Hardware Wildlife Management Area — located at the top of Blacksmith Fork Canyon in northern Utah — provides habitat supporting a variety of wildlife species, as well as public access for wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.
Feeding and studying elk
During the winter months, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources feeds between 500 and 600 Rocky Mountain elk in the big meadow near Hardware's Wildlife Education Center each day. The grass hay used to feed the elk — approximately 300 tons — is grown on the WMA throughout the summer.
Also during the winter, DWR employees use the WMA's trapping facilities to capture some of the elk before weighing them and attaching ear tags. The DWR uses the ear tags to identify individual elk and study population characteristics. We also test a representative sample of elk each year for brucellosis and, occasionally, tuberculosis.
Visitors can access the Wildlife Education Center and two outside viewing areas to observe the elk.
An annual Elk Festival celebrates the start of the winter elk-viewing season and is a free, family-friendly activity that typically includes crafts, "mountain men" demonstrations, elk-calling classes and competitions.
Scenic, 180-degree vistas from the education center provide visitors with a bird's-eye view of the big meadow below. There are opportunities to learn about elk and other wildlife species through an assortment of exhibits, displays and a take-home activity guide and map.
In addition to the wildlife around the education center, fishing opportunities abound. Licensed anglers can catch several trout species in the nearly 15 miles of streams and rivers on the WMA.