, nicknamed the Grand Bargain. The initiative, started by Republican Representative Rob Bishop, involves swapping developed land for federal wilderness areas to preserve wild places while opening others to energy companies. Grand County’s April 10 proposal means that upwards of 500,000 acres could be designated as wilderness.

Grand County encompasses Arches National Park and the Moab area, Utah’s outdoor recreation meccas. The county has almost no designated wilderness, and 800,000 acres of land are open to oil and gas leasing, according to HCN. San Juan and Duchesne Counties are working on proposals, and three others have submitted or are close to submitting theirs.

In its proposal, Grand County requests 514,000 acres of wilderness in the Book Cliffs area; the creation of a 159,000-acre National Conservation Area; Wild and Scenic status for the Dolores, Green, and Colorado Rivers; and a 2,900-acre expansion of Arches. Holding to the square-mile-for-square-mile nature of the Grand Bargain, any land not covered in the proposal would be left open for oil and gas development; 30,000 acres would be left open for tar sands development.

Once all the county proposals are collected, the bill will move to Congress. “The counties don’t vote on the bill,” Ashley Korenblat, head of Public Land Solutions (a Moab-based nonprofit advocating for recreation planning), told HCN. “Yes, we need their input, but this is federal land, and it’s going to be decided in the U.S. Congress.”


WATCH: Bikini-Skiers Break World Record

The almost 2,000 skiers and snowboarders set a record for largest downhill ride in swimsuits.     Photo: RuptlyTV/YouTube

WATCH: Bikini-Skiers Break World Record

For riding downhill in swimsuits

More than 1,830 bikini-clad skiers and snowboarders braved the Siberian cold on April 20 to achieve the new world record during the third annual Grelka Fest in Sheregesh, Russia, according to RT

Seven mounted and overhead cameras, along with 30 resort personnel, observed the event to ensure the safety of the riders and rules of the record.

Two years ago to the day, Guinness World Records confirmed the then-largest group of bikini-skiers to be 500 participants.


Lelisa Desisa and Caroline Rotich Win Boston Marathon

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopa won the men's race at the 2015 Boston Marathon. Desisa also won the race in 2013.     Photo: BU Interactive News/Flickr

Lelisa Desisa and Caroline Rotich Win Boston Marathon

Rain, wind, and cold slowed times

It wasn’t just the hills of the famed Boston Marathon course that provided the challenge for the elite field of the 119th edition of the race. Intermittent rain, a strengthening headwind, and a chilly 43-degree start turned the race’s focus from fast times to the feat itself. Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa won the men’s race in 2:09:17, and Caroline Rotich, a Kenyan who trains in Santa Fe, New Mexico, won the women’s race in 2:24:55.

“The wind is very cold and very strong,” said Desisa, according to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). “It forces you back. That is the effect on the fast of the race.” 

Desisa, who also won the race in 2013, was rarely challenged during the second half. Adhane Tsegay, the eventual runner-up, put in a surge during the final miles and finished in 2:09:48. Kenya’s Wilson Chebet ran to a third-place finish of 2:10:22.

Dathan Ritzenhein, of Rockford, Michigan, was the top American in the men's race, finishing seventh in 2:11:20. Last year’s winner Meb Keflezighi, who turns 40 on May 5, was in contention late in the race, but faded to eighth and finished in 2:12:42. 

On the women’s side, a large group remained through 20 miles until Mare Dibaba, of Ethiopia, made an aggressive move, covering the mile in 5:07. Dibaba and eventual winner Rotich traded the lead multiple times onto Boylston street where the race finishes, but Rotich, with a smile on her face, put in a final surge that was received without response by Dibaba (2:24:59).

“I got to the last corner and I saw the finish line tape, and I said, ‘This is it. I’m not going to let it go,’” Rotich said, according to the BAA.

Buzunesh Deba, an Ethiopian who lives and trains in the Bronx, placed third, finishing in 2:25:09.

American Desiree Linden, who was the race’s runner-up in 2011, led a large portion of the day, but was unable to respond to Dibaba’s initial surge. Linden finished as the top American in fourth in 2:25:39. Pre-race favorite Shalane Flanagan, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, who is the second-fastest American marathoner ever in the women's division, lost contact in the Newton Hills, but rallied late in the race to finish ninth in 2:27:47.