Dredging begins as Willard

Dredging at Willard Bay State Park South Marina has begun and is expected to last four weeks. Due to safety concerns, the South Marina is closed to all public access. Dredging removes sediments that have built up during low water years. Boat launching, day-use and camping are available at the North Marina, Exit 357 off I-15. For more information, call (435) 734-9494.

East Canyon closes for Construction

Beginning Oct. 1, the boat ramp at East Canyon State Park is partially closed due to construction and will close for the season Oct. 15. Access to day-use facilities, including restrooms and shelters, is also limited as they undergo renovation.

Due to limited facilities, day-use fees are waived until further notice. Primitive camping is available at Big Rock Campground on the south end of the lake for $8 per site, per night.

As completion of the new campground, concession building, and restrooms nears, park improvements will focus on the boat ramp, day-use area, yurt/group area, office, and new entrance road. These projects coincide with the off-season and lower lake levels.

Next season, visitors will enjoy an improved campground with shelters, campsites with full and partial hook-ups, and two restrooms with showers in the camp loop. A new concession service will also be in operation with new facilities.
Action Plan approved for at risk Wildlife

Utah's most at-risk wildlife species and the places they live will receive help through an action plan approved recently by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan will help ensure that Utah continues receiving federal money to help this wildlife. It will also provide biologists and others with important information and direction to help them with their on-the-ground work.

The Utah Wildlife Action Plan (also known as the Utah Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy) is the result of more than two years of work by scientists, conservationists (including sportsmen and non-governmental groups) and other members of the community, including ranchers and farmers.

Utah is one of the first states in the nation to have its plan approved by the USFWS. The plan the DWR submitted to the USFWS is available for review at the DWR's Web site (http://www/wildlife.utah.gov). After being reviewed by the USFWS, a couple of minor changes are being made to the plan and will be available at the Web site Sept. 30.

Ralph Morgenweck, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Mountain-Prairie Region, commented, "Fish and wildlife in Utah will benefit from the strategic and science-based planning that went into this plan, which is one of the first wildlife action plans to be approved in the nation. We look forward to working in partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to help prevent Utah's diverse wildlife from becoming threatened or endangered in the future."

Dana Dolsen, wildlife planning manager for the DWR and the person who coordinated Utah's planning effort, added, "If we invest in conserving wildlife habitat now, we can protect these areas for future generations of Utahns and their families. A pro-active approach benefits the health of all wildlife and people, and conserves at-risk wildlife and their habitat before they become more rare and more costly to protect." The health of wildlife is often an early indicator of disease and pollution that affect people too. The Utah Wildlife Action Plan conserves at-risk wildlife and natural places by helping protect clean water and air.

Now that the plan has been approved, the DWR will rely on partnerships to carry it out. "The plan recommends certain actions to benefit at-risk species and their habitats," Dolsen noted. "We need all of our partners to agree on these actions so we can implement them and follow through."

Dolsen says ongoing watershed and rangeland restoration efforts by the Utah Partners for Conservation and Development, a partnership of state and federal agencies and conservation groups, is integral to the plan's success. Actions will be taken over the next 10 years to address the problems at-risk wildlife species face due to threats from a variety of sources, both human and natural. "The outcome of the work will benefit Utah's wildlife, lands and waters, as well as people across the state," he remarked.

DWR Director Jim Karpowitz says another benefit to the plan is that it's cost-effective because it's a cooperative effort involving many partners. "It also helps conserve the places that bring peace and relaxation to our daily lives," he said. "And it shows us how to cooperatively conserve the wildlife and natural places that are important to many of the family traditions we have in Utah. "Utahns need to come together now to invest money and practice stewardship of our wildlife and natural areas."

Hunters Should See More Spike Bull Elk This Season

Hunters who get off the roads and into the backcountry should see more spike bull elk this season as Utah's 2005 general rifle bull elk hunt kicks off Oct. 8. "2004 was a great year for elk in Utah. Lots of elk were born that spring, and most of those calves made it through this past winter,"
reports Craig McLaughlin, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Hunters should see a lot of spike bulls this fall."

That's a big change from 2000 to 2003, when drought conditions forced the DWR to issue more cow elk permits to try and keep elk populations within numbers their habitat could support. Wet weather during the past year-and-a-half has provided excellent forage for elk and the DWR has been able to issue fewer cow elk permits.

More calves were born during the spring of 2004 and most of those calves survived this past winter, which will provide more yearling bulls for hunters this fall. "Currently, there's about 59,000 elk in Utah, so we're closing in on our goal of 68,400 elk," McLaughlin announced. "If these wet winters and springs continue, elk numbers should continue to climb."

Unless it gets cold and snowy over the next couple of weeks, McLaughlin says elk will be at higher elevations and will be scattered when the season opens Oct. 8. To find the animals, hunters need to get out of their vehicles and into the backcountry areas where the elk are. "Elk are smart, wary and sensitive to hunting pressure," he advised. "As soon as the shooting starts on opening day, they head into backcountry areas and into the thickest cover they can find. If you
want to find success, you've got to head into the backcountry areas and find them."

The most important reminder McLaughlin has is for hunters using off-highway vehicles. "If you'll be using an off-highway vehicle, it's critical that you obtain an OHV riding map for the area you'll be hunting. These maps are available from the agency -- usually the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management -- that manages the land you'll be hunting. We're receiving more and more complaints that OHVs are being taken into areas where it isn't legal to use them. Taking OHVs into these areas damages the habitat elk depend on, disturbs and scatters the animals and ruins the hunting experience for other hunters."

McLaughlin also encourages hunters to do some preseason scouting and to check the boundary descriptions for the areas they'll be hunting. Boundary descriptions are found in the 2005 Utah Big Game Proclamation. The proclamation is available at the DWR Web site

( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov )
and from hunting license agents and DWR offices.

Hunters are encouraged to buy their permit as soon as possible. As of Sept. 21, more than 6,900 spike bull elk permits and 8,200 any bull elk permits were still available, but DWR officials expect them to go fast. "The number of spike bull elk permits has been cut this year, from
19,000 in 2004 to 11,000 this year," reported, Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR. "Last year we sold more than 13,000 spike bull elk permits. Since only 11,000 are available this year, we expect they'll sell out. I'd encourage elk hunters to buy their permit as soon as possible."

Permits may be purchased at the DWR Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov ), at DWR offices and from more than 200 hunting license agents across the state. Hunters who purchase a permit at the Web site are reminded that it will take about a week for their permit to arrive in the mail. They need to buy their permit far enough in advance that it will arrive before they leave for their hunt. For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Two New Members Appointed to Utah Wildlife Board

Two new members have been appointed to the seven-member board that approves all of Utah's hunting, fishing and wildlife-related rules. Gov. Jon Huntsman recently appointed Keele Johnson of Blanding and Rick Woodard of Provo to the Utah Wildlife Board. They replace Max Morgan of Price and Brenda Freeman of Ogden, whose terms expired this year.

Division of Wildlife Resources Director Jim Karpowitz expressed his deep appreciation to Morgan and Freeman for their service. "We will really miss Max and Brenda," he said. "Between the two of them, they served 22 years on the board. Dr. Morgan served as chairman of the
board for 10 years." Karpowitz says he is looking forward to working with the new board
members as well. "I've known Keele and Rick for many years and know them to be extremely competent and knowledgeable about wildlife management and issues."

Keele Johnson- A former Utah state legislator, Johnson currently serves on the Blanding City Council. He has years of experience working with private landowners and Native American tribes. He also enjoys fishing and has worked hard to improve fisheries for families in the Blanding area.

As a Utah State representative, Johnson served on both the Natural Resources Standing and Appropriations committees, where he learned a great deal about wildlife issues and the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Rick Woodard- A former chairman of the citizen regional wildlife advisory council in
central Utah, Woodard is an avid hunter and angler. In addition to his new board assignment, Woodard is co-chair of the Strawberry Valley Sage Grouse Working Group, which is working to protect sage-grouse in the Strawberry Valley in central Utah.

In 1999, Woodard started a push to lengthen the amount of time a person can have their hunting license privileges suspended for wildlife poaching violations. That push led to the passage in 2001 of House Bill 318, which increased the length of time for hunting license
Cougar Hunting Applications now available

Applications to hunt cougars on limited entry areas during Utah's 2005 - 2006 season are now available with a total of 143 permits offered. Applications are available from hunting and fishing license agents statewide, Division of Wildlife Resources offices and the DWR's Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov ).

To be entered in the 2005 - 2006 Utah Cougar Draw, mail-in applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 12. Applications submitted through the DWR's Web site must be received no later than 11 p.m. on Oct. 12. Hunters who have a major credit card are encouraged to apply on the Web site. "That's the quickest and easiest way to apply," suggests Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR.

Hunters who don't have a major credit card must mail their application in. To avoid missing the 5 p.m., Oct. 12 cut-off date, Tutorow encourages applicants to obtain an application and mail it in as soon as possible. Tutorow also reminds hunters that if they draw a permit for a limited
entry area, they may not purchase a permit to hunt on a harvest objective area. "Before applying for a limited entry permit, hunters need to decide which hunt they want to participate in," she noted.

Draw results will be posted by Nov. 16 at DWR offices and the DWR Web site. For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.