Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Save America’s Treasures Grant Program Announces $9.5 Million in Awards

Innovative federal/private partnership funds the preservation and conservation of the U.S’s irreplaceable and endangered historic properties, sites, documents, artistic works and artifacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

(PCAH) and the National Park Service (NPS), jointly announced the awarding of $9.5 million in federal competitive Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grants, which are made in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). With these funds, 41 organizations and agencies will act to conserve significant U.S. cultural and historic treasures, which illustrate, interpret and are associated with the great events, ideas, and individuals that contribute to our nation’s history and culture. Save America’s Treasures is marking its 10th anniversary, and it has made more than 500 competitive grants to ensure our nation’s cultural and historic legacy.

“Save America's Treasures invests in our nation's irreplaceable legacy of buildings, documents, collections and artistic works," said First Lady Michelle Obama, Honorary Chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “These awards empower communities all over the country to rescue and restore this priceless heritage, and ensure that future generations continue to learn from the voices, ideas, events and people represented by these projects.”

The 41 projects awarded competitive grants this year address the preservation needs of the structures, places, documents, artistic works and artifacts that are deemed most significant to the nation. Several projects highlight this country’s rich architectural legacy from two rare surviving 17th century houses of worship to the works of leading 19th century and 20th century of American architects like David Burnham, Stanford White and Frank Lloyd Wright. Rare first-hand accounts of modern dance’s beginnings are told in photographs at Jacobs Pillow; the ideas and aspirations of post-war Americans are captured on tape from This I Believe radio program; and a window on a lost Native American culture is revealed in 18th century Friendly Association Papers. These and the other SAT projects all confront a range of threats from decay with some facing imminent collapse or extinction. These funds will ensure that this cultural and historic legacy can be experienced by the next generation of artists, scholars, students and citizens.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis congratulated the 41 recipients of the Save America’s Treasures awards saying, “The recipients of these grants deserve great credit for their commitment to the preservation of our nation’s history and culture. The historic properties and collections protected by Save America's Treasures grants for the last 10 years benefit all Americans, today and in the future. The National Park Service is proud of our role in administering this exceptional program with our partners.” Save America’s Treasures 2009,

The evaluation and recommendation of awards is carried out by an innovative interagency collaboration that blends the cross-disciplinary expertise of the federal cultural agencies (NEA, NEH, and IMLS) and the National Park Service, which administers the program in collaboration with the President’s Committee. To maximize private investment and support for these efforts, the program’s private partner, Save America’s Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, helps projects secure the required private match, and offers their assistance to a host of SAT grantees and preservation projects all across the country.

“Save America’s Treasures represents an exceptional process that blends the best expertise of our federal cultural partners and the National Park Service to select and recommend projects of exceptional value to our nation’s cultural and historic legacy. With the support of Congress and the White House, and bolstered by the exceptional efforts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this program exemplifies what the public and private sector can accomplish together in preserving these pre-eminent symbols of our democracy and cultural values,” says George Stevens, Co-Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Each of the federal partners oversees the awards to projects that reflect their own missions. This year twenty projects that focus on structures and sites will be administered by the National Park Service. The remaining twenty-one projects will address the needs of documents, artifacts and collections. For the NEA, NEH and IMLS, the projects illustrate diverse themes, ideas, artistry and subjects from the conservation of the papers of William Still (NEH), an African-American who published the most seminal first-hand accounts of the underground railroad, to the preservation of the 300-year old Faneuil Hall Art Collection (NEA) to conserving the fragile Last Column from World Trade Center (IMLS).

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is proud to support Save America’s Treasures,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice. “These awards are part of IMLS’s commitment to conservation that includes ongoing grant programs and Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a multiyear initiative to help improve the state of our nation’s collections.”

“Save America’s Treasures helps ensure that current and future generations have access to some of our nation’s most important art works,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “These grants will help preserve key components of our cultural heritage in dance, music, visual arts, and video.”

“As part of its mandate to preserve our cultural heritage, the NEH is committed to insuring that irreplaceable records of American history remain available for future generations,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “Unique accounts of the operations of the Underground Railroad and original television and radio programs of the 1950s through the 1980s should not be allowed to deteriorate beyond repair.”

Save America’s Treasures is part of a long tradition of public-private partnerships and federal leadership. As the program's principal private partner, Save America's Treasures at the National Trust for Historic Preservation complements the work of the federal agencies by raising media awareness and leveraging financial support and stewardship within the private Save America’s Treasures 2009, sector through the creation of national partnerships with corporations, foundations, and individuals.

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation is proud to join the National Park Service and other federal agencies in what I consider to be one of the most ambitious and successful preservation efforts in the last 50 years," said Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We have been honored to work with three administrations to help ensure the preservation and good stewardship of the places that tell America's story.”

In 2009, Save America’s Treasures received 402 grant applications from eligible federal agencies;
state, local, and tribal governments; and nonprofit organizations. Two panels of federal experts representing preservation and conservation disciplines reviewed the applications and made final recommendations to the Secretary of Interior. To be successful each applicant project must be of national significance, demonstrate an urgent preservation need, make the case as to how they will address the threat, and demonstrate the likely availability of non-federal matching funds.

From FY 1999-FY 2009, 1173 grants (594 earmarks and competitive grants) have been awarded to preserve nationally significant and endangered historic buildings, structures, places, collections, artifacts and artistic works. To date, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puert Rico, and Midway Island have received grants.

Additional information on the Save America’s Treasures program can be found on the PCAH Web site at http://www.pcah.gov/ , the NPS Web site at http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/ .

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Public Comment Sought on Strategic Plan for Utah State Parks Boating Program

Salt Lake City - The Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation has developed and is seeking public comment through January 10, 2010 on a draft strategic plan for its statewide boating program.

The plan is located for review online at: stateparks.utah.gov/planning. Hardcopies can be reviewed at the Utah State Parks Office at 1594 West North Temple, Suite 116 in Salt Lake City.

The boating program provides funding and other support for the great variety of boating opportunities found throughout the state. The draft plan identifies issues relating to boating facilities, opportunities and management in Utah and will make recommendations to guide program managers for the next 10 years.

The planning team consisted of enthusiasts from the various types of boating recreation, boating program managers, facility managers, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other agencies. This team developed recommendations in the draft plan through surveys of boaters and boating area managers, and a series of planning team meetings.
Comments will be accepted until January 10, 2010 by:

E-mail to: PLANSCOMMENT@utah.gov

Regular mail to:
Utah State Parks: Planning Section
P.O. Box 146001
1594 West North Temple, Suite 116
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6001

NSSF Supports Arizona's Efforts to Grow Hunting and Shooting; Awards $82,500 in Grants

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- With the assistance of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Arizona Fish & Game Department is working to secure the future of hunting by tapping the enthusiasm of youth and seniors.
The department announced new programs at a press conference today, with two initiatives made possible by grants provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation totaling $82,500.

These are the first grants Arizona Fish & Game has received through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership Program, which has provided nearly $3.4 million in assistance to wildlife agencies over the past seven years to create hunting and recreational shooting opportunities.

"NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership grants are awarded based on the potential for developing new hunters and shooters and reactivating inactive sportsmen and women," said Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "Arizona's new programs show real promise for success, and NSSF is proud to support them."

A Senior Hunts program seeks to motivate sportsmen who have reduced their time spent afield or stopped hunting altogether to use their years of experience to pass on knowledge and skills to a new generation of hunters. Seniors can serve as mentors in the field and in the classroom to give newcomers and novices expertise that would take years to develop on their own.

A second mentoring program encourages sportsmen's organizations to develop small game camps to help get youth hunters started hunting and to utilize the state's new apprentice hunting license program that allows a youth to hunt with a licensed mentor before taking a hunter education course.

"We have utilized the latest research on participation in developing these introductory hunting programs," said Larry Voyles, director of Arizona Fish & Game. "We thank NSSF for its generous support and for funding the Hunting Heritage Partnership. This is a great example of how state agencies and industry can work together to preserve hunting."

Apprentice hunting license programs, pioneered by the Families Afield program jointly supported by NSSF, the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation, have resulted in more than 300,000 new youth hunters over the last several years.

Apprentice hunting licenses are new to Arizona as of this year.

Arizona was one of nine state wildlife agencies to receive nearly $500,000 in grants through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership in 2009. Since the inception of the Hunting Heritage Partnership, 37 states have received funding.
First Shots

Following the press conference, the fish and game department sponsored a First Shots seminar for attending media. First Shots is an NSSF program that provides a supervised introduction to shooting and safe firearms handling. Learn more at http://www.firstshots.org/  .

About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 5,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to http://www.nssf.org/ .

Utah State Parks sees Improvements to Online Reservation System

Salt Lake City -- Beginning January 2010, Utah State Parks offers a new online reservation system featuring updated site descriptions, campground maps, high quality park photos and the ability to transfer and cancel reservations.

“We are excited about the new system and upgraded features,” commented Utah State Parks Reservation Manager Emily Hearndon. “Using our customers’ suggestions, we made the online reservations site more informative and functional. The call center still offers the same great service, but now offers customers more options.”

In addition to the new system, the reservation cancellation policy has been improved. Customers may now cancel a reservation up to four days in advance, instead of seven days, giving customers more flexibility. Cancellations made four or more days in advance of the scheduled arrival date (14 days for group sites) will receive a refund less the non-refundable reservation fee and a $5 cancellation fee. Cancellations made less than four days in advance (14 days for group sites) will receive a refund less then non-refundable reservation fee, $5 cancellation fee and first night camping fee.

The reservation office will be closed January 1 to 19 to implement the new system. No new inventory will open during this time. Reservations for April 29 through May 26 can be made beginning January 28 at 7 a.m.

To make a reservation or for more information, please visit http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/  or call 800-322-3770.

Wolf Litigation Continues; Elk Foundation Files New Brief

MISSOULA, Mont.—Responding to the latest legal wrangling by environmental groups, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation again has entered into federal court an amicus curiae brief supporting wolf population management via state-regulated hunting in Idaho and Montana.
The move means U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy will consider RMEF positions against the environmental groups’ request for summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking to stop the hunts and return gray wolves to the endangered species list.

A summary judgment is a determination made by a court without a full trial.

Molloy is expected to rule early in 2010.

In September, Molloy denied the environmental groups’ request for an emergency injunction. Following a hearing in Missoula, Mont., Molloy ruled that plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate how hunting would cause irreparable harm to wolf populations. RMEF documents, filed shortly before the hearing, were considered in that decision.

The ruling allowed wolf hunting to proceed in Idaho and Montana. By early December, hunters had taken approximately 184 wolves out of an estimated 1,500-plus total population in the northern Rockies—a harvest well below the combined quota.

However, in the September ruling, Molloy also said complaints alleging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service improperly delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming, could have legal merit. Plaintiffs trumpeted the legal opening and filed a motion for summary judgment based on this argument.

“Their attack on hunting proved unpersuasive so now they’re backing up and citing a procedural issue related to the Endangered Species Act. This legal wrangling has drug on well past the point of ridiculousness. This is what happens when you’ve got well-funded plaintiffs who can’t be bothered by on-the-ground facts, logic or common sense. That’s not how conservation works,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

RMEF entered its new amicus curiae brief by last week’s deadline.

The 37-page document reinforces four main themes:
• Historic success of modern, hunter-based conservation in North America.
• Viewpoints of hunters who continue to pay for the big-game resources that made wolf recovery possible.
• RMEF-funded research, along with other scientific and anecdotal evidence, showing that wolf populations are fully recovered and that, where wolves are present with elk, wolves are having detrimental impacts on elk.
• State wildlife agencies are best suited to manage wolves alongside other species.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.6 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at http://www.rmef.org/   or 800-CALL ELK.

Arctic Refuge 50th Anniversary Celebration Begins

Washington, DC- A yearlong celebration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge launches today to recognize the importance of this special place in our nation’s natural history. Conservation groups, indigenous communities, members of Congress and millions of Americans who identify the Arctic Refuge as one of our nation’s top natural icons will take part in a series of events over the next year leading up to Dec. 6, 2010, the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Arctic Refuge - which was set aside to preserve its “unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.”
The first of the 50th anniversary celebrations will be held on January 13th with a press event in Washington, D.C. where descendants of the original heroes of the Arctic Refuge will call on all Americans to protect this iconic place for future generations.

“For the past 50 years, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, America’s last great wilderness, has stood as a testament to our nation’s wilderness spirit,” said Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, founded in 1993 to protect the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling. “Wilderness visionary Margaret Murie said it best: ‘The Arctic Refuge stands as the commitment of the past generations to all succeeding generations - that America’s finest example of the world we did not alter or control will be passed on, undiminished.’”

The Arctic Refuge was first created 50 years ago when President Dwight Eisenhower set aside 8.9 million acres as the Arctic National Wildlife Range. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter enlarged the size of the Range to 18 million acres and renamed it the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today, the Arctic Refuge continues to stand as our nation’s finest example of intact, naturally functioning arctic/subarctic ecosystems. Such a broad spectrum of diverse habitats occurring within a single protected unit is unparalleled in North America, and likely the entire circumpolar north.

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its magnificent wilderness and wildlife, are the embodiment of America's 150-million-acre Refuge System,” said Evan Hirsche, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “To celebrate the Arctic’s 50th anniversary is to celebrate a legacy for future generations started by President Theodore Roosevelt more than 100 years ago.”

While the majority of the Arctic Refuge was designated as wilderness, the 1.5 million acre coastal plain – also known as the Refuge’s biological heart - was left out. Years later, the status of the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain is still threatened by oil development, despite the fact that government studies have found that the amount of oil speculated to be available in the coastal plain would amount to, at most, 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030.

The Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain provides habitat essential for the survival of 180 species of birds as well as for numerous mammals - including caribou, musk oxen, wolves, wolverines, moose, Arctic and red foxes, black bears, brown bears and Dall sheep. The importance of this area to polar bears was also recently emphasized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service when it proposed much of the coastal plain of the Refuge as critical habitat for the polar bear.

Additionally, for the past 50 years, the coastal plain has been the most frequently used birthing and nursery grounds for the migratory Porcupine Caribou Herd. This caribou herd has been part of the social, economic and spiritual fabric of the lives of the Gwich’in people for thousands of years. The Gwich'in call the coastal plain “Iizhik Gwats'an Gwandaii Goodlit” or “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.”

“The Arctic Refuge’s rolling tundra and wild rivers, wetlands, ponds, deep lakes and sparkling coastal waters are home to a stunning array of wildlife. Every year nearly 200 species of birds visit, and nest on, the region’s tundra and wetlands - while caribou, muskoxen, wolverines, grizzly, and polar bears roam the vast expanse of land and walrus, bowhead and beluga whales ply the Arctic waters,” said Dan Ritzman Alaska Program Director for the Sierra Club. “Now, all across their Arctic home, rapid climate change is altering their fragile habitat and the push to drill for oil is mounting. We must use this golden anniversary to step up our efforts to ensure that the biological heart of the Refuge, its coastal plain, is protected and held in trust for future generations.”

The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge Association is to conserve America's wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its ecological integrity

Friday, December 11, 2009

Public Comment sought for Sand Hollow State Park

Salt Lake City - Utah State Parks and Recreation is seeking public comments on a draft resource management plan (RMP) for Sand Hollow State Park through December 31, 2009.

The plan is located for review online at: http://stateparks.utah.gov/planning . Hardcopies may be reviewed at the Utah State Parks Administrative Office at 1594 West North Temple, Suite 116 in Salt Lake City; Sand Hollow State Park; Washington County Library at 36 South 300 West in Hurricane; and Hurricane City Offices at 147 North 870 West in Hurricane.

The draft RMP identifies issues relating to public use, resource management and future development at the park for the next 10 years. A planning team consisting of park users, local citizens, other agency representatives and park managers developed the draft plan through a series of team and public meetings.

Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2009 by:

E-mail to: PLANSCOMMENT@utah.gov

Regular mail to: Utah State Parks:
Planning Section
P.O. Box 146001
1594 West North Temple, Suite 116
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6001

Ice Fishing Tournament scheduled for Scofield

Huntington – Scofield State Park hosts its fourth annual ice fishing tournament Saturday, January 2. Check-in begins at 7 a.m. and the tournament starts at 7:30 a.m. Registration is $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and younger.

Door prizes and a prize for the biggest fish will be awarded. Registration is limited to 200 anglers. To register or for more information, please call (435) 687-2491.

Boat Slip and Dry Storage Auction and Draw scheduled for Jordanelle State Park

Heber City – Applications for the Jordanelle State Park boat slip and dry storage silent auction and random draw process are available Tuesday, January 12 online at stateparks.utah.gov or at Jordanelle State Park Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Applications must be submitted in person or by mail and received at the Jordanelle State Park Office by 5 p.m. Friday, February 12. Applications received after 5 p.m. will not be accepted. Notification of successful boat slip recipients will be made Monday, March 1 and posted online.

For more information, please call Jordanelle State Park at (435) 649-9540 or visit http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/.

Holiday rates offered for Jordanelle State Park Event Center

Heber – Host your holiday event, reception or meeting at the Jordanelle State Park Event Center. Facility includes a large reception area overlooking Jordanelle Reservoir with tables, chairs, and kitchenette. A list of local caterers is available upon request.

Event Center fees are $100 with a two-hour minimum throughout December and January. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (435) 649-9540.

Ft. Hood Soldier’s Dream to Come True, Elk Hunters Vow

MISSOULA, Mont.—U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler, shot four times at Fort Hood, Tex., on Nov. 5, dreams of recovering well enough to go elk hunting someday.
That wish has become a welcome command for a battalion of hunters eager to help.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization made up primarily of hunters focused on conserving habitat for elk and other wildlife, has adopted Zeigler as one of its own. Members have vowed to make the soldier’s dream come true—as well as support him through the grueling rehab and surgeries that stand between him and his first adventure in elk country.

“When I told Patrick about the offer to go elk hunting, it was one of the few times I’ve seen his eyes light up since he’s been in the hospital. He loves to hunt and fish and be outdoors. He always wanted to hunt elk but never had a chance. Now, that experience is one of the things he’s driving for,” said Zeigler’s father, Pat, a career serviceman now standing vigil by his son’s side.

Zeigler, 28, was wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a crowded processing center at the Texas military base. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 others wounded before police shot and apprehended the accused shooter. Some of the survivors remain in critical condition, including Zeigler who still has bullets lodged in his head, shoulder and hip. A fourth bullet passed through his forearm. He is paralyzed on his left side and has begun treatment at a facility in Austin, Tex.

A graduate of Florida State University, volunteer fireman in his hometown and husband to be, Zeigler served two combat tours in Iraq. He had just been selected for officer candidate school before finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time at Fort Hood.

In the days after the shooting, Zeigler told a chaplain of his elk-hunting dream. The chaplain contacted Jim Zumbo, an outdoor writer and former RMEF board member devoted to providing hunting experiences for military heroes. Zumbo, in turn, called RMEF President and CEO David Allen.

“When I heard Patrick’s story, I knew our members would jump at the chance to help this guy. As soon as he’s able to go, we have a donated elk hunt waiting for him,” said Allen. “I’m humbled at the sacrifices that Patrick and his family have made, and pleased that we can offer him something meaningful to help him through a difficult time.”

Allen added, “We are not going to let Patrick and others be forgotten after the news and headlines go away. He deserves better. We want to be a part of his recovery as well as his life.

RMEF members are offering moral support to Zeigler via Christmas cards, letters, small gifts and donations to a trust fund.

Although RMEF members are communicating directly with the Zeigler family, other supporters can get involved through Operation AC, a group that compiles and ships supplies, cards and letters to soldiers, including families affected by the Fort Hood shooting. Send to Ft. Hood, Injured c/o OPAC, 560 Peoples Plaza #121, Newark, DE 19702. More info at http://www.operationac.com/   or frankie@operationac.com .

The Zeigler family has set up a trust fund at a hometown bank. Send to SSG Zeigler, Patrick Trust Account, American National Bank of Texas, 5809 Wesley St., Greenville, TX 75402; (903) 455-7592.

Zeigler’s friends launched a web site, http://www.healpatrickzeigler.com/ , for additional info.

Allen has invited Zeigler to the annual RMEF convention in Reno in March, and is hoping the soldier is “well enough to attend and get to know his new elk hunting family.”

Learn more at http://www.rmef.org/ .

See Hundreds of Wild Elk

Hyrum -- You can take a sleigh ride that gets you close to as many as 600 wild elk.
The rides are available four days a week at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area.

On Dec. 9, more than 100 elk were at the WMA. Now that winter weather has arrived, more elk should be visiting the ranch soon.

Hardware Ranch is 17 miles east of Hyrum. Its winter elk viewing season begins Dec. 18. The WMA offers the following during its winter season:

Sleigh rides

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Utah’s state mammal by taking a sleigh ride through a herd of up to 600 Rocky Mountain elk.

The sleigh rides last 20 to 30 minutes. They wind through the center of the elk herd and make occasional stops so you can get a perfect photograph.

During the rides, the sleigh drivers share the history of the ranch and explain why the elk behave like they do. They’re also happy to answer questions you might have.

The sleighs are pulled by a team of large breed draft horses. If snow conditions get poor, the sleighs can be converted into wagons.

Visitor center

In addition to the sleigh rides, the Hardware Ranch WMA also operates a visitor center. The center has interactive wildlife displays and staff who can answer your questions.

When it’s open

The WMA’s winter season should run until March 15. The sleighs are running and the visitor center is open during the following days and times:

Friday – noon to 5 p.m.
Saturday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday – noon to 5 p.m.

The WMA will be closed on Dec. 25.

If you want to take a ride through the elk herd, you must buy a ticket at the visitor center before 4:30 p.m. The last sleigh ride leaves at 4:30 p.m.

The sleigh rides cost $5 for those nine years of age and older, and $3 for those four to eight years old. Children three years of age and younger can ride for free.

How to get there

The Hardware Ranch WMA is located at mile marker 22 on SR-101 in Blacksmith Fork Canyon. The ranch is about 115 miles north of Salt Lake City (about a two-hour drive). It’s about 17 miles east of Hyrum and 22 miles southeast of Logan.

Good lodging, food and entertainment are readily available in Cache Valley, within 45 minutes of the ranch. The roads up Blacksmith Fork Canyon are usually plowed and sanded by noon each day.

For more information about the Hardware Ranch WMA, call (435) 753-6206 or visit http://www.hardwareranch.com/  on the Web.

Hardware Ranch is a wildlife management area owned and operated by the Division of Wildlife Resources. It provides important big game winter range for elk, deer and moose.

December Events scheduled at Jordanelle

Dec 19 2009 Jordanelle State Park - Heber

Join park staff and volunteers from the Salt Lake Astronomical Society for one last celebration of the International Year of Astronomy. 2009 celebrates 400 years after Galileo pointed his telescope toward the sky. We have come along way since then.

Dig out your telescopes and on Dec 19th from 3pm- 7pm bring them to the Hailstone Event Center at Jordanelle State Park. Volunteers will be here to help set up and/or repair your telescope and show you how to use it. When the sun goes down we can celebrate the winter equinox by star gazing. If you don't have a telescope just come and star gaze. Hailstone is located on the west side of Jordanelle just off of Hwy 40. Day use fee of $10.00/carload up to 8 people required, or free to Utah State Parks Pass holders. Call (435)649-9540 for more info.

December 26 2009 Wasatch/Jordanelle State Park, Heber

Heber Valley Christmas Bird Count 8 am- 4:00 pm. Join park staff from Wasatch and Jordanelle State Park as well as other bird and wildlife lovers in Audubon’s 110th Christmas Bird Count. The CBC is one of the largest citizen science efforts in the world. Beginner, intermediate, and expert birders are welcome. To register, or for more information call Wendy at (435) 654-1791 or visit www.audubon.org/bird/cbc .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Boating Safety Tip of the Week

Photo Courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard.

Salt Lake City – Be aware of carbon monoxide dangers while boating on Utah’s waters. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced when carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil, burns.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and mixes evenly in the air. It enters the bloodstream through the lungs and displaces oxygen in the body. Do not confuse carbon monoxide poisoning with seasickness, intoxication, or heat or marine stressors.

“If someone on board complains of irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, or dizziness, immediately move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention if necessary,” advises Utah State Parks Boating Program Assistant Manager Chris Haller.

Sources of carbon monoxide on boats include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters. Cold and poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly-tuned engines. Boat exhaust leaks can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. These leaks can migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. Regular maintenance and proper boat operation can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is illegal to operate a motorboat or have the engine of a motorboat run idle while a person is occupying or holding onto the swim platform, swim deck, swim step, swim ladder or while a person is being towed in a non-standing position within 20 feet of the vessel. These restrictions do not apply when the motorboat is docking, or while persons are entering or exiting the vessel.

For more safe boating tips go to http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/ or call (801) 538-BOAT. Utah Boaters…WEAR IT!

Share The Legacy at the Ultimate Hunters’ Market

Ask any member who has attended the SCI Convention, and you will likely hear, “Sensational, you have to go! It is the Ultimate Hunters’ Market and it’s a knockout!”

The allure of SCI’s 2009 Annual Convention attracted nearly 20,000 attendees. This hunters’ heaven has everything the mind can dream of and occupies over 650,000 square feet of exhibit space. Six continents are under one roof where members come to book hunts, rendezvous with old friends and shop for the latest guns and hunting equipment. That only scratches the surface of products available at SCI’s Annual Hunters’ Convention. Notable authorities of the outdoor sports and shooting industries attend the premier hunting show annually.

There are dozens of informative and educational seminars designed to provide attendees the opportunity to learn new hunting techniques or refine old ones, discover imaginative ways to prepare wild game, or to glean tips on the best care for your equipment and gear. Countless topics that appeal to the hunting sportsman are covered.

When the exhibit halls close the evening fun and excitement begins. Each night, members come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the organization and enjoy top entertainment and speakers. SCI’s evening auctions offer top of the line guns, once in a lifetime hunts, the finest artwork and more. Every purchase provides crucial funds to help preserve our hunting heritage and enable conservation efforts to occur around the globe.

Yes, it’s true! SCI’s Convention is the most dynamic and diverse hunting show today. You will find it to be the most powerful buying and selling environment in the outdoor industry. Mark your calendars and please join us for the 2010 Convention January 20 – 23, 2010, in Reno, Nevada. Be sure to register online at http://www.safariclub.org/ .

Celebrate the Holiday Season with Park City Mountain Resort

Park City, Utah (December 10, 2009) – Park City Mountain Resort celebrates the 2009 holiday season with family events for the local community and destination visitors during the month of December.

“Park City Mountain Resort is a magical place to be during the holidays and the reason why so many families choose to celebrate with us time and time again,” said Krista Parry, director of marketing for Park City Mountain Resort. “Our holiday events have become a tradition for the local community and visiting guests alike. We treasure the opportunity to share in their experience.”

On December 19, Park City Mountain Resort welcomes Santa Claus into Park City as he descends from the top of the mountain down the Town lift. Guests are invited to arrive around 5:30 p.m. to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, Christmas carols and storytelling. Santa and his reindeer will fly their sled full of goodies onto the Town Lift Plaza around 6:15 p.m.

On December 24, Santa Claus will ski around the mountain during the day and once the sun sets he will lead more than 100 ski and snowboard instructors down the PayDay run during Park City Mountain Resort’s 46th annual traditional torchlight parade. The parade can best be viewed from the Resort Plaza where complimentary hot beverages and cookies will be served.

All holiday activities are complimentary.

About Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort, the most accessible mountain resort in North America, is located in the heart of Park City, Utah and is only a 40-minute drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport. With 3,300 acres of unspoiled terrain, the Resort offers groomed Signature Runs™, bumps, powder, trees, eight peaks, nine bowls, four terrain parks, and the Eagle Superpipe.

Park City Mountain Resort was once again ranked a top-five resort by the readers of SKI and Transworld Snowboarding magazines and a top-10 ski resort in North America by Conde Nast Traveler. For more information, visit http://www.parkcitymountain.com/  or call (800) 222-PARK.

Become a Hunter Education Instructor

Training offered in Salt Lake City, Brigham City, Logan and Springville
Have you ever thought about sharing your passion for hunting with someone else?

You can by serving as a volunteer Hunter Education course instructor.

Starting in January, the Division of Wildlife Resources will train new instructors at classes in Salt Lake City, Brigham City, Logan and Springville.

The DWR will also hold classes in southern Utah this spring.

“You can make an amazing difference in the life of a young person by volunteering to serve,” says Kirk Smith, assistant hunter education coordinator for the DWR.

“And don’t be concerned if you don’t have any experience teaching young people. Our training will help prepare you to be a good Hunter Education instructor.”

The instructor training is free. More information about the training—including dates and locations—is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/huntereducation/instructors .

After reaching that part of the site, scroll down to the “See schedule” selection at the very bottom of the page. Dates and locations are available there.

“If you look at the schedule and you don’t see a training session in your part of the state, please call us,” Smith says. “If there’s enough interest in the area of the state where you live, we’ll put a training session together for you.”

You can reach Smith at 1-800-397-6999.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DWR seeks help in solving unsolved Bull Elk Shooting Cases in East-Central Utah

PRICE, UTAH—During the 2009 big game hunting seasons, Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers, stationed in Carbon and Emery counties, have encountered multiple instances of the unlawful harvest of bull elk. In some of these cases, officers have been able to collect evidence and make arrests.

In the accompanying photo, conservation officers Brandon Baron, Casey Mickelsen and Ben Riley (L-R) are shown holding three bull elk skull caps and antlers, in which cases have been successfully prosecuted.

However, seven sets of antlers are displayed in front of the officers, for which the trail of evidence has grown cold. These bulls were poached on the Central Mountains-Manti and Wasatch Mountains bull elk units. Conservation officers are asking the public to step forward with information that may lead to the conclusion of these unsolved cases.

Yellow numbered tags have been placed in front of each set of antlers in the accompanying photo. Corresponding information is provided below, identifying the time frame, location and circumstances surrounding death of each bull elk.

#1 Spike bull found on 10-18-09 on the Wasatch Mountains unit near Long Ridge in Utah County. The elk was believed to have been shot during the last week of the general season spike elk hunt.

#2 A 5x6 bull elk was discovered on the same date and at the same location as #1. Both cases are believed to be connected. These elk were left to rot.

#3 7x8 bull poached in October of ‘08 on Black Mountain in the Muddy drainage in Emery County. Although the case is a year-old, officers continue to search for clues leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the death of this trophy animal.

#4 5x6 bull poached in Seeley Canyon of Sanpete County during the first week of the 2009 general season spike elk hunt. Possibly shot by a spike elk hunter, who may have shot into a herd of elk. Officers think there may have been hunters in the area, who may have witnessed the shooting.

#5 6x6 bull elk poached near the intersection of the Buck Flat ATV trail and the North Face Road on Ferron Mountain in Sanpete County. This bull was probably shot by a hunter during the last few days of the 2009 general season spike bull hunt. The bull had been dragged behind an ATV and then covered with branches and logs. Officers hope that another hunter may have seen someone dragging an elk with an ATV.

#6 6x6 bull elk was discovered on 9-28-09 on the Central Mountains-Manti unit near the Indian Creek drainage in Emery County. The elk was shot and left not far from the Spoon Creek trailhead. The elk was believed to have been killed during the last week of the early limited entry elk hunt. This elk was believed to have been high-graded by a limited entry bull elk permittee.

#7 6x6 bull elk poached during the overlapping 2009 muzzleloader deer/ muzzleloader limited entry bull hunt. The carcass was found in the canyon directly east of the Indian Creek Campground at the base of East Mountain in Emery County. This bull may have been shot by a muzzleloader elk hunter.

Wildlife officers would appreciate any information someone may have about these incidents. Many of these bulls are considered trophy quality. Persons, who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators, could be eligible for a limited entry bull permit or a cash award. Please call Sergeant Casey Mickelsen at 435-820-6010.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Festivities scheduled at Willard Bay

Willard- Willard Bay State Park hosts Fantasy at the Bay, a drive-through holiday light display November 24 through December 31.

Display hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. nightly and admission is $7 per vehicle. Utah State Parks Annual Passes are not valid during light display hours.

The Cottonwood Campground is filled with animation, lighted trees, roadway lights and displays. Visitors may drive through the display or ride on a horse-drawn hay wagon at no additional cost. A concession service offers cocoa, hamburgers, chili, scones, s'mores and other items around a large campfire. To reach Willard Bay State Park, take Exit 357off I-15.

For more information, please call Fantasy at the Bay at (435) 734-9294 or (435) 237-9506 or Willard Bay State Park at (435) 734-9494.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Youth Snowmobile Educatioin Course now Online

Salt Lake City– The Utah State Parks Know Before You Go! youth snowmobile education course is now available online at http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/.

Utah law requires youth eight to 16 to complete the Utah State Parks Know Before You Go! Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Education Course before operating a machine on public lands, roads or trails. It is illegal for
any child under age eight to operate an OHV on public land.

The online course covers riding basics, safety, winter survival and Utah laws. Upon successful completion of the course, students print a temporary certificate valid for 60 days and later receive a permanent certificate by mail. Cost for the class is $30

Students are encouraged to study all materials prior to taking the test. Students who do not pass the course must pay a second registration fee and retake the test. “Safety is our number one concern. We want to reduce the number of accidents by educating youth to operate snowmobiles safely and emphasize the importance of wearing safety equipment, and following laws and rules,” stated OHV Education Coordinator Ann Evans. “Online courses provide easier access to education courses and allow students to learn at their own pace.”

Summer OHV and personal watercraft (PWC) education courses are also available online at http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/ .

For more information, visit stateparks.utah.gov or call (800) OHV-RIDE.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Big changes await hunters that apply for a Turkey Hunting Permit

Thanksgiving isn’t the only reason wild turkey hunters in Utah will be thinking about turkey over the next few weeks. The chance to apply for a permit to hunt turkeys next spring starts Dec. 10.

And some big changes await Utah’s turkey hunters in 2010—two new hunts have been added.

Limited-entry hunt

The first hunt—the limited-entry hunt—runs April 10 - 29. This is the hunt you can apply for starting Dec. 10.

There will be a big difference in the limited-entry hunt this spring—it will be held on a regional basis instead of on smaller, specific areas. The following number of permits will be available:

Region------------Number of permits
Northern--------- 400
Central -----------500
Northeastern----- 250
Southeastern -----250
Southern--------- 1,100

“This first hunt should be less crowded than the hunt in May because only 2,500 permits will be offered for it,” says Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “There’s another difference, too—if you draw a permit for the April hunt, you won’t be limited to hunting one specific area like you have been in the past. Instead, you can hunt an entire region.”

Applications for the limited-entry hunt must be received at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/  no later than 11 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Two new hunts

If you don’t draw a limited-entry permit, don’t pack you gun away—you can still hunt turkeys this spring. Two new statewide hunts—a youth hunt and a general hunt—will be held.

And don’t worry about losing your wild turkey bonus points, either. If you buy a permit for the youth hunt or the general hunt, you’ll still be able to keep all of your bonus points!

Hunters who buy a general season statewide permit and are 15 years of age and younger can participate in the first of the two statewide hunts—the youth hunt—which runs April 30 – May 2.

The number of permits available for the youth hunt are unlimited in number. And young hunters can obtain the permits over the counter. Youth hunters can hunt anywhere in Utah that’s open to turkey hunting.

Youngsters who buy a permit for the youth hunt can also use the permit to hunt during Utah’s final hunt—the general statewide hunt.

The general statewide turkey hunt runs May 3 – 31. An unlimited number of permits will be available for the hunt.

Permits over-the-counter

Permits for the youth hunt and the general hunt will be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov and from DWR offices and hunting and fishing license agents across Utah starting Feb. 16.

Even though three hunts will be held, you can obtain only one permit. You must hunt during the hunt you obtain a permit for.

Also, if you buy a general permit, you won’t lose any wild turkey bonus points that you’ve earned.

2010 Turkey Guidebook

More information about Utah’s 2010 turkey hunting season is available in the 2010 Utah Turkey Guidebook. The guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks  and from DWR offices and hunting and fishing license agents across Utah.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nevada sends Bighorn Sheep to Utah

Kanab -- Twenty bighorn sheep from Nevada have a new home in Utah.
Earlier this month, biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) released 20 desert bighorn sheep into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

The sheep were captured by Nevada Department of Wildlife biologists near Lake Mead in southern Nevada.

“We released a total of 19 ewes and one young ram into the desert near Croton and Little Valley on the Kaparowitz sheep unit,” says Teresa Bonzo, regional wildlife manager for the UDWR. “Several of the ewes are pregnant. Releasing these sheep will really bolster the population in this area over the next few years.”

Bonzo says the Kaparowitz bighorn sheep herd is doing well. The sheep that were added to the herd will help it do even better. “This transplant will ensure genetic stability in the herd,” she says. “And we’ve also brought more sheep into an area that can handle more animals.”


The sheep were captured in Nevada using nets fired from a helicopter. After the sheep became entangled in the nets, wildlife capture specialists placed the animals in slings and then transported them by helicopter to a staging area. After being gently lowered to the ground, biologists quickly checked the sheep for injuries and disease. Then the animals were loaded into horse trailers for their trip to Utah.

Once they arrived at the release site, UDWR biologists opened the doors to the trailer. The sheep leaped from the trailer and ran into the hills.

Bonzo says all of the sheep made the trip without injury, and they’re doing well in their new home.

Working together

Nevada and Utah have a long history of cooperating on various wildlife projects. Last year, several pronghorn were captured in Utah and sent to Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and the UDWR worked together to make the recent Utah sheep transplant happen.

DWR recommends limiting the number of Dogs for Bear Hunts

Three areas that are popular places to pursue bears with dogs might be quieter next summer.

Division of Wildlife Resources biologists want to limit the number of people who pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and LaSal units in summer 2010. All three units are in eastern Utah.

The biologists also want to limit the number of dogs that can be used to hunt or pursue bears on any unit in Utah.
Those changes—and more bear hunting permits in Utah—are among changes the DWR is recommending for Utah’s 2010 black bear pursuit and hunting seasons.

Learn more, share your ideas
You can review all of the DWR’s bear hunting and pursuit proposals at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings . Once you’ve read the proposals, you can share your thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

RAC meetings
Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. Citizens representing the RACs will take the input received at the meetings to the Utah Wildlife Board. Board members will use the input to help them set rules for Utah’s 2010 bear hunt and pursuit seasons. They’ll set those rules at their Jan. 7 meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings:

Southern Region
Dec. 8
7 p.m.
Cross Hollows Intermediate School
2215 W. Royal Hunte Dr.
Cedar City

Southeastern Region
Dec. 9
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Northeastern Region
Dec. 10
6:30 p.m.
Uintah Interagency Fire Center
355 N. Vernal Ave.

Central Region
Dec. 15
6:30 p.m.
Central Region Conference Center
1115 N. Main St.

Northern Region
Dec. 16
6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Brigham City

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings .

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s e-mail address. You should direct your e-mail to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

Pursuit and hunting changes
The Book Cliffs, San Juan and LaSal units are among the most popular places in Utah to pursue bears with trained hounds. Unfortunately, that popularity has caused some problems.

“This past summer, we received more than 150 complaints from campers, hikers and others who were recreating in the area,” says Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the DWR.

“Some of the houndsmen were using as many as 20 hounds to pursue a single bear,” Dolling says. “When hounds get on a bear’s track, they bark a lot, and they’re extremely noisy. The noise and the commotion the hounds and the houndsmen were causing bothered some of the people who were camping and hiking in the area.”

To quiet things down, DWR biologists are recommending two changes:

- Limit the number of permits offered to pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and LaSal units in the summer. The DWR is recommending that the following number of pursuit permits be available for the summer pursuit season:

Unit            Resident   Nonresident
Book Cliffs   25----------3
San Juan       30----------3
LaSal           20------------2

- Limit the number of hounds houndsmen can use to pursue or hunt bears on any of the state’s bear units. Biologists are recommending that houndsmen not be allowed to use more than eight hounds to pursue a single bear.

More hunting permits

Biologists are also recommending that the number of hunting permits be increased for next year’s black bear hunts.

In 2009, a total of 319 permits were available. The DWR is recommending a total of 368 permits for 2010.

Based on an average success rate of just over 40 percent, the extra 49 permits should result in hunters taking about 21 additional bears in 2010.

In 2009, hunters took 147 bears in Utah.

For more information about the meetings, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

DWR starts Utah’s third confirmed Otter Population near Provo River

The odds you’ll see a river otter in Utah just got better.

On Nov. 25, biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources released a northern river otter into the Provo River between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs. (This stretch of the river is commonly referred to as the “middle Provo.”)

The otter, a young adult female, is the first of as many as 10 to 15 otters the DWR hopes to place into the middle Provo River in the next few months. The otter released on Nov. 25 was trapped by DWR biologists on the Green River in northeastern Utah.

Three-year study

Releasing river otters into the middle Provo will provide Utah with another river otter population. It will also provide biologists with valuable information about the habits of river otters in the state.

“Releasing this otter marks the beginning of a three-year study to learn more about otters in Utah,” says Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the DWR.

The day before the otter was released, a veterinarian at Brigham Young University placed a small transmitter in the otter’s abdomen, just under its skin. The transmitter will allow Casey Day to track the otter. Day is a graduate student at BYU.

Transmitters will also be placed in other otters that are released into the river.

“The types of food otters eat, the distances they travel and how successful they are at reproducing are among the things Day will learn,” Dolling says. “The information we gain from his study will guide us in other river otter reintroductions we do in the future.”

UWIN provides funding

Utah Wildlife in Need (UWIN)—a new charitable foundation in Utah—is providing all of the funding for the project.

So far, the foundation has raised $66,000 for the project. That’s half of what’s needed to see the project through to the end.

“If you want to help otters in Utah, this project gives you the perfect chance,” says Bob Hasenyager, UWIN director. “The ALSAM Foundation has provided $66,000 to get the otter project up and going. Now we need other folks to step up and provide the funding needed to see the project through to the end.”

You can learn more about UWIN—and make a donation to the otter project—at http://www.uwin.org/.

Otters and trout

DWR biologists have heard from anglers who are concerned about the effect river otters will have on trout in the middle Provo River.

“Crayfish [also called crawdads] are an otter’s favorite food,” Dolling says. “But if they can’t find crayfish, they’ll turn to other sources, including frogs and fish. An adult otter eats about two to three pounds of food per day.”

Dolling says the middle Provo River has plenty of crayfish. But if the otters have any difficulty finding crayfish in the river, there are plenty of fish to eat. “Otters usually target slower-moving fish, such as sculpin, whitefish, carp and suckers,” he says. “Most of the fish they eat are between five and seven inches long.”

Dolling says the river otters will also eat trout. And that may not be a bad thing.

“This stretch of the river has an abundant trout population that’s dominated by brown trout,” says Roger Wilson, sport fish coordinator for the DWR. “Because there are so many fish in the river, the fish are having to compete with each other for food and space. The competition they’re having is reducing their growth rate and affecting their overall condition.

“Letting otters take some fish could actually improve fishing in the river,” Wilson says. “If otters take some fish, the fish that remain should grow to a larger size.”

Walt Donaldson, Aquatic Section chief for the DWR, says the middle Provo River is a blue ribbon fishery that’s known to anglers across the country. “We reintroduced otters into the Green River in 1989, and they’ve haven’t caused the fish in the river any problems,” he says. “After otters are placed in the Provo River, we’ll keep monitoring the fish population in the river. If we find the otters are causing the fish problems, we can take management actions to make sure fishing in the river doesn’t suffer.”

Those actions include stocking trout in the river and capturing and removing some of the otters.

Not only should the otters not cause problems for fish in the river, they might also add to the enjoyment anglers find while fishing.

“Many anglers who fish the Green River have enjoyed seeing the otters,” Donaldson says. “They say it’s a treat to watch a family of otters play while they’re fishing.”
Otter history

River otters were never abundant in Utah. But they were found in various parts of the state. Some of the biggest populations were in northern Utah.

River otters were doing fine until Utah was settled. Then over trapping started to take a toll. In 1899, the Utah Legislature closed the state to otter trapping.

Otters faced another challenge, though: the degradation of vegetation along steam banks, and agricultural and urban encroachment. Each of these factors affected water levels and water quality in the state. And that, in turn, that affected the otters’ food supply.

As their habitat and food supply declined, the number of otters declined too.

Bringing otters back

Management practices during the 1900s improved conditions along some of the state’s steam banks. That, in turn, improved water quality. By the 1980s, it was time to increase the number of river otters in Utah.

The DWR started expanding river otter populations in 1989 when biologists released nine otters from Nevada and Alaska into the Green River in northeastern Utah.

The DWR followed the 1989 release with several more otters releases in the area.

In 2005, Utah’s river otter population expanded more when three otters trapped by the DWR in ortheastern Utah were released into the Escalante River in southwestern Utah.

That release was also followed by several other releases in the river.

Learn more

More information about river otters and their future in Utah is available in the state’s River Otter Management Plan. The free plan is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/pdf/otter_plan.pdf

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cougar Hunting Season starts Nov. 18

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Permits to hunt on harvest-objective units are now available.

Another cougar hunting season starts in Utah on Nov. 18. And even if you didn't obtain a limited-entry permit for the hunt, you can still participate.

Permits are now available to hunt on cougar harvest-objective units. Utah's cougar hunt starts Nov. 18.

What's a harvest-objective unit?

Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says there are three major differences between harvest-objective units and traditional limited-entry units.

"There is no limit on the number of permits we can sell for a harvest-objective unit. And you can buy harvest-objective permits on the Internet or over-the-counter," Tutorow says.

"The hunt on a harvest-objective unit can close before the season ends, however, if hunters take the number of cougars biologists want taken," she says. "For example, let's say the harvest objective on a unit is 10 cougars. The hunt on that unit will close when 10 cougars are taken, even if the date when the season is supposed to end hasn't arrived yet."

The chance a unit might close early shouldn't be a big challenge for you, though. Harvest-objective hunting is allowed on 38 units in Utah. If the unit you want to hunt closes, you can still hunt on any harvest-objective unit that's still open to hunting.


Utah's 2009–2010 cougar harvest-objective season begins Nov. 18, 2009 on some units and March 6, 2010 on others. "The dates for each unit are available on pages 24, 25 and 26 of the 2009–2010 Utah Cougar Guidebook," Tutorow says.

The guidebook is available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks. You can also get a copy at hunting and fishing license agent locations and DWR offices statewide.

Tutorow reminds you that you may not buy a harvest-objective permit if you've already obtained a limited-entry cougar permit for the 2009–2010 season.

Before each hunting trip, you must call 1-888-668-LION (5466), or visit the DWR's Web site, to verify that the unit you'd like to hunt the next day is still open to hunting. The phone line and the Web site are updated by noon with information for the following day.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

More than 23,000 Swans stopping in Utah

More than 23,000 tundra swans are in Utah's marshes right now, with more are on the way.

Photo by Phil Douglass

If you drew a permit to hunt tundra swans in Utah, you may want to grab your gun and head to the marsh. More than 23,000 tundra swans are in Utah's marshes right now, with more are on the way.

Tom Aldrich counted 23,606 swans in marshes along the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake during his latest survey, flown on Nov. 3.

"Swans should continue to migrate into Utah this fall. But there are enough swans in the marshes now that it's great time to head into the marsh to see if you can take one," says Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Where the swans are

Most of the swans Aldrich spotted on the morning of Nov. 3 were on Unit 1 at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. He saw more than 16,000 swans on the unit.

The refuge is about 15 miles west of Brigham City.

"You can't hunt on Unit 1, but the swans that are on the unit may fly over units 2, 1A, 3A and 3B, which are open to hunting," Aldrich says.

The DWR usually flies its weekly swan surveys on Tuesday mornings. You can stay updated on where the swans are by logging onto the DWR's Web site at wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl/swan/swansurvey.php.

Utah's swan hunting season ends Dec. 13. Only those who drew a swan hunting permit earlier this fall can hunt swans.

Hunting tips

If you're one of the 2,000 hunters who drew a permit, Aldrich says you should spend time watching the swans and learning their flight patterns. Tundra swans are very consistent in the times of day they fly and the routes they take. "If you learn these patterns, you'll increase your chance for success," Aldrich says.

Factors that can change a swan's flight pattern include hunting pressure, changes in the weather and the availability of food.

Ice-up is another thing to watch for. As the water starts to freeze, swans fly more in search of areas that still have open water. "Being in the marsh during this time can also increase your chance of taking a swan," Aldrich says.

Aldrich reminds hunters that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed all of the areas north of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and north of Forest Street (the road leading from Brigham City to the refuge) to tundra swan hunting.

"The USFWS has restricted tundra swan hunting in this area to try and lessen the number of trumpeter swans that hunters take," Aldrich says. "Compared to tundra swans, trumpeter swans are much less abundant."

Swan hunting reminders

Swan hunters are reminded about requirements that are designed to help the DWR and the USFWS obtain an accurate count of the number of trumpeter swans that are accidentally taken by hunters.

Within 72 hours of taking a swan, you must take your bird to a DWR office, or the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, so it can be examined and measured. You must also return your harvest questionnaire no later than Jan. 11, 2010, even if you don't hunt swans or take a swan.

If you don't do these things, you'll have to do several things—including paying a $50 late fee and completing the swan orientation course again—before you can apply for a swan permit in 2010.

Volunteers needed at Frontier Homestead State Park Museum

Cedar City – Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is seeking volunteers who are interested in learning exciting and challenging hands-on activities and demonstrating these skills to park visitors. If you have the desire to present the many aspects of Western history, please become a volunteer and part of the living history experience.

Museum volunteers receive access to area history tours, invitations to special events and a 20% discount in the museum store.

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is located at 635 North Main in Cedar City and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the museum at (435) 586-9290.

Boating Safety Tip of the Week

Salt Lake City – Though water temperatures are dropping at Utah’s lakes and reservoirs statewide, there are still great boating opportunities in southern Utah.

Sand Hollow and Quail Creek state parks in Hurricane offer year-round boating. These two parks provide great winter boating opportunities with a mild winter climate. Sand Hollow State Park offers blue waters and red sandstone landscapes, while Quail Creek State Park boasts a red rock desert setting and great fishing.

“These two parks are an easy five-hour drive from the Salt Lake Valley and provide excellent opportunities to extend the boating season on Utah’s warmer waters,” commented Utah State Parks Assistant Boating Program Manager Chris Haller.

Haller reminds all boaters to follow these safety tips:

Always wear a life jacket!
File a float plan; inform someone of where you are going and when you will return.
Dress for changing weather conditions and layer your clothing.
Keep a ladder on board in case someone falls overboard.
Never boat alone!

For more information or to take a boating safety course, please visit http://www.stateparks.utah.gov/  or call (801) 538-BOAT. Wear it Utah!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Provo's Fall Fiddlefest scheduled Saturday

On Saturday, Provo's Fall Fiddlefest will host almost 25 bands throughout the day and feature some of the best local folk and bluegrass music in the area.

The Fall Bluegrass Fiddle Fest provides musicians of all proficiency levels an opportunity to showcase their musical abilities in a performance setting.

Groups of all sizes and ability levels are invited to perform three tunes on stage. No entry fees are required, however you will need to reserve your spot by contacting Sheri Cluff at (801) 471-7008 or via email at sacluff@msn.com

The Fall Fiddle Fest will be held in the auditorium of the Tahitian Noni Building at Riverwoods in Provo, Utah (333 West River Park Drive) on Saturday, November 14, 2009. Performances begin at 1:00 PM and continue throughout the day. Check the schedule for a complete listing of performers and times.

At 7:00 PM, an evening concert featuring bluegrass bands Firefly, Silver Rails, and Engines of Commotion will entertain the crowd.

Tickets will be sold at the door:
$1 for the afternoon performances
$5 per person or $25 per family for an all event pass, or the evening concert.

We invite everyone to join us for a full day of boot-stompin' good music. For more information, visit http://www.fiddlefest.net/

Fall Fiddle Fest 2009 Schedule
1:00 Old Time Fiddlers
1:12 Gimpy and the Girls
1:24 Springville HS
1:36 Springville HS
1:48 Kaelei Corbridge
2:00 Lindsay Davis Fiddlers
2:12 Rocky Mountain Thunder
2:24 Mike Hinckley
2:36 Flying Nancy’s
2:48 Musicians Guild
3:00 Lucky Crickets
3:12 Dan Steinbagle
3:24 Klezmore
3:36 BYU Tour group
3:48 Stairwell migration
4.00 Celtic - MJ
4:12 Whistle pig
4:24 Bittersweet Bluegrass
4:36 Breanne Ackerman
4:48 Natalie’s Bluegrass Group
5:00 Holly Robbins
5:12 Robby Sorenson - Bluegrass group
5:24 O'Conaly's Fright
Evening Concert

7:00 Firefly
7:30 Silver Rails
8:10 Engines of Commotion


333 West River Park Driv
Provo, UT 84604

Driving Directions

From I-15 take the Orem Center Street exit.

Head east (towards the mountains) on Center Street all the way through Orem.

As Center Street drops down into Provo (just before the Shops at Riverwoods), you will turn left at the 300 West stop light.

Drive less than a block north and you will see the building.

Guest Artists

Engines of Commotion

The Engines of Commotion formed in 2009 after playing together in different Utah folk groups during the previous four years. Influenced by the revolutionary folk of the '60's, traditional Americana, and progressive acoustic music, the Engines smartly combine the American folk legacy with an energetic stage presence and a flair of originality to create a soulful and entertaining style.

Silver Rails

“Silver Rails” is one of Utah's newest up and coming Bluegrass groups. With State champions Dan Riggs on fiddle and Sarah Cluff on mandolin and guitar, they are joined by 1st place Old Time Fiddler Junior winner, Leah Cluff on fiddle, Sheri Cluff on guitar and banjo, Daniel Cluff on banjo, guitar and bass, and Emma Cluff on bass and percussion. The band enjoys playing many types of bluegrass music, adding their own unique style. From very traditional instrumentals and vocals to celtic pieces and originals, their variety sets them apart.


Firefly is a teenage band that performs a wide range of music: Celtic, American, and folk with a contemporary flavor. There are five members of Firefly: Abbi Mitchell, Alina Geslison, Isaac Geslison, Brianna Joy, and Grace Dayton. They range in age from 13 to 19.

Alina, Isaac, and Grace have competed in multiple state and national championships, having won numersous titles in these competitions. Alina and Grace are currently the 2009 National Old Time Fiddle Association Twin Fiddle champions. Each band member plays a variety of instruments.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Volunteers Help Wetlands Preserve Preserve bounce back

Moab -- On Oct. 24, a bunch of volunteers assembled behind the Archway Inn in Moab. The team was armed with shovels, water buckets and a lot of determination.

Their mission? Plant more than 2,000 native plants at the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve, which was ravaged by fire last fall.

The team focused its efforts on the north side of the preserve.

A successful day
The group’s determination and hard work paid off. Workers, both young and old, successfully planted 2,022 native plants. The plants included trees, shrubs and grasses.

The shovel brigade included a bunch of students from Kelly Wilson’s science class from Grand County Middle School. The students were especially helpful. The work party also included residents of Moab, personnel from The Nature Conservancy and the Division of Wildlife Resources, and people from towns as far away as Park City and Grand Junction.

Another planting project is scheduled for this Saturday, Nov. 7. This project will focus on the south side of the preserve. The Nature Conservancy hopes to attract scout groups, church groups and environmentally-minded people who care about the preserve and want to help rehabilitate it.

If you’d like to help, meet at the TNC parking lot on Kane Creek Boulevard in Moab at 9 a.m.

On Oct. 21 and 22, 2008, a fire charred more than 400 acres at the Matheson Wetlands Preserve. In addition to destroying vegetation, the fire destroyed trail systems, boardwalks and the preserve’s wildlife-viewing blind.

Formerly known as the Moab Sloughs, the preserve was established in 1990. It encompasses more than 895 acres. This unique system represents the largest intact wetlands on the Colorado River in Utah. The preserve is home to more than 200 species of birds, amphibians and mammals.

For more information, contact Linda Whitham with The Nature Conservancy at (435) 259-4629 or lwhitham@tnc.org   .

Pheasant Preparation Tips from Camp Chef

Utah's Pheasant Opener begins on Saturday and when prepared properly, nothing beats it this time of year at the table.

Guy Perkins with Camp Chef provides the following tips to prepare a tasty meal.

Pheasant from the Field to the Table
By Guy Perkins, Camp Chef

The first thing you need to do to get a pheasant dinner is well...purchase some pheasant. We prefer to "purchase" them the old fashion way with a gun. (One cocky teenager chose to use his bow and yes he got two....one from the air, kids)

The base is and cast iron are the key to this recipe. After that the seasoning is to your flavor.  I was surprised with the luck I had with the Log Cabin Grub seasoning.

After you clean and cut up your pheasant prepare a flour dredge with your seasoning blended in.

Cover the pheasant with the dredge

I like the solid Crisco vegetable oil and use about a cup of it in a 14 inch dutch oven to brown the pheasant pieces. The 14 inch dutch oven gives me a bit more surface to do more at one time. In this case I was using three pheasants. After all the pieces are brown I load the oven back up with the pheasant and then add a cup of diced onions spread on top. I cover the oven and put it on low low heat. I used the Dutch Oven Cover and in an hour it was fall from the bone time.

I unloaded the Pheasant and place it on a tray in the home oven to stay warm while I made flour gravy from the drippings in the oven. That also helped with oven clean up.

Mashed potatoes, garden peas, bakin powder biscuits topped it all of on the side...and then of course the family.

For more Outdoor Cooking Tips, stop by http://www.campchef.com/