UPCOMING UTAH STATE PARKS EVENTS
March 27 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Snow Canyon Family Adventure Night Series (F.A.N.S.) - Wildlife Detectives:
Discover which animals live in the park and how to decipher clues they leave behind from 5 to 7 p.m. During this program, take a short hike in the desert, then make your own wildlife track t-shirt. This program is free with payment of $5 park entrance fee. Participants interested in making a wildlife track t-shirt must supply their own clean t-shirt. Space is limited and registration is required. This program is recommended for families with children between the ages of six and 12; please call to discuss program suitability for younger children. For more information, call (435) 628-2255.
March 31 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Discover Goblin Valley: Join the park naturalist for an evening walk through the goblins beginning at 8 p.m. at the Observation Point shelter. Find out how the goblins came to be, and who lurks around in the night! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 1 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Junior Ranger Program: Wind and Water Power! Find out how erosion affects the goblins and how the desert deals with change. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Observation Point shelter. The program is geared toward children six to 12, but everyone is invited. Become a Junior Ranger and earn a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.
Later that same day, meet visiting naturalist Wendy Wilson at 9 p.m. at the Observation Point shelter. Ever sit out under the stars at night and wonder what's up there? Or come up with your own stories of the pictures in the sky? Come and learn about the many stories of light in our night sky. For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 1 - May 31 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Art Exhibit: Brigham City artist Jode Sutton displays oil paintings at the visitor center art gallery. For more information, please call (801) 725-9263.
April 1 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Junior Ranger Program: Join park staff at 2 p.m. to learn how sheep were sheared and wool was processed on Antelope Island. For more information call (801) 649-5742.
April 1 Palisade State Park Golf Course - Sterling
Palisade Golf Course: Icebreaker golf tournament for Association Members only beginning at 9:30 am. Course is open to the general public before 9:30 a.m. and after 11 a.m. For registration or tee times, call (435) 835-4653.
April 1 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Birds of Spring: Enjoy a taste of spring and discover the birds of Snow Canyon State Park as Wildlife Biologist Rick Fridell leads a 1.5-mile roundtrip bird watching hike from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information, please call (435) 628-2255.
Young Artists Honored at Annual Water Education Awards Banquet
What: 21st Annual Water Education Awards Banquet
Announcement of the Grand Prize winner
Event is sponsored by the Utah Division of Water Resources
Who: 11 finalists of the Young Artists' Water Education Poster Contest
Utah Division of Water Resources officials
When: 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
(Poster Contest Winners Reception from 7:00-7:20 p.m.)
Where: Gail Benjamin Aquarium Experience
32 North Rio Grande
Why: This year marks the 21st year for the contest. Every 4th grade student in the state is invited to participate. All entries receive a certificate of participation. The entrants were divided into 11 geographical groups based on the 11 hydrologic basins of the state. The 11 basin winners were invited to attend the banquet. They will each receive a trophy and $150 savings bond. Also, their schools will receive a check for $125 and a plaque. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive a week stay on Lake Powell on a houseboat, provided by Aramark Leisure Services.
"The participants this year really seemed to understand the water cycle and where they fit into it," said Rick Webster, Water Education Coordinator.
Fishing On the Edge (of the Ice, That Is!)
Ice is melting on Utah's lower elevation reservoirs, and that means one thing for anglers who like to fish for trout from the shore-it's time to break out the fishing poles and head for the water. Some of the best fishing of the year is here!
"Ice-off is a great time to fish, especially for trout," says Ron Stewart, conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "Just as soon as you see a span of open water, it's fishing time. I've caught some fairly large fish in less than two feet of water.
"Another great thing about fishing ice-off is the angler can begin fishing the lower elevation reservoirs and then move up in elevation as the weather warms and melts out the mountain lakes and streams. This provides several months of great fishing."
Stewart says trout and other species of fish often cruise just under the edge of the ice. "My guess is the fish are attracted to the light and are just hoping for insects or other forage to melt out and drop in," he says. "Fish cruising along the edge [of the ice] are probably hungry, which gives the angler an advantage."
The ice edge will show you where to fish; the next step is to figure out what the fish are looking for.
Giving the Fish What They Want
"I've had good luck using small, brightly-colored lures," Stewart says. "Yellows, reds, oranges and chartreuse seem to work well.
"I've also done fly-fishing using small, black artificial flies or mayfly imitations on lakes and streams. I think the black fly looked like a large black ant, which I've seen crawling around on the ice and rocks on many a mountain lake.
"Baits, like nightcrawlers, will also work well."
Stewart says he's not sure the color you use matters much as long as the water is clear. "Often the trick seems to be in the placement of the lure and the depth and speed of retrieval," he says.
Stewart says anglers should cast their bait, lure or fly right to the edge of the ice. "Baits can be suspended just below the surface by using a bubble or allowed to go to the bottom, where they can be suspended by a marshmallow or floating bait," he says. "Vary your casts, some traveling parallel to the edge and others coming from or going to the edge. Another trick is to cast parallel to the bank.
"Try retrieving the lure slowly, but still fast enough to give it some action. Remember these fish are cold-blooded and have slowed down, due to the cold water."
Stewart says you can vary the depth at which you fish by letting your lure hit the water and then varying the number of seconds that you let the lure sink before you retrieve it. "Sometimes the fish are just under the surface, so you would want to start the retrieval immediately," he says. "Other times, they are a few feet below or all the way down to the bottom. By waiting for a few seconds after your lure strikes the water, you can vary the depth. Try a variety of depths. You can keep track of your depth by counting off the seconds."
Fishing on the edge of the ice does require some precautions.
"Go prepared for the weather," Stewart says. "Weather in the mountains can always change quite suddenly, especially in the spring. I've seen it go from bright and sunny to a blizzard in less than an hour. This isn't a reason to stay home; just be prepared by bringing extra clothes, food and water. Also, know what can be used as a shelter, like a tent or car, and bring along blankets or a sleeping bag.
"Another consideration is the roads," he says. "Being the first one to fish a lake or stream isn't a good reason to rip up a road. Every year land management agencies in Utah spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair ruts in roads. Just think of how much more could have been done if that money was spent managing the resource."
Weekly Fishing Reports
For information about the best places to fish this spring, read the weekly fishing report at the DWR's Web site ( http://wildlife.utah.gov/fishing ) or call the nearest DWR office.
Time Running Out to Help Nongame Wildlife
If you care about songbirds, river otters and other nongame wildlife, there's still a few days left to help them.
Just write in the proper code on your 2005 Utah State Income Tax form and donate the amount you want to give to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund before the tax deadline on April 17.
The code for the fund is 01. The code and dollar amount you want to give can be written on any line between 21a - 21f on the tax form. Then write your total contribution on line 21.
If you've already filed your taxes, there's an additional way you can give Utah's nongame wildlife some much-needed help.
Nongame Wildlife Need Funding
"Most Utahns don't realize it, but hunters and anglers provide almost all of the funding to manage wildlife in Utah," said Greg Sheehan, Administrative Services Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "They provide this funding when they purchase hunting and fishing licenses and pay special taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Because most of the money we receive comes from sportsmen, it's used almost entirely to benefit wildlife that people can hunt or fish for."
Sheehan says the money received through the nongame tax checkoff is used entirely to help wildlife for which people don't hunt or fish. "For people who care about nongame wildlife, the tax checkoff is a convenient and easy way to help," he said.
How Nongame Wildlife Money is Used
Last year, Utah taxpayers gave $23,964 to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund. The funds were used to support several important programs that benefit nongame wildlife.
The DWR's nongame avian program uses the money to fund surveys of raptor and songbird populations in Utah. The management decisions biologists make through the information they obtain helps ensure birds as common as yellow warblers and American robins, and as rare as peregrine falcons and yellow-billed cuckoos, will thrive for years to come.
The DWR has also used the money to learn how much habitat is available in Utah to support Mexican spotted owls. Biologists have developed this habitat model using GIS technology and results from nearly 15 years spent surveying owls in Utah's remote canyons.
Biologists in the DWR's nongame mammals program use these contributions to help endangered and sensitive species. Through their work, river otters now live in southern Utah, a black-footed ferret population is being established in the northeastern part of the state and important information is being gathered about pygmy rabbits and prairie dogs.
"We appreciate every dollar we receive from Utah taxpayers," said Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the DWR. "The more funding we receive, the more we can do to help these animals and keep them off the federal Endangered Species list."
If You've Already Filed Your Taxes
If you've already filed your taxes, there's still a way to help. The DWR accepts donations for nongame wildlife throughout the year. These donations can be sent to Division of Wildlife Resources, P.O. Box 146301, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84114-6301. Please indicate, either on the check or on a note attached to the check, that the money is for Utah's Nongame Wildlife Fund.
"We encourage everyone who wants to help Utah's nongame wildlife to donate," Sheehan said. "It's a great way to get a good feeling during tax time or anytime during the year."
Prairie Dog Hunt Closure Starts April 1
Many hunters may not be aware that prairie dogs cannot be hunted in Utah during certain times of the year. Just like game animals, prairie dogs now have "open" and "closed" seasons.
And two prairie dogs populations in the state-white-tailed prairie dogs that live in Coyote Basin in northeastern Utah and Utah prairie dogs-may not be hunted anytime of the year.
Season Closed April 1 - June 15
From April 1 to June 15, prairie dog hunting is prohibited on all of the public lands in Utah. Hunting is still allowed on private lands, however.
This closure protects prairie dogs during the season when they're breeding and raising their young. This closure helps prairie dogs reproduce successfully and helps ensure the survival of the young prairie dogs that are born.
After June 15, hunting is permitted only for white-tailed and Gunnison's prairie dogs. The threatened Utah prairie dog is protected year-round by the Endangered Species Act and may not be hunted anytime of the year.
The population of white-tailed prairie dogs in the Coyote Basin portion of northeastern Utah is also protected year-round and may not be hunted. The white-tailed prairie dogs in Coyote Basin are a prey base for black-footed ferrets, which are another federally protected species that live in the area.
Prairie Dogs in Utah
Utah prairie dogs occur in southwestern Utah. Gunnison's prairie dogs are found east of the Colorado River. White-tailed prairie dogs are found in various areas in the state.
Surprisingly, all of the prairie dog species have suffered dramatic population declines in the last hundred years. Some research suggests prairie dog populations have declined by as much as 98 percent since the late 1800s. The destruction and fragmentation of the prairie dog's habitat is thought to be the greatest reason for the decline, although disease and drought have also contributed to the species' plight.
President Bush Commemorates National Hunting and Fishing Day
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--It's not everyday, or even every year or decade, when the leader of the free world pauses from his daily travails long enough to give hunters and anglers a pat on the back.
But it happened this year.
America's first sportsman, President George W. Bush, has released a video address commemorating the 35th anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day, set for Sept. 23.
In the short video, Bush thanks hunters and anglers for their leadership in conservation.
He adds, "As in many families, my parents introduced me to the outdoors, and my dad is one of my best hunting and fishing partners. Hunting and fishing are a good way to pass on to our children and grandchildren our respect for the splendor of America and the importance of conservation."
That message also is the central theme at Wonders of Wildlife--Springfield, Missouri's state-of-the-art National Fish and Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, the home of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Bush acknowledges Wonders of Wildlife as the hub of a new effort to restore the federally recognized holiday to its early glory as the most successful sporting campaign in American history.
The four-minute video can be viewed online at http://www.nhfday.org .
"We're gratified that President Bush recognizes the successful history and vital future of hunting and fishing in our country's conservation movement. And we're deeply honored that he has taken the time to say so," said Tony Schoonen, Wonders of Wildlife executive director.
Wonders of Wildlife is the only hunting- and fishing-focused facility that's both affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Partners in the National Hunting and Fishing Day renaissance include the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which founded the annual commemoration, The Outdoor Channel, Bass Pro Shops, Realtree, Woolrich, "Outdoor Life," "Field & Stream," and the National Wild Turkey Federation. More partners are expected to come on board to help unify America's hunters and anglers into the cohesive force that hallmarked early years of the celebration.
Country music star Tracy Byrd has been named honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day 2006. Byrd also served that role in 2005.
National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by NSSF to celebrate the conservation successes of hunters and anglers. From shopping center exhibits to statewide expos, millions of citizens learned to appreciate America's sportsman-based system of conservation funding. That system now generates more than $1.7 billion per year, benefiting all who appreciate wildlife and wild places.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is observed on the fourth Saturday of every September
Utah Anglers Coalition sets Meeting
The next meeting of the Utah Anglers Coalition will be Wednesday,
March 22, 2006, 4:00 p.m., at the Department of Natural Resources,
1594 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, Room 1060.
* * * * *
UAC show booth - Thanks very much to Scott Harvey and everyone from
our organizations who contributed to making our booth at the ISE show
a success. We talked to a lot of people and gave away about 400
flyers on DWR funding issues.
* * * * *
Thanks to the UAC organizations who contributed to Brett Prettyman's
Reel Recovery Auction on March 5.
* * * * *
Guests: Aquatics Chief Walt Donaldson and Sportfisheries Coordinator
- Short presentation from Sandy City on proposed community fishery
- Expenses for ISE Show booth
- UAC DWR Employee of the Year award.
- Feedback and lessons learned on ISE show booth
Avalanche Awareness Presentation scheduled
An avalanche awareness presentation has been scheduled for Wednesday March 29, 2006 7-9 p.m., sponsored by Snowbasin Patrol, USFS Utah Avalanche Center, Weber Co. Sheriff Search and Rescue. Join them for a general presentation on avalanche safety and an open discussion on Forest Service boundary policy and recent backcountry incidents.
The event is scheduled at the Grandview Acres Clubhouse, located at 3796 Quincy Ave. in Ogden. Light refreshments will be served.