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"Amazing Earthfest" Showcases Red Rock Country

PHOTO: Hikes at this year's Amazing Earthfest in Kanab, Utah, range from challenging climbs to archaeological sites, to walks on the Kanab Municipal Trails System. Either way, the scenery is spectacular. Courtesy Amazing Earthfest.
PHOTO: Hikes at this year's Amazing Earthfest in Kanab, Utah, range from challenging climbs to archaeological sites, to walks on the Kanab Municipal Trails System. Either way, the scenery is spectacular. Courtesy Amazing Earthfest.
May 8, 2013

KANAB, Utah - Coloradans can get a firsthand look at the spectacular scenery of the Colorado Plateau starting this weekend, at a celebration for hikers on the Utah-Arizona border.

The Amazing Earthfest is in its seventh year, and more than 100 activities are planned in the Kanab area to introduce people to some of the natural wonders of the region.

Founding director Rich Csenge said he knows it may seem ironic to bring a crowd to an area where growth has been an environmental challenge, but added that they'll all leave with a passion for taking good care of it.

"I feel that when people develop a greater appreciation for their public lands, they will cherish them more deeply," Csenge said. "That will lead to improvements in conservation awareness, as well as utilization."

Amazing Earthfest will be held from Sunday through May 18. In addition to the outdoor pursuits, five concerts are scheduled, two of which will feature classical music. The concerts are some of the only activities that require a ticket purchase, and the proceeds are used to help fund Amazing Earthfest.

In planning the lineup of activities, Csenge said, the goal is to make them thought-provoking. There are classes and demonstrations, screenings of 15 documentaries on conservation topics, and a daily schedule of walks and hikes for people of all ages and abilities. Some routes are challenging, expedition-style hikes to remote locations, he said, but visitors can also stay in town.

"We're featuring the Kanab City trail system," he said. "That a city like Kanab, a small city, can have such immediate access to high-quality hiking opportunities is remarkable."

It's also a boost for the local economy, said Phil Hanceford, an attorney for The Wilderness Society and advisory committee member for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. People come from across the country to spend an entire week in Kanab and neighboring areas, he said.

"That's what's so great about this festival every year," he said. "It's a celebration of not just southwestern Utah and the public lands, but really the Colorado Plateau."

More information is available from the Kane County Office of Tourism at 800-SEE-KANE (800-733-5263) or amazingearthfest.com.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - CO