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SALT LAKE CITY — Calling it an "adventurer's dream," Utah has been singled out among the best in the world adventure destinations by National Geographic magazine.
Utah's five national parks — Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Zion — and eight national monuments are top attractions, but the magazine also lifted up Utah's "efforts to direct tourists to lesser-known areas to combat overtourism," such as Dead Horse Point and Goblin Valley state parks, CNN.com reported.
"Outdoor recreation is a cash cow for Utah. It contributes more than $6.4 billion to the economy, employs more than 83,000 people, and generates $737 million in state and local tax revenues," said Stephanie Pearson, in National Geographic magazine. Pearson is author of National Geographic's "100 Great American Parks."
"These efforts will keep Utah's outdoor industry booming, while protecting fragile ecosystems," Pearson said.
The four other destinations selected best in the world for adventure were the Austrian Alps; New Zealand; Revillagigedo Archipelago National Park, Mexico; and Choquequirao, an Incan site in southern Peru.
The magazine calls them "five places that offer adrenaline-soaked adventures in 2023 and beyond."
National Geographic's annual list of 25 inspiring and less visited destinations has five categories: adventure, nature, family, culture and community.
"These 25 destinations for 2023 are under the radar, ahead of the curve, and ready for you to start exploring," the article states.
National Geographic points out the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation's grant program that helps fund new initiatives throughout the state such as the Zion National Park Forever Project.
Other notable projects that received grants were a bike path in the Provo River gorge; an observation tower at the Tracy Aviary's Jordan Nature Center, a birding site on the west side of Salt Lake City; and riparian restoration in the Helper City area, the magazine reported.