Molly Marcello

Addressing Social Determinants Of Health In Utah

Apr 7, 2021
Courtesy Kolby Williams/Moab Free Health Clinic

You can find the Moab Free Health Clinic between a corner store and a thrift shop on Moab’s west side of town. This unassuming building has become a mainstay for the local community. Hundreds and hundreds of uninsured and underinsured rural Utahns pass through its doors each year to access care from staff and medical volunteers. 

Courtesy Glen Canyon Institute

On the lower portion of Cataract Canyon, river runner Pete Lefebvre navigates a boat through Rapid 29 aka ‘The Chute.’ This video, taken in 2015, shows a dynamic river, giant muddy waves are toppling over the boat and Lefebvre’s passengers are gripping its side.

Molly Marcello, KZMU

At the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, it’s been unusually quiet this spring. Moab shut the door to visitors for six long weeks during what is usually the busiest time of year. The town is still not fully open, and many locals are dealing with continued unemployment and financial insecurity. All around tensions are high.  

Molly Marcello, KZMU



When the staff at Moab Regional Hospital began modeling future COVID-19 patient surges, they didn’t like what they saw. If a rural community like Moab encountered multiple points of infection from visitors, let’s say just four asymptomatic people carrying coronavirus-- 


Moab 'Closed' To Visitors

Mar 18, 2020
Molly Marcello, KZMU

Southeast Utah Health Department. officials made several firm decisions this week to slow the spread of novel coronavirus in Moab, a region that sees heavy use from visitors around the world.  

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Utahans now have access to real-time tracking of wildlife migration across the state via a new public website. 

Riders on the Slickrock bike trail in Moab
Molly Marcello

After pressure from elected officials including Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the Bureau of Land Management dropped plans to auction off two parcels for oil and gas leasing near Arches National Park. The parcels overlapped the famed Slickrock Bike Trail and Moab’s sole source aquifer.

Bill Would Create New State Park In Utah

Feb 19, 2020
Ken Lund,

A bill recently introduced to the Utah statehouse revealed more details on a new state park proposal in the Moab area. The legislation would appropriate $10 million for the creation of Utahraptor State Park, roughly 15 miles north of Arches National Park.  

Molly Marcello, KZMU

Elected officials in Moab City and Grand County are now united in opposition to proposed oil and gas leasing in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Both councils passed resolutions asking the Utah Bureau of Land Management to remove two nominated parcels from a June oil and gas lease sale.  

Steve Ross

When a rare black, melanistic deer nicknamed “Coal” by Moab locals was reported dead in a resident’s backyard in December, state wildlife officials wanted to investigate.

Red rocks in Southern Utah against a blue sky.
Steven Martin,

After nearly one year of putting new overnight accommodation development on pause, Grand County is now officially accepting applications subject to new and rigorous standards.

Mayor Emily Niehaus and Developer Mike Bynum speak at a development conference in Moab.
Molly Marcello, KZMU

Moab’s elected officials are looking for solutions to an imbalance in their local economy, specifically when it comes to unparalleled growth in overnight accommodations. According to officials, hotels and motels are pricing out other commercial or residential development.

Molly Marcello

It took years of careful persistence from Moab-based experts and residents, but Utah’s Water Quality Board is now changing state rules on graywater. Soon property owners could see more options – and less cost – when it comes to re-using their shower and laundry water for outside landscaping. Molly Marcello from KZMU community radio in Moab tells us more.

Moab's Famous Slickrock Bike Trail Turns 50

Oct 22, 2019
Molly Marcello

It’s 8 am on a bright, sunny morning at Sand Flats Recreation Area. Dozens of mountain bikes and motorbikes line the parking area of the Slickrock Bike Trail as their owners sip cowboy coffee and down freshly made pancakes.

Molly Marcello

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a long-anticipated report showing 30 to 40 percent less groundwater in Moab than previously estimated. Scientists spent years collecting data from wells, springs and streams to better understand groundwater resources throughout the Spanish Valley watershed.

Imagine it’s 1951. You’re eight years old, living in the then-sleepy town of St. George Utah. You’re in school and your teacher has just walked you and your entire class to the playground. Because something is happening outside. Something big, and the whole school has gathered to see it.

Ken Lund / Flickr

Moab City and Grand County passed separate but similar ordinances intended to “pump the brakes” on overnight accommodations. The legislative bodies were each nearing the end of a six-month moratorium on new overnight lodging, and they opted to ban the businesses in code.

Tourism - And Vandalism - Are On The Rise In Utah

Jul 16, 2019
Molly Marcello

It’s early morning at Sand Flats Recreation Area as a small group of people makes their way over sandstone and brush. Usually, visitors to Sand Flats bring their mountain bikes or off-road vehicles. They’re recreators in search of the internationally famous trails over slick rock. But this particular group of people - walking with notebooks and sturdy shoes - is searching out something else.

Molly Marcello

Moab Charter School’s sixth graders are busy rehearsing their original opera, titled Arachne’s Revenge. The students wrote this drama themselves, learning how to create librettos and fully embody their characters onstage. The kids are proud of their work, which includes many different types of creative arts including storytelling, acting, music, and movement. 

Flickr - Ken Lund

Moab recently earned the distinction of being the most stressed out city in Utah. This according to Zippia, a career resource site for people looking for new jobs. Zippia used U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data to rank stressed-cities across the country. They factored in issues like unemployment, home price to income ratio and the percentage of uninsured people. 

Grand County is not alone in the desire for flexibility when it comes to spending their Transient Room Tax revenue (TRT). A recent legislative audit revealed Utah’s counties – especially those near National Parks – want more of their TRT revenue to fund mitigation efforts associated with tourism, not more promotion. To do so would require a change in state code. 

Molly Marcello

It’s early spring in southeastern Utah on a bright, cool day. About 30 people hunch over in the high desert, some squatting low to the ground, looking closely at piles of dirt. It’s the Green River Rock and Mineral Festival, and one of the field trips is observing the Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry. It’s one of the largest quarries in the United States, known to hold the remains of at least 15 different dinosaurs.

A Trip Down Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers

Mar 22, 2019
Molly Marcello

For 55 years, the waters of Lake Powell in Southeastern Utah have submerged Glen Canyon. Drowned with it are ancient features and sacred sites now known only to memory. For 55 years, legendary river runner Ken Sleight has thought about these places as he once knew them, when the river ran wild.

Molly Marcello

Winter weather may still be lingering in southeastern Utah, but signs of spring in Moab are slowly popping up. Deep greens of Colorado license plates appear in greater and greater numbers, just like the now-hiring posts plastered across local social media. As Moab braces for spring visitors, so does another community in Grand County, 60 miles northeast.

Molly Marcello


The Grand County Council effectively pressed the pause button on all new applications for overnight lodging. In a 6-0 bipartisan vote Tuesday, the council enacted a six-month moratorium on the applications effective immediately. Their decision garnered applause from a packed council chambers.

Molly Marcello



When you take a shower, wash the dishes, or do anything else that might require a drain, where does all that material go? Every flush in the Moab Valley now makes its way through the sewer system to a brand new, state of the art wastewater reclamation facility.

Fatal Accident At Mineral Mine In San Juan County

Nov 12, 2018

Two Moab area residents are dead after an industrial accident at the Intrepid Potash mine in San Juan County on Saturday. 

Molly Marcello

Mix together equal parts Mariachi music with some homemade chicken mole and pan de muerto, throw in brightly colored paper chains and kids hula hooping, then top it all off with whimsical sugar skulls and the spirits of your deceased loved ones. There you have it – the vibrant recipe for Moab’s Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration. 

Molly Marcello

Things are about to change in a big way – for tourists and locals alike. Moab’s city council passed a ban on the disposable bags last month, giving retailers until January 1 to comply with the new ordinance. 

Molly Marcello

The town of Castle Valley, Utah is situated 20 miles north of Moab, on a quiet stretch of road between the Colorado River, desert red rocks and alpine mountains. With just a few hundred residents and no commercial businesses, it’s usually pretty calm here. But not last weekend.