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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) \u2014 Visits to U.S. national parks set a record in 2016 for the third consecutive year as landmarks such Zion, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain experienced historic levels of popularity that brought collateral headaches stemming from overcrowded roads and trails and increasing visitor misbehavior.

At many parks, visitors waited an hour or more in cars to get through entrance gates and then spent the day trying to outmaneuver fellow visitors for parking spots and room on popular trails. They left behind enormous amounts of trash and sometimes, human waste.

Encountering a crowded, Disneyland-like situation when people were expecting peaceful serenity can lead to aggression and bad decisions, park officials said.

\"The level of frustration, we've certainly seen an increase in that,\" said Kyle Patterson, Rocky Mountain National park spokeswoman. \"Sometimes they take it out on each other and sometimes they take it out on park.

It created a good news-bad news story for park managers. They praise the increased interest but are struggling to preserve iconic mountains, slot canyons and wildlife habitat for future generations. The National Park Service budget has remained basically the flat, leaving parks to grapple with the problems without higher staffing levels.

\"We love having people come to the park,\" said John Marciano, Zion National Park spokesman. \"But our No. 1 goal, our mandate, is to preserve the park into perpetuity and to ensure our visitors have a best of kind and safe experience.\"

Overall visitation to national parks is on track to surpass 325 million in 2016, breaking the all-time high of 307 million set in 2015, federal figures show. The record-breaking three-year stretch came after parks visitation ebbed and flowed between 255-287 million for nearly three decades.

The National Park Service launched a major marketing campaign to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2016, including free passes for every fourth-grader and their families. That renewed attention coupled with reasonable gas prices and an improved economy likely fueled the increase, said National Parks Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson.

The agency's \"Find Your park \" campaign will continue this year and officials expect to surpass 300 million visitors again even if there's no record, Olson said.

Absent December totals, the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona hit 5.9 million visits. Yellowstone, which stretches into Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, had 4.3 million visits.

The final year tally for Rocky Mountain in Colorado was 4.5 million. Zion in southern Utah had 4.3 million visitors \u2014 nearly double the 2010 total.

Cramming all those people into the narrow confines of Zion where most visitors want to see the same iconic slot canyons and trails has led many days to hour-long waits to get in the park, lots that fill up by 9 a.m. and crowded shuttles, Marciano said.

\"Then, you hike like ducks in a row up the trail because there are so many going up the same trail,\" Marciano said. \"That's not what we want.\"

One employee spent her entire summer hiking every day to the popular Angels Landing trail to clean and put more toilet paper in two portable toilets designed for 40 visits daily that had 200, he said.

Both Zion and Yellowstone are reassessing how to create better crowd plans and Zion is considering a reservation system for park entries and a daily visitor limit.

Even though it is prohibited, more people are taking dogs on trails in the Rocky Mountain park. Visitors are also parking cars on native vegetation or fragile alpine tundra and leaving human waste right near backcountry trails, Patterson said.

This summer, the park on certain days for the first time limited the number of cars allowed on two popular roads, she said.

After Yellowstone hit 4 million visitors for the time in 2015, park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said the park last year the \"Yellowstone Pledge\" urging visitors to follow guidelines that include not stopping on the side of the road to look at bears and staying on boardwalks. A man who stepped off a boardwalk died last year after falling into a boiling, acidic spring.

Yellowstone has also implored visitors to take \"safe selfies\" by staying far away from wild animals.

\"That want that perfect picture so they're driven to get closer and closer to the point they're risking their own safety,\" Warthin said.

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SAN BARTOLOME DE PINARES, Spain (AP) \u2014 Once every winter, thick smoke begins to swallow up the houses in this village in the barren lands of Avila, northwest of Madrid. It means the town's bonfire festival honoring St. Anthony the Abbot has begun.

The music of a small bagpipe and a drum drift through the gloom. Then comes the clack of hooves on the cobblestone street. Suddenly, the flames roar up and horses and riders emerge to begin leaping through the flames.

St. Anthony the Abbot is the patron saint of domestic animals, and some townspeople say the celebration dates back five centuries to when the plague was fought with Roman Catholic rituals that used the smoke for purification.

San Bartolome de Pinares has kept its \"luminarias\" festival alive with religious intensity and unswerving pride, fending off criticism from animal rights groups.

When agriculture was far more important, mules and donkeys also were led past the bonfires in a purifying ritual. Now, horses are the only animals used.

In recent years, tourists, journalists and photography aficionados have put attention on the ritual, which has come under attack from animal rights groups.

\"There is no logic in forcing these animals into a stressful situation against their own nature,\" said Juan Ignacio Codina, one of the most vocal critics of the \"luminarias\" festival. \"In the midst of the 21st century, this is something from a bygone era. There is no superstition or belief that should justify an act of such cruelty.\"

Codina's group, Observatory of Justice and Animal Defense, contends the \"luminarias\" break regional and national laws of animal protection and public entertainment shows and it filed a complaint with the regional government in 2013.

The government of Castille and Leon, the region where San Bortolome sits, replied that veterinarians sent by authorities couldn't find any injuries on the horses from the bonfires.

\"Not one burn, not even one harmed horse,\" said the mayor, Maria Jesus Martin, who insists that no horse is forced to jump over the frames.

\"It makes me angry to hear the insults without those speaking knowing anything at all about the tradition,\" she said. \"They call us stubborn, hicks. They have even openly called on social media to throw me, the mayor, into the bonfire.\"

Still, some in the village of 600 people think it would be better to return to a more moderate version of the festival. They say branches of pine and shrub for the bonfires used to arrive in small quantities on the backs of donkeys, but now the fuel is hauled in by trucks and the bonfires are much bigger and the smoke thicker.

Some people also would like to see a halt to the controversial jumping of the bonfires, since the original tradition only envisioned purifying the animals by walking them around \u2014 and not over \u2014 the flames.

"}, {"id":"630f7a59-70e2-51ab-bced-f8e11063365d","type":"article","starttime":"1484604274","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-16T15:04:34-07:00","lastupdated":"1484606732","priority":0,"sections":[{"travel":"travel"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"I-80 lane closures continue in Reno for storm repairs","url":"http://tucson.com/travel/article_630f7a59-70e2-51ab-bced-f8e11063365d.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/travel/i--lane-closures-continue-in-reno-for-storm-repairs/article_630f7a59-70e2-51ab-bced-f8e11063365d.html","canonical":"http://news.lee.net/travel/i--lane-closures-continue-in-reno-for-storm-repairs/article_9ea51da8-50e2-5011-80be-b859b69601bb.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"RENO, Nev. (AP) \u2014 The flooding and snowstorms that battered northern Nevada last week have taken a toll on U.S. Interstate 80 in the Reno area.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","general news","travel","weather forecasts","lifestyle","weather","traffic","storms","floods","winter weather","construction and engineering","industrial products and services","business","transportation and shipping","transportation","accidents and disasters"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#ap"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"630f7a59-70e2-51ab-bced-f8e11063365d","body":"

RENO, Nev. (AP) \u2014 The flooding and snowstorms that battered northern Nevada last week have taken a toll on U.S. Interstate 80 in the Reno area.

The Nevada Department of Transportation says I-80 travelers should expect delays this week on the west side of town as crews work to repair potholes from the Keystone exit on the edge of downtown all the way to the California state line.

West-bound travel was reduced to one lane during emergency road work on Sunday.

The DOT says single-lane closures will continue at times in both directions. Speeds will be reduced to 55 mph and no passing will be allowed.

"}, {"id":"05334f69-79fa-5d04-800b-45c4bb88dc73","type":"article","starttime":"1484575200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-16T07:00:00-07:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"travel":"travel"}],"flags":{"ap":"true","spotlight":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"5 Beautiful Cities for a Valentine\u2019s Day Getaway","url":"http://tucson.com/travel/article_05334f69-79fa-5d04-800b-45c4bb88dc73.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/travel/beautiful-cities-for-a-valentine-s-day-getaway/article_05334f69-79fa-5d04-800b-45c4bb88dc73.html","canonical":"http://news.lee.net/travel/beautiful-cities-for-a-valentine-s-day-getaway/article_bccae524-d8f8-11e6-9c26-5bfdc2fdc6b0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":6,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Cassie Sheets","prologue":"If you want to do something special for your significant other this Valentine\u2019s Day, an extended weekend trip in a romantic city is the perfect gift. Whether you\u2019re celebrating decades together, you\u2019re ready to pop the question, or this is your first Valentine\u2019s Day as a couple, these beautiful cities are full of romantic spots.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#ap"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"f3fe5f72-1e27-5cc0-b381-85159e7e8fe3","description":"(PROVIDED)","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"413","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/3f/f3fe5f72-1e27-5cc0-b381-85159e7e8fe3/5877d5c310b49.image.jpg?resize=620%2C413"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"67","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/3f/f3fe5f72-1e27-5cc0-b381-85159e7e8fe3/5877d5c310b49.image.jpg?resize=100%2C67"},"300": 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If you want to do something special for your significant other this Valentine\u2019s Day, an extended weekend trip in a romantic city is the perfect gift. Whether you\u2019re celebrating decades together, you\u2019re ready to pop the question, or this is your first Valentine\u2019s Day as a couple, these beautiful cities are full of romantic spots.

1) Charleston, SC

\"Charleston\"

(PROVIDED)

Charleston\u2019s historic antebellum houses, cobblestone streets, and Southern charm make this beautiful city the perfect Valentine\u2019s Day getaway. Take a Palmetto Carriage ride through downtown Charleston, see a show at Dock Street Theater, stroll under centuries old oak trees draped with Spanish moss in Battery Park, or drive to Sullivan\u2019s Island to watch the sunset. Downton Charleston has a bustling restaurant scene, with fresh from the dock seafood, high-end steakhouses, and casual outdoor cafes to suit any taste and budget. Charleston\u2019s numerous boutique hotels and inns are the most romantic places to spend a long weekend.

Check out Charleston lodging options.

2) Sedona, AZ

\"Sedona\"

(PROVIDED)

The scenic city of Sedona is known for its surreal red rock formations, gorgeous hiking spots, boutique shopping, art scene, and restaurants. Nature loving couples can spend their Valentine\u2019s Day hiking through the breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon. Book an evening with professional astronomers at Sedona Star Gazing, or see the city from above in a hot air balloon. Sedona is also packed with day spas, winery tours, and art galleries. Visit the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village for outdoor shopping clustered between a collection of Spanish-style buildings, or stroll through The Gallery District for more restaurants and world-class galleries. Affordable and mid-range hotels as well as luxury resorts are available for travelers.\u00a0

Check out Sedona lodging options.

3) Napa Valley, CA

\"Napa

(PROVIDED)

What could be more romantic than vineyard tours and wine tastings on Valentine\u2019s Day? The town of Napa is the most cosmopolitan in the 35-mile-long Napa Valley, and boasts a walkable downtown with shops, restaurants, and over 200 wineries. For foodies, the tiny town of Yountville is a must, with restaurants by Thomas Keller, Bob Hurley, and more. Soak in the hot springs in Calistoga, or shop chic boutiques in St. Helena. Travelers have their pick of budget friendly hotels, five-star resorts, and unique bed and breakfasts. With a handful of quaint towns surrounded by gorgeous scenery, a romantic getaway to Napa Valley is the perfect way to spend Valentine\u2019s Day.\u00a0

Check out Napa Valley lodging options.

4) Naples, FL

\"Naples\"

(PROVIDED)

Escape the cold this Valentine\u2019s Day with a beautiful beach vacation in Naples. Watch the sun set along the warm gulf waters, enjoy a sailing trip, or stroll through an ancient cypress forest in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. For shopping, dining, and nightlife, hit Fifth Avenue South. Naples also boasts dozens of spas where you can relax together with a couples massage. Book a room at a luxury resort just steps away from the beach, or plan a budget friendly getaway at an affordable hotel.

Check out lodging options in Naples.

5) Nashville, TN

\"Nashville\"

(PROVIDED)

Nashville is the idea city for music lovers on Valentine\u2019s Day. With over 150 live music venues, couples are sure to find something they love. Start with a stroll down Broadway, called Honky Tonk Highway for the dozens of clubs and lounges that line each side of the street. On Lower Broadway, you\u2019ll find more live music and drinks, and a turn onto 2nd Avenue will place you in the middle of the city\u2019s best blues and jazz clubs. Buy tickets for a concert at the Ryman Auditorium, or see a show at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Nashville is also packed with art galleries, boutique shopping, and restaurants. Couples will find a range of great dining options, from hip brunch spots to barbecue joints. Travelers can book a room at affordable, mid-range, and luxury hotels in the middle of all the action.

Check out Nashville lodging options.

"}, {"id":"8d5a7a48-0f8c-5c26-9bb3-b77f4ed34524","type":"article","starttime":"1484544230","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-15T22:23:50-07:00","lastupdated":"1484546484","priority":0,"sections":[{"travel":"travel"},{"world":"news/world"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Inspired by Nepalese, UK architect rebuilds ancient temple","url":"http://tucson.com/travel/article_8d5a7a48-0f8c-5c26-9bb3-b77f4ed34524.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/travel/inspired-by-nepalese-uk-architect-rebuilds-ancient-temple/article_8d5a7a48-0f8c-5c26-9bb3-b77f4ed34524.html","canonical":"http://news.lee.net/travel/inspired-by-nepalese-uk-architect-rebuilds-ancient-temple/article_3b5681fb-94b9-5908-bd79-91f38e60be3d.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":7,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By MARTHA MENDOZA\nAssociated Press","prologue":"CHANGU NARAYAN, Nepal (AP) \u2014 When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last year, villagers in Changu Narayan ran up the steep rocky path that cuts through their town to their renowned temple. Seeing the piles of rubble, they figured their lives were over.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","general news","travel","lifestyle","2015 nepal earthquake","property damage","accidents and disasters","hinduism","natural disasters","cultural preservation","events","religion","social affairs","cultures"],"internalKeywords":["#lee","#ap"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"88df5070-6fc4-5bc2-bd91-3a249e9c0d64","description":"In this Nov. 22, 2016 photo, a Nepalese policeman rests in front of Changu Narayan, a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, at Changu Village, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) east of Kathmandu, Nepal. Less than two years after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake damaged the 5th century temple, the community is cleaning up their World Heritage site themselves and British architect John Sanday, who led the World Monuments Fund restoration of Cambodia\u2019s Angkor Wat, has taken on the recovery as his pet project. 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CHANGU NARAYAN, Nepal (AP) \u2014 When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last year, villagers in Changu Narayan ran up the steep rocky path that cuts through their town to their renowned temple. Seeing the piles of rubble, they figured their lives were over.

Less than two years later, the community is cleaning up their World Heritage Site themselves, and one of the world's leading architects has taken on the recovery as his pet project.

\"I see now our world coming back alive,\" said Gyan Bahadur Bhadal, 61, one of many villagers who share responsibility for the temple's upkeep.

In a country where locals say there are more gods than people and more temples than houses, Changu Narayan still manages to stand out among the ancient holy places. It's believed to be the oldest Hindu place of worship in the country, its wooden walls intricately carved with hundreds of deities, perched atop a steep hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley.

The 5th century temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who locals say appeared there once. His image, in about a dozen incarnations, is carved into struts that hold up the roof. Stone lions with eagle heads guard the doors. Inside has long been a mystery: Only priests enter the two-tiered pagoda, and they don't explore.

An April 2015 temblor that killed 9,000 people in Nepal also damaged details in Changu Narayan's wood, stone and metal. A sharp aftershock one day later twisted the entire structure, knocking piles of bricks out of the walls, filling the courtyard.

Anish Bhatta's family has been living and leading worship at the temple for 10 generations \u2014 some 325 years. After the earthquake, Anish did the unthinkable: He went all the way inside.

\"We saw things we never imagined,\" he said. \"Statues as big as me, swords, so many sculptures, gold plated with big gems.\"

Today the temple is guarded by military police, and propped up with questionable temporary beams.

British architect John Sanday, who led the World Monuments Fund restoration of Cambodia's Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, fell in love with the place decades ago. After the earthquake, he came up the Changu path with trepidation.

\"I was very emotional walking into this place. The whole of the courtyard was littered with rubble. I thought, 'Come on, John, you've got to pull yourself together,'\" he recalled.

But then Sanday noticed wooden supports exposed by the missing brick. He saw what looked like a bedrock foundation. And he decided that of the 600 historical temples, monuments and palaces damaged by the earthquake in Nepal, this one would be his project.

\"Sure, it's peanuts, a little temple, so why is it so special?\" said Sanday. \"The detail. The grace. It's one of the few World Heritage Sites that hasn't been completely destroyed by development.\"

But what really drew him to step in as technical adviser were the people of this village.

Among tourists and pilgrims, Changu Narayan's residents pray there at dusk, kneel at the deities, bow to the gods, offer alms to the priests who stand duty at the door.

Three people died and 100 homes were damaged in Changu Village, a 30-minute drive from downtown Kathmandu, during the earthquake. Like families in the city 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) away, the Changu community grieved, cried and cleaned up rubble.

But in the hilltop village the community did something else: With rags and water, little picks and brushes, they cleaned the ancient and exotic carved brackets and facades, cleaning and repairing, bit by bit, so they could resume their worship. Now Sanday says their dedication is his inspiration. He will not allow their culture to disappear with the damaged building.

Conserving an ancient building means solving a series of incredibly complicated puzzles. Rotted or mice-chewed timbers must be replaced. An unstable and stretched government bureaucracy must remain in charge. And there's $300,000 to raise.

For starters, with $30,000 of German support, he helped the community rebuild one of Changu's shrines, the size of a little guardhouse. Now he's looking at the larger temple a few yards away.

\"This is a place we can save, no doubt,\" said Sanday. \"The people here will make sure of that.\"

"} ]