Dredging postponed at Willard Bay

Dredging of Willard Bay State Park South Marina is now postponed until fall due to sudden increases in water levels. Willard Bay Reservoir is at full capacity and is predicted to remain so until early August. For more information, call (435) 734-9494.
Large Spring Group Campsite opens

East Canyon State Park managers announce the opening of Large Spring Group Campsite. Large Spring is located on the unpaved Jeremy Ranch Road, accessible from the I-80 Jeremy Ranch Exit or from State Highway 65 Junction.

Facilities include tables, a fire pit, and vault toilets. The cost is $50 per night. Due to the pristine nature of the area and its historic significance, group sizes are limited to 25 people.

Situated along the historic Mormon Pioneer Trail, the site was used as a camp area by many pioneer wagon trains between 1847 and 1869 when the transcontinental railroad was completed. The area is home to an abundance of wildlife including moose, deer and elk.

For reservations, call 1 800-322-3770. For more information on the area, call (801) 829-6866.
Memorial Day Weekend Events scheduled

Plenty of great family opportunities await this weekend as Memorial Day activities get underway. Provided are a few nearby selections.

Wasatch Mountain State Park- (Near Midway (435) 654-1791)

Fri., May 27 Campfire Program - Our Wild Neighbors: Ever go camping and wonder who your wildlife neighbors are? Join the naturalist at 8:30 p.m. at the campground amphitheater for a presentation.

Sat., May 28 Junior Ranger Program - What is Water? From 11 a.m. to noon at the campground office, children six to 12 are invited to learn what it means to be a Junior Ranger, as well as other cool stuff about nature. Earn a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.

Sat., May 28 Campfire Program - Many Faces of Bats: How many species of bats are there? Are they helpful or harmful to humans? Learn the answers to these and many other bat myths at 9:30 p.m. at the campground amphitheater.

Jordanelle State Park / Rock Cliff Nature Center- (Near Francis (435) 782-3030)

Sat., May 28 Spring Celebration: Join the park naturalist for a spring celebration in honor of Wetlands Month. Events begin at 7 a.m. with a bird watching hike through the wetlands. At 10 a.m. join us at the Nature Center for the Hawks Up Close presentation. At 11a.m. kids age six to 10 can participate in the Junior Ranger program.

Camp Floyd- Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum- (Near Fairfield (801) 768-8932)

Sat., May 28 through Mon., May 30 Civil War Encampment: Walk through a Civil War encampment of 1861. Visit with re-enactors on issues at Camp Floyd and the war, listen to a fife and drum band, watch period firearm and cannon demonstrations, and a flag retirement.

Antelope Island State Park- Near Syracuse (801) 652-2043)

Sat., May 28 through Mon., May 30 Fielding Garr Ranch Celebration: Bring your picnic basket and blanket and celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at one of Utah's earliest ranches. On Sat. and Mon., from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., learn pioneer skills, and enjoy crafts and activities with your family. Play horseshoes, badminton and other games. Participants should bring a soup can, or similar to make their own pioneer lantern.

Sat., May 28 Bison Hike: Learn more about the American bison of the island while hiking Beacon Knob. This is a moderate seven-mile hike. Bring water, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen. Meet at White Rock Bay Trailhead at 11 a.m.

Sat., May 28 Wetlands Game Show: Participants must demonstrate their knowledge of wetland environments to compete for wacky prizes. Meet at the visitor center at 5 p.m.

Sun., May 29 Modern Day Mountain Man: Mountain men have long visited the Great Basin. Join modern day mountain man Ron Taylor for a skills demonstration and stories of the past. Meet at the visitor center at 1 p.m.

Sun., May 29 Great Salt Lake Sunsets: Thousands of people come to the shores of Great Salt Lake to watch the spectacular and colorful sunsets. Join the park naturalist for a short program and slideshow. Meet at the visitor center at 4 p.m.

Mon., May 30 Bird Watch By Kayak on Great Salt Lake: Join the park naturalist on a bird watching adventure focusing on shorebirds and waterfowl. Meet at the marina at 11 a.m. Registration is required, along with an additional fee for kayak rentals. To register, call (801) 721-9569.

Mon., May 30 John C. Fremont Presentation: Fremont named Antelope Island after pronghorn antelope that were taken for food from the island. Learn more about this man's life, explorations and achievements. Meet at the visitor center at 3 p.m.

Special Train rides awaits Children

Tickets are going fast for special children's train rides scheduled May 26-30. For a limited time, Thomas the Tank Engine TM will be offering 25 minute train rides for fans and their families along the historic Heber Valley Railroad route. Thomas is featured on the internationally popular Shining Time Station and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends children's television shows.

Thomas will operate throughout the day, with photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hatt the Controller of Thomas' Railway. Other fun activities include storytelling, live music, arts and crafts.

For more information contact the Heber Valley Railroad at (435) 654-5601. Tickets for a Day Out With ThomasTM are on sale at all Smith's Stores or through Smiths Tix at 1-800-888-8499. Ticket may also be purchased on-line at http://www.smithstix.com Tickets sell for $14 each, for riders ages 2 and up. Children under age 2 are admitted free

Period Extended to Comment on Strategy to Help Utah's Most Sensitive Wildlife

Utah residents have until now have 5 p.m. on May 25 to comment on a conservation strategy that will help fish, wildlife and wildlife habitat in Utah that are in the greatest need of help.

The 229-page Utah Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy may be reviewed at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov. It outlines specific wildlife conservation actions that may be taken through voluntary cooperation by interested partners in Utah over the next 10 years. It's goal is to prevent further federal listing of threatened and endangered species in Utah while sustaining the economic viability of the rural landscapes that support these species.

Dana Dolsen, strategy coordinator and wildlife planning manager for the DWR, commented, "This management framework must be in place in order for Utah to continue receiving State Wildlife Grant funds. These federal funds are appropriated annually by Congress and are given to states to help sensitive species and their habitats that are in trouble. It's vital that Utah continue receiving these funds because more species could be listed without the actions supported by these monies."

He continued, "The Utah Strategy Partners Group has worked hard on this strategy for more than two years, and now they're anxious for the DWR to incorporate constructive comments received from the public that will enhance the strategy's effectiveness. I would encourage everyone with an interest in Utah's wildlife, especially sensitive species, to review the draft strategy and provide their comments by May 25."

People Urged to View Newborn Wildlife From a Distance

Spring in full swing across Utah, and a new generation of wildlife is being born across the state. Whether it be ducks and geese at a nearby pond or deer and elk in the foothills, young wildlife are all around us.

While this abundance of newborn wildlife can lead to some special outdoor experiences, it can also lead to problems for the animals. This spring, Division of Wildlife Resources officials are urging people to view wildlife from a distance and to not handle or touch young wildlife.

"All too often people come across a fawn or calf that's been left alone, and they think it's been abandoned," commented Joe Nicholson, a DWR conservation officer in the Moab area. "An individual with good intentions might think they are helping such a fawn of calf by taking it
home or to a DWR office, but this is the worst thing you can do."

Nicholson says one of the most critical times for young deer or elk is the first few days after birth, which is a time when the newborns lack mobility. Deer fawns and elk calves are born without any scent, however, and they have a spotted pattern across their body. These two attributes protect the young animals by making it difficult for predators, including coyotes, mountain lions and black bears, to find them.

"During this time, it's not uncommon for mothers to stay a considerable distance away from their newborns, visiting them only to nurse a couple times each day," Nicholson noted. "After the first week of life young deer and elk are mobile enough to accompany their mothers, and by the time they start reaching two weeks age, they can outrun and outmaneuver the fastest person."

Nicholson comments that when people find a fawn or calf, they usually believe it's been orphaned, but that's usually not the case. "The mother is almost always close-by, often watching from a distance without you realizing it," he said. "The best thing you can do in this situation is exercise a 'hands-off approach' and leave the area without touching or approaching the animal."

True cases of abandoned wildlife are extremely rare, but if you know the mother has been killed (for example, hit by a vehicle) you should report the situation to the nearest DWR office or conservation officer.

The same "hands-off" approach also applies to baby birds. In spring, it's not uncommon for people to find baby birds that have fallen from their nests. Sometimes this is the result of bad weather or an accidental mishap on the part of the bird. If this is the case, and you can safely put the bird back in its nest, it's okay to do so. Any scent you leave behind will not deter the mother from caring for the baby bird.

However, many times the young bird is just exercising its first inclinations to fly. When young birds are learning to fly, they often spend time on the ground as they learn how to use their wings. During this time, the best thing you can do is leave the young bird alone and observe it from a distance.

Nicholson also reminds pet owners to control their pets. "One of the best things you can do for young wildlife in the spring is keep your pets restrained or indoors," he said. Pet cats kill countless birds and young mammals each year. Every year, DWR officers also respond to numerous reports of dogs chasing and killing deer and other wildlife. "Many people don't realize they can be held legally liable for the actions of pet dogs found pursuing, harassing, capturing or killing
wildlife in Utah," Nicholson said. "It is your responsibility to exercise reasonable preventative measures to stop your pets from harming wildlife."

Watching wildlife in the spring is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you watch robins raise a nest of chicks in your backyard or venture afield and come across a calf elk, you can help protect Utah's young wildlife this spring by watching from a distance. For more information about watching wildlife in Utah, contact your local DWR office or visit http://www.wildlife.utah.gov on the Web.
Apply for Antlerless Big Game Permits

Applications are now available to hunt cow elk, cow moose, doe deer and doe pronghorn antelope in Utah this fall. This should be a great year for young hunters to apply, since twenty percent of the antlerless elk, deer and pronghorn permits have been set aside for hunters who will be 18 years of age or younger on Aug. 20 (the beginning of this year's general archery buck deer hunt).

To be entered in the 2005 Utah Antlerless Draw, mail-in applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on June 20. Hunters applying through the Division of Wildlife Resources' Web site
( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov ) must submit their applications no later than 11 p.m. on June 20.

Draw results will be posted by July 28. Those who applied in previous years should receive a preprinted 2005 application in the mail soon. Those who don't receive an application
may obtain one from the DWR's Web site, DWR offices and hunting and fishing license agents statewide. Utah's 2005 Antlerless Addendum is also available at the same locations.

A total of 5,982 cow elk; 1,680 doe deer; 452 doe pronghorn; and 25 cow moose permits, will be available through the public draw this year. Many of Utah's private Cooperative Wildlife Management Units also have public antlerless permits available. Hunters can apply for these public CWMU permits during the application period.

To ensure your application is entered in the draw, Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, provides applicants with the following tips and reminders:

* Double-check the hunt numbers you listed. Hunt numbers are highlighted in blue in the Antlerless Addendum. Many applicants end up with the wrong hunt, or no hunt, because they listed the wrong hunt number.

* Send the correct fees. Check your math. You may miss out on your hunt if you don't send enough money.

* Check your credit card number and expiration date. Your card must be valid through September 2005 to issue you a permit.

* Up to four people may apply together for deer, elk and pronghorn permits. Group applications are not accepted for moose permits.

* Group members are reminded not to combine checks and credit cards for payment. Also, all fees for all applicants in a group must be charged to one credit card.

* Sign your application.

* Before applying for a hunt that occurs on private property, make sure you'll be able to use the permit by obtaining written permission from the landowner to access the property. The DWR does not guarantee access and does not have the names of landowners who own land where hunts occur. An asterisk in the proclamation's hunt tables indicates hunts that occur mostly on private land.

Those with questions may call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.