Astronomy Day and Observatory Grand Opening announced

The Salt Lake Astronomical Society invites everyone to celebrate International Astronomy Day, April 16, at their Stansbury Park Observatory Complex. This year's event will be made extra special with the grand opening of the society's new Harmons Observatory, which houses one of the largest telescopes regularly available to the public. Several smaller telescopes will also be available for use on the observatory grounds.

Activities begin at 4 p.m. with observatory tours, solar viewing, children's games, presentations and door prizes. Dr. Karl Haisch Jr., professor of astronomy at Utah Valley State College, will discuss "Star Formation: Disks, Jets and Planets." Professor Haisch has published approximately 25 papers on circumstellar disks, molecular outflows and planet searches.

All activities are free. Souvenir T-shirts, ball caps, star charts and food concessions will be available for purchase until dusk and as the skies begin to grow dark, the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter will take center stage. Later, countless galaxies, nebulae and star clusters will be available for viewing.

The observatory is located at 15 Plaza in Stansbury Park and can be reached by taking Interstate 80 west from Salt Lake City to the Stansbury / Tooele exit (#99) and then following the signs south, first to Stansbury Park and then to the observatory. Drive time from downtown Salt Lake City is approximately 35 minutes. A detailed map is available on the society's web site at All activities are scheduled, weather permitting.

Camp Floyd Hosts Open House and Reunion

Camp Floyd/ Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum invites the public to celebrate with them as they reopen the historic Fairfield Schoolhouse Sat., April 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. This event is open and free to the public. Admission fees to the museum are also waived for the day.

Events begin with the ringing of the school bell by 99-year old Ethel Meacham, who taught classes here in 1925. She will then share stories about her experiences in the schoolhouse. Mock school sessions await throughout the afternoon providing the public an opportunity to experience a one-room school setting by sitting in period school desks, working on chalk slates, and having a teacher in period attire.

Other activities include recess games and toys of the time period. Visitors can play graces, hoops, jacks, marbles and other games. Many of the toys and games will be available for purchase at the event. Light refreshments will be served.

The schoolhouse, which was constructed in 1898, was recently renovated and restored to provide today's students with a one-room schoolhouse living history experience. The schoolhouse is available to all Utah school classes to visit and experience the living history of early education first hand. The schoolhouse is also available for weddings, family reunions and private parties. For more information, call (801) 768-8932.
Dutch Oven Classes and Cookoff announced

Dutch Oven enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about this traditional form or cooking are invited to participate in upcoming classes and contests awaiting at This is the Place State Park.

The Liberty Days Dutch Oven Cookoff is scheduled Sat., July 2, but applications are due June 4 with space limited to 15 teams. For more information or to obtain a competition application, contact Loni Manning at (801) 924-7536. Cost for contestants is $30 plus ingredients and equipment. Cash prizes and gift awards will be given to the winners, with all teams receiving a prize for participating.

Public attendance to the cook-off is free with the price of admission to the Liberty Days Celebration ($8 Adults, $6 Children/seniors). A cookbook, highlighting contest recipes will be sold during the Festival. Dutch Oven concessions will be available during the Festival and cooking demonstrations will be offered throughout the day by members of the International Dutch Oven Society.

In partnership with the University of Utah's Academic Outreach and Continuing Education department, Dutch Oven cooking classes are available, June 18 and 25 from10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at This is the Place Heritage Park's, Huntsman Hotel, located at 2601 E. Sunnyside Avenue in Salt Lake City. Fees are $79 plus a $20 special fee.

Instructor Bruce Kejr has more than 30 years experience as a chef. He owns and operates Dutch Oven Specialities and handles all of the catering at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Day one will cover basics of making a Mountain-man breakfast omelet and biscuits, a lunch soup or stew, and cobbler. Day two, will focus on preparing main courses such as lasagna, meatballs, Parmesan chicken, a potato side dish, and a baked dessert. Participants will also learn how to care for cast iron cookware.

Those interested are invited to register online at , by phone at (801) 581-6464 or (801) 587-5433, by mail at Lifelong Learning, Academic Outreach and Continuing Education, 1901 E. South Campus Dr., Rm. 1175, SLC, Utah 84112-9395. Registration can also be done in person at Annex Building room 1175 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Seasonal Trail Closures announced for Antelope Island

To protect sensitive bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope habitat areas, two popular trails are temporarily closed at Antelope Island State Park. From April 25 through May 20, the Frary Peak Trail at Antelope Island is closed to the public throughout the bighorn sheep lambing season. Also, the Mountain View Trail, from the north trailhead to the Frary Peak Trail junction, is closed May 16 through June 10 for pronghorn fawning season. All other backcountry trails remain open to the public.

To reach Antelope Island State Park, take Exit 335 off I-I5, drive west along Antelope Drive to the park entrance gate. April park hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and entrance fees are $8 per vehicle. For more information, call (801) 773-2941.

More Young Hunters Could Be Hunting Antlerless Big Game This Fall

Twenty percent of Utah's antlerless elk, deer and pronghorn permits could be set aside for youth hunters under age of 18 if recommendations from the Division of Wildlife Resources are approved, following upcoming public meetings. The Central Region meeting is scheduled April 19 at 6:30 p.m in Springville Junior High School, located at 165 S. 700 E. in Springville.

The DWR is also recommending decreasing the number of doe deer and cow elk permits available for hunts in Utah this fall. Those who attend the meetings can learn more about these proposals and may provide DWR biologists with suggestions. Citizen Regional Advisory Council representatives will take the public feedback to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets April 28 in Salt Lake City to approve Utah's 2005 Antlerless Addendum.

Setting aside 20 percent of this fall's antlerless elk, deer and pronghorn permits for hunters under the age of 18 is the primary recommendation to be presented at the meetings. If all of those permits aren't taken by youth hunters, these permits would then be available to hunters over the age of 18.

Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the DWR, reported, "The number of young people who are becoming hunters has been declining for years, and we're concerned about that trend. Hunters and anglers provide most of the funding to manage wildlife that everyone in Utah gets to enjoy. As the number of hunters continues to drop, the amount of funding to manage Utah's wildlife will continue to drop too."

He added, "Hunting is also a great outdoor activity, and we want to do everything we can to bring young people into the hunting ranks. One thing we believe is driving young people away is the difficulty in drawing a permit to hunt. Setting aside 20 percent of these permits will give youth hunters a better chance of drawing a permit."

Setting aside 20 percent of antlerless permits for youth hunters was recommended to the DWR by Utah's Elk Advisory Committee. The committee consists of 14 citizens and includes representatives from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Utah Wildlife Federation and the Utah Bowman's Association.

The DWR also will recommend decreasing the number of doe deer and cow elk permits available for this fall, and slightly increasing the number of doe pronghorn and cow moose permits.
Karpowitz says DWR biologists are seeing some encouraging signs with Utah's deer populations. The total number of deer after last fall's hunting seasons was estimated at 286,705 animals, an increase of almost 20,000 from the 268,180 estimated after the 2003 hunts.

"Wetter weather the past couple of years has improved habitat for deer, and the numbers of fawns that are making it to adulthood has increased during that time," he said. "Also, with the exception of parts of Cache and Rich counties, this past winter was ideal for deer across the state. We're conducting our spring deer surveys right now, and we don't anticipate that we'll find very many deer were lost this past winter.

"Even with all the positive news, there's still a long ways to go before Utah's deer populations will be at the 426,100 animals called for in the state's Deer Management Plan," he noted. "Reducing the number of does taken this fall should help increase that number."

Karpowitz also said that while the state's elk population is doing great, it's still about 9,000 animals below a statewide objective of 68,400 elk. "We want to reduce cow elk permits slightly to continue bringing elk herds closer to that objective," he concluded. For more information about the April 19 meeting, contact the Springville Division of Wildlife Resources office at (801) 491-5678 or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Ladies to Take Aim at Upcoming Shotgun Clinics

Women across the country are flocking to shooting ranges, eager to learn the art of breaking targets. The Division of Wildlife Resources' "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" program aims to please with two beginning skeet shooting clinics on April 23 and 30, and an advanced skeet shooting clinic on May 1, at the Lee Kay Public Shooting Ranges in Salt Lake City. The ranges are located at 6000 W. 2100 S.

Skeet shooting is more like wing-shooting or bird shooting than trap shooting is. In trap shooting, all the targets originate in a trap house and fly away from the shooter at different angles. In skeet shooting, the targets are launched from two houses, a high house and a low house located on each side of the shooting field. The position of the houses allows targets to cross in front of the shooter at rapid speeds.

Volunteer instructor, Neal Davis, enjoys teaching the enthusiastic groups of women who come to the BOW skeet clinics. According to Davis, the ladies are always eager to learn and they listen carefully to the instruction offered. Safe and proper gun handling is the first skill taught, and it continues throughout the clinic as the ladies learn proper stance, gun mount, hold points, break points, how to lead targets and more.

"It was an amazing feeling to break my first target," commented one housewife and mother who attended a BOW skeet clinic last fall. Another participant, an avid trap shooter, said she was surprised to find that skeet was more exciting than trapshooting. She also said she enjoyed learning a new set of shotgun skills through the BOW skeet clinics.

Ladies, interested in experiencing the thrill of breaking targets or gaining the satisfaction of learning a new shotgun discipline, are encouraged to sign up for one of the upcoming BOW skeet clinics. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information, contact volunteer BOW coordinator Nancy Hoff at (801) 560-9605 or email her at . Visit on the Web and click on "outreach" for information about other upcoming BOW events.
Reward Offered in Golden Eagle Killing

The Division of Wildlife Resources is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting and killing a golden eagle in the Pinnacle Peak area just west of Price. The shooting occurred in mid-March.

"There is no excuse for this type of senseless killing," asserted DWR Sergeant Carl Gramlich. "The wanton destruction of this majestic bird tarnishes the image of all gun owners and sportsmen. It makes us all look bad."

Golden eagles are common year-round residents in Castle Country. By mid-March, many pairs of eagles are incubating eggs. The shooting of an adult usually results in nest failure and the loss of chicks that may have been raised by the pair of eagles.

Anyone with information on this or any poaching incident is encouraged to call the DWR office in Price at (435) 636-0277 or the DWR's Help Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337).

The caller's identity will be held in strict confidence, or the caller can choose to remain anonymous. The DWR asks that the caller provide enough detail to help substantiate the validity of the information they provide.