Want to try something new this year? Here are 5 DWR facilities that offer a unique experience
Salt Lake City — 2020 started not only a new year, but also a new decade. If you made a resolution to learn a new skill, expand your knowledge or experience something new this year, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has five facilities that offer a variety of unique activities you should check out.
Great Basin Research Center and Seed Warehouse
This unique facility was built in 2004 in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. As its name suggests, the warehouse stores all the seed for replanting after wildfires and for other habitat restoration projects. It can store up to 1.2 million pounds of seed at a time. The different types of seeds are mixed, bagged and then shipped to the various areas across Utah for planting. Plant and habitat research is also conducted at the facility, and you can also see the various tools and equipment used in habitat restoration.
You can schedule a tour of the facility by contacting the facility coordinator at 435-283-4441. Tours are by appointment only. The seed warehouse is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is located at 494 W. 100 South in Ephraim.
Eccles Wildlife Education Center
If you want to experience some exceptional bird-watching along the Wasatch Front, plan a trip to the DWR's George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center, located at 1157 S. Waterfowl Way in Farmington. The center has a 1.6-mile nature trail that visitors can stroll along to spot birds and enjoy the wetlands. The staff also can show you the different areas of the facility and offer information about the importance of the wetlands for different bird species.
"Visiting the education center and surrounding wetlands can ignite life-long curiosity. It's exciting to see people learn more about nature — and come to respect it — during their trips to the center and adventures in our wetlands," DWR center coordinator Billy Fenimore said.
The center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but you can walk the trails during daylight hours even when the buildings are closed. Visit the DWR website to see the education center's schedule of upcoming events and tours on the nature trail.
The Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area, located in Blacksmith Fork Canyon near Hyrum, is a great place to visit and see wildlife year-round, but especially during the winter. Each year, the ranch offers sleigh rides through herds of hundreds of elk from December to February.
"The sleigh rides provide an opportunity for the public to see wildlife that are normally not so easily seen and photographed," Ranch Manager Brad Hunt said. "It's a great activity for the whole family."
The visitor center will be open and sleigh or wagon rides will run — on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only — until Feb. 9. On Fridays, rides through the herd will be offered from noon to 4:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, rides will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The sleigh rides are roughly 25 minutes, and you can purchase tickets onsite on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about the rides and see ticket prices on the DWR website.
Lee Kay Public Shooting Range
Whether you are an experienced target shooter or you have never held a firearm before, this is a great place to do some recreational target shooting or to get in some practice before a hunt. It has a variety of amenities, including ranges for handgun, rimfire, muzzleloader and rifle use; trap shooting; skeet shooting and an archery range.
The range is located at 6000 W. 2100 South in Salt Lake City. It is open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The shotgun ranges and archery fields stay open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is $5 for an adult day pass and $2 for a youth day pass (for those 15 and younger). Fees for trap and skeet rounds are listed on the DWR website.
Cache Valley Public Shooting Range
Located at 2851 W. 200 North Valley View Highway 30 in Logan, this shooting range also has a wide variety of amenities. It offers rifle ranges, trap shooting, skeet shooting, an outdoor archery field (which is closed seasonally during the winer) and an indoor archery range (which also offers cosmic archery, a glow-in-the dark shooting opportunity). There are also outdoor handgun ranges, and an indoor shooting range for .22 caliber firearms. If you are looking for a new experience or maybe looking to expand a hobby, this facility can help with both.
"A lot of people are not sure of the difference between some of the activities," shooting range manager Andy Hunter said. "Many people think that 'trap' and 'skeet' are the same thing and are surprised when we show them the difference. We have many different ranges where you can shoot a variety of firearms, and we want everyone to have a positive experience."
During the summer (April to October), the range is open Wednesday to Friday from 3–8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the winter months (November to March), the range is open Wednesday to Friday from 3–7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for an adult day pass and $2 for a youth day pass (for those 15 and younger.) Fees for trap and skeet rounds are listed on the DWR website.