Great American Fork Chili Cook Off

The Great American Fork Chili Cook-Off will test contestant's favorite chili recipes Sat. June 18 at the American Fork, Utah Cal Ranch store, located at 675 South 500 East.

Sponsored by Camp Chef, great prizes will reward contestants receiving the highest marks from judges at the event. Chili enthusiasts interested in competing should call 800-650-2433 x 141 for details. The Camp Chef website it located at

East Canyon offers latest reports on Renovations

Day-use facilities, including picnic areas and boat launching, are now open at East Canyon State Park, although the main campground remains closed as renovation and improvement projects continue.

Water levels are optimum this year and are at their highest point in six years. Camping is available at Big Rock and Rivers Edge campgrounds for $8 per site on a first-come, first-served basis at . Boat parking is available at the south end behind the campsites.

When complete, improvements will include a renovated campground with shelters, power and water hook-ups, and selected sites with full hook-ups, as well as new restrooms with showers. Plans also include a new boat ramp, park concession building, and expansion and improvements of utilities, all new parking areas and interior roads. The renovation is a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Reclamation and Utah State Parks.
National Bike Race scheduled at Antelope Island

Antelope Island State Park hosts the U.S. Cycling Federation national time trail races Tues., June 21 and Mon., June 27. The park will remain open to visitors, however the east side road, Fielding Garr Ranch, Frary Peak, and Mountain View trails will be closed to the public.

At this race, cyclists from all over the nation will compete for the title of National Time Trial Champion. For more information call (801) 773-2941.
Life Jacket Reminder provided

Utah law requires children under 13 to wear a properly-sized life jacket when on a boat. However, it is a safe and smart practice for everyone, including adults, to always wear their life jacket.

Utah boating accident statistics for the past six years indicate that nearly 75 percent of drowning victims from boating accidents would have likely survived, had they been wearing a life jacket. For more boating safety information, call (801) 538-7220.

Wolf Plan Approved for Utah

Utah now has a plan to manage wolves that may one day move in from surrounding states. The Utah Wildlife Board recently approved the plan after hearing from agriculture and conservation group representatives and citizens representing Utah's five public Regional Advisory Councils.

"This plan is an important step in the state of Utah being allowed to manage wolves in a way that benefits the state the most," commented Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. Wolves are currently listed on the federal threatened and endangered species list and all wolf management is handled by the federal government. This leaves Utah with little say in how wolves are managed. Bunnell added, "An important component in getting wolves off the federal list is for states to have regulations that ensure wolves will receive adequate protection if they're taken off the federal list. We feel the plan the Wolf Working Group put together will meet this requirement."

While much of the plan can't be implemented until wolves are taken off the federal list, research and monitoring wolves can begin immediately. Utah's Wolf Management Plan will be available for public review at the DWR's Web site ( ) beginning July 1.

Once wolves are taken off the federal list, ranchers in Utah will be allowed to kill wolves they find killing or harassing their sheep, cattle or other livestock. Ranchers will not be required to obtain a permit to take wolves that kill or harass their livestock. They also will not be required to use non-lethal methods before killing wolves. While non-lethal methods are not required, many ranchers already employ non-lethal methods, such as guard dogs and herders, to protect their livestock. The DWR or the USDA-Wildlife Services will also respond to livestock depredation and may remove wolves following confirmation that wolves have killed livestock. Rancher compensation for lost livestock and funding sources will be determined by the Utah legislature.

Under plan recommendations, livestock owners will be compensated 100 percent for all livestock loss that is either confirmed, probably or possibly linked to wolves. The board also recommends that a system be set up to compensate ranchers for additional animals that may have been lost to wolves but can't be found.

Board members also directed the DWR to determine ways to deal with wolves if they negatively impact big game populations, including deer, elk and bighorn sheep populations not meeting population objectives in the state's management plans. Proposed actions will be taken to the public for comment at a future series of public meetings.

Utah has big game management plans that set various population objectives that the state's deer, elk and bighorn sheep populations must meet. If populations aren't meeting those objectives, more cougars and bears may be taken as one way to try and help the big game populations recover. Wolves could be added to the list of predators that might be taken to help those populations recover. "Any taking of wolves that are impacting a big game population would be done by either the DWR or USDA-Wildlife Services," Bunnell noted.

Board members also passed a recommendation to the Utah legislature that the DWR be provided with additional funding to manage wolves and to mitigate for the impacts wolves may have on Utah's wildlife. An example of mitigation might be additional funding given to the DWR if the agency tried to reestablish a bighorn sheep population and the success of the transplant was affected by wolves. The additional funding would allow the agency to attempt additional transplants.

Bunnell praised the 13-person Wolf Working Group that put the plan together, assembled in the summer of 2003. The group included hunters, wolf advocates, ranchers and others with wolf-related interests."The group should be complimented for tackling a very controversial issue and for being willing to see the process through and compromise where they felt they could. Putting a group like this together is a way of making sure all of the affected parties are represented so you have a plan that's balanced instead of a plan that's biased towards one group or another," he said.

Wolves, which were exterminated in the western United States by 1940, were reintroduced to the greater Yellowstone Park area by the federal government. A total of 66 wolves were released in the area in 1995 and 1996. Since then, the population has expanded to 835 wolves in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. "This wolf population has grown faster than anyone could have imagined," Bunnell concluded. "I believe it's just a matter of time before some of those wolves make their way here."
View Nesting Bald Eagles June 15 and 18

Two adult bald eagles and their three baby eaglets will be the center of attention June 15 and 18 during Division of Wildlife Resources' Watchable Wildlife field trips near the southeast shore of the Great Salt Lake.

These trips will leave at 6 p.m. each evening from the Department of Natural Resources, 1594 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City. There is no cost to participate, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot call Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, at (801) 538-4771.

Participants will follow Walters in their vehicles, traveling on mostly paved roads to the viewing site. He'll have some spotting scopes and binoculars available, but participants who have their own are encouraged to bring them. He advised, "It'll be warm, so dress accordingly, and bring some mosquito spray." Participants are free to leave the viewing site anytime during the evening.

Those who participate will be able to view the first nesting pair of bald eagles documented in northern Utah since 1928. Bald eagles have used the present nest site yearly since 1996. Two eaglets have been successfully raised each year during five of the past 10 years. Three eaglets have been successfully raised each of the remaining five years, including the three eaglets that are being raised this year. "That's a total of 25 eaglets over a 10-year period!" Walters said. "This Great Salt Lake eagle pair is extremely productive."

Walters says bald eagle pairs often nest at the same site each year, and the adult eagles that will be viewed June 15 and 18 are probably the same pair nature enthusiasts have viewed at the site since 1996. The eagles are utilizing a manmade nest built as a replacement for their original nest snag, which was blown to the ground during a windstorm on June 13, 2001.

Walters said the eaglets should be learning to fly in mid-June, so there's a good chance those attending will watch as the eaglets make some of their first flights from their nest and back. The eaglets will be about 11 to 12 weeks old by mid-June. They and their parents should remain at the nest site until early July and will then leave for other areas.

Walters says eagle success in raising young through the years illustrates the quality and importance of the existing streamside and lake habitat within the greater Great Salt Lake area. "We should pledge to continue exercising restraint necessary to ensure habitat is protected and preserved for wildlife across the state," he noted.

In addition to the northern Utah site, Utah has four other active bald eagle nest sites. Two of those sites are near the Colorado River in southeastern Utah and one is near Price in central Utah. A fourth site was found in northeastern Utah last year.
Fish in the Uintas in Great Shape, according to Survey

Fisheries biologists from the Division of Wildlife Resources were recently able to access fishing waters on the North Slope of the Uintas to survey fish populations, which included battling blizzards and icy cold hands. Fortunately, they were rewarded with a discovery that fish in the high country are in great shape.

"We released a brook trout that went nearly four pounds; a really nice fish," said Gordon Edwards, aquatics biologists in the DWR's Northern Region. He and his crew found good populations of healthy fish that Edwards says "any angler would be happy with."

With more than 700 waters with sport fish populations, the Uinta Mountains in northern Utah offer one of the state's best opportunities to fish a variety of waters in one day. Many of these waters are either next to or a short hike from one of Utah's great scenic byways, including the Mirror Lake Highway (SR-150). Abundant recreation opportunities are available in the Uintas, including picnicking, camping, and horseback and all-terrain vehicle riding. Fishing is a perfect companion to them all.

"The Forest Service has developed some great ATV trails in the Uintas," says Bob Witt, DWR conservation officer. "We invite these ATV riders to carry a fishing pole with them to enjoy the great fishing that's available here."

For those who want to venture a little farther and explore backcountry fishing in the Uintas, the DWR publishes a series of booklet entitled "Lakes of the High Uintas." These booklets offer excellent insights from fisheries biologists as to the fish species and camping areas available in the Uintas. The booklets are available at most DWR offices.

For more information about fishing in the Uintas, contact the Division of Wildlife Resources' Springville office at 491-5678, or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Big Game Maps Available Online

It's become easier than ever for big game hunters in Utah to find boundary maps for areas they want to hunt. Maps for all of Utah's big game public hunting units are now available online at the Division of Wildlife Resource's Web site ( ).

The move to create the maps and put them online is part of a continuing effort by the DWR to make it easier for big game hunters to find and understand the state's big game hunting rules. For the past nine months, DWR wildlife biologist and mapping specialist Gary Ogborn has worked with biologists across Utah to create and compile big game hunt boundary maps in a way that allowed the maps to be placed on the DWR's Web site for all to see.

Ogborn completed boundary maps for Utah's antlerless hunts in time for this year's antlerless permit application period, which ends June 20. With the completion of the antlerless hunt boundary maps, all of Utah's big game hunt boundaries are now available online.

An area Ogborn is working on now is the creation of boundary maps for Utah's Cooperative Wildlife Management Units, which are units that consist of private land. "These are important maps because they'll help hunters know the areas they're not supposed to be on," Ogborn said. "Hopefully we'll have them available online before this fall's hunts."

Karen Caldwell, an information technician for the DWR who worked on digitizing maps for the division's Northern Region, is excited about the maps being available online. "It will really help sportsmen see the boundaries and determine if the area they want to hunt in is in that boundary," she said.