Central Utah Wildlife
Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, located at the southern end of the Great Salt Lake Desert, was established in 1959 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering birds. The refuge is named for the native Utah chub that is found throughout the refuge springs and impoundments. Totaling 17,992 acres, the refuge supports 10,000 acres of lush, spring-fed wetlands, a critical habitat in the arid Great Basin. The water from the springs is brackish and warm.
Below we list some other great spots to view wildlife in Central Utah:
- Sanpete Valley is the winter home of numerous Bald Eagles. To spot one of these national treasures, all you have to do is find a large tree. One or more Eagles will likely be perched in the branches. The Fountain Green Annual Bald Eagle Day is a wonderful family opportunity to view bald eagles in their natural setting. Watch them soar the sky and hunt in the fields. Spotting scopes will be set up during the event along with displays and pamphlets. Biologists are available to answer questions. Bring Binoculars and cameras! A high power telephoto lens, however, is a must if you choose to take pictures without disturbing the eagles. The best times to see the greatest number of eagles is usually from late morning to 4 pm. The annual event takes place at the Fish Hatchery 1 mile NW of Fountain Green.
- The Manti-LaSal National Forest and Fish Lake National Forest of Central Utah are known for great wildlife. Large herds of Rocky Mountain Elk are found all over these two forests. Deer, Wild Turkeys, Bear, and Mountain Lion are also found extensively in these forests.
- Winter is a great time to view two of the featured species at Fremont Indian State Park. The park visitor center focuses on Native American Culture; outside, Bald Eagles and mule deer winter in the vicinity. In the summer Yellowbelly marmots and cottontail rabbits, cliff swallows and Red-tailed hawks, plus a variety of snakes and lizards make the region their home. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge is a long drive through the solitude of the Great Salt Lake Desert, but is well worth the trip to view the waterfowl and shorebirds of this wetland oasis. In addition to the swans, geese, ducks, herons, and egrets which are easily seen there, many mammals such as kit foxes, coyotes, badgers, and blacktail jackrabbits may be viewed on occasion.
- One of the signs that winter is on its way out is the annual congregation of Lesser Snow Geese in the area around Delta, Utah. Each February thousands of these beautiful white birds use the fields and waters between Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area and Delta as a rest stop on their northern migration. No other site in Utah offers the chance to see so many snow geese in one place. The sight and sound of thousands of white geese in the air and on the water in such a concentrated condition has got to be one of the most incredible wildlife experiences available.
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