Posted Friday, 31 May 2013 14:50
DWR hosts free June 15 viewing event
Sunnyside — Those who live in Sunnyside share their town with some unique neighbors: A herd of wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep!
The annual bighorn sheep watch in Sunnyside provides a unique chance to get close to Rocky Mountain bighorn rams.
Photo by Brent Stettler
You can enjoy what those in Sunnyside get to enjoy at a free wildlife viewing event. The Division of Wildlife Resources will host the event on June 15.
Biologists will be available from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to help you locate the animals and to answer your questions. Late afternoon until dusk is usually the best time to see the sheep.
Sunnyside bighorn sheep herd
If you attend the event, you can expect to see about 25 rams that spend part of the year living in town.
Each year, the sheep spend the summer in the general vicinity of the Sunnyside fire station and the cliffs that surround the area near the station. They drink water at Grassy Trail Creek and eat native and reclaimed vegetation in the area.
This band of bighorns is used to cars and people, so you can observe and photograph the sheep at close range.
Brent Stettler, a DWR regional conservation outreach manager, says spotting scopes and binoculars will be available for you to use. "But if you have your own optics," he says, "please bring them."
The viewing event is free, and Stettler encourages everyone to attend. You can view the sheep from the road, so if you have physical challenges, you don't need to worry about hiking or walking to see them.
Stettler has some requests for those who attend the event. "Please leave your dog at home," he says. "Dogs can startle the sheep."
Loud voices can have the same effect. "Please encourage those you bring with you to speak quietly as they view the sheep," he says.
Stettler says it's also important to remember that the sheep are wild. Their behavior and whereabouts can't be predicted or guaranteed. "There's always the possibility that they won't appear as hoped for on June 15," he says.
Sunnyside is less than 20 miles east of Price. To reach the town from Price, travel southeast on U.S. Highway 6 to its junction with state Route 123, which is the East Carbon/Sunnyside junction. Turn east on Route 123; this road will take you into Sunnyside.
Once you're in the town, signs will guide you to the viewing area.
If you need gasoline or food, there's a gas station in East Carbon and a grocery store in Sunnyside.
Viewing continues through the summer
If you can't attend the event on June 15, don't be discouraged. Stettler says you can drive to Sunnyside another day.
"The sheep stay in the same general area until early fall," Stettler says. "You can often see them near the road at the far side of the town or in the canyon beyond the town.
"Although seeing the band of sheep is a gamble any time you go," he says, "late afternoon until dark are the best times to try."
For more information, contact Stettler at 435-613-3707 or
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