Wild About Utah
Summary: Wild About Utah is a weekly nature series produced by Utah Public Radio in cooperation with Stokes Nature Center, Bridgerland Audubon Society, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Cache Valley Wildlife Association, Utah State University and Utah Master Naturalist Program - USU Extension. More about Wild About Utah can be found here . Utah is a state endowed with many natural wonders from red rock formations to salt flats. And from desert wetlands to columns of mountains forming the basin and range region. When we look closer, nature is everywhere including just outside our door. Hear the wonders of Utah: plants, animals, geologic formations; ancient, present; terrestrial, avian and aquatic. Brought to you by the Moab Area Travel Council .
The haze above Cache Valley begins to dissipate after weeks of hovering low and thick like a winter inversion, even as the Goring and Hansel Point Fires rage on just west of the Wellsville Mountains that bookend the valley. Both blazes, just two of the more than ten active fires in the state, are still less than 50% contained. Farmers and ranchers in Box Elder County are now doubling as volunteer fire crews.
Piute Farm's waterfall is a 25-ft high cascade that has formed along the San Juan River and spans its entire width. The location is a remote spot in an upstream arm of Lake Powell reservoir.
I just returned from two weeks in the Peruvian Andes conducting fieldwork on high elevation wetlands and how they were responding to impacts from livestock grazing in a changing climate. We were in the Huascaran National Park, the highest part of the Andes with many peaks soaring above 20,000 feet.
In the past decade, over 45,000 acres of land in southern Utah have had conservation treatments by removing the encroaching pinyon-juniper forest and allowing the native grasses and sagebrush to return.
If you are fortunate to live, or even work, near trees enjoy the many benefits they provide. Perhaps you learned something about them in a biology class you took long ago. But do you know what kind of trees you are looking at now? Consider a few basic elementary tips to help you identify what you are observing. And please understand this will be a generalization.
Summer’s heat has turned on. It was evident in a dramatic fashion as I ran a ridge in N. Utah where the early am temps were near 70 degrees, flowers had faded, and the absence of birdsong.
In the early 1900s, moose began expanding south into Utah from Wyoming. This moose sub-species was named in honor of [Congressman] George Shiras III who explored Yellowstone in the early 1900’s and found large numbers of moose.
As human populations increase and construction developments overtake agricultural land and wildlife habitat, some people may feel as if there is little hope for local connections to nature. Don’t raise the white flag of surrender. There is much you can do in your own yards to help attract wild songbirds and butterflies.
My wife and I paddled our kayak gingerly into the eaves of a limestone cliff, our eyes scanning its face for some sort of concavity or movement where there was none. “I don’t see where she could possibly be,” my wife confessed. She was right. We knew we had found the right rock, soiled as it was with bird refuse, but there was nowhere for the nest to lie it seemed.
I doubt there was a song left unsung as I worked my way up Birch Canyon early am. Testosterone laden birds filled the morning with delight. Robins, finches, meadowlarks, song sparrows- what a marvelous symphony! I breathed deeply to fully absorb air filled with titillating odors from last night’s gentle spring rain- nature’s perfume, free and priceless.
There are people who can capture beautiful scenery by painting on canvas, using film photography, and with digital technology. And these forms of art can be visually stunning. But there is a unique perspective of visualizing when written words are read, allowing one’s mind to see not only the exterior of a scene but the interior heart intended by the writer.
Those unfamiliar with the history of the Utah’s wetlands may see Phragmites and say, “What a beautiful, elegant plant! It looks so graceful blowing along the shore.” However, the plant’s attractiveness and ability to absorb pollutants may not compensate for its negative impacts.
Glyph: a word that might evoke images in the mind of ancient Egyptian pictures recounting the trials and triumphs of pharaohs and their people; or Native American rock art meaningfully pecked into a sandstone wall, directing desert travelers toward water. There are others, too, all around us, hiding in plain sight. They are perhaps less noticed because they are not made by humans, but instead by the elements and the wilds. I call them wilderglyphs.
In the 1970s, many feared Utah’s native fish, the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, was extinct. A search began and in a short time, with a sigh of relief, state managers were able to report the Bonneville cutthroat trout was still in Utah’s rivers and streams, but the sub-species was imperiled and had experienced dramatic reductions in abundance and distribution rangewide.
Most people could probably name the state bird or the state tree, but what about the state gem? The state grass? State fruit? Do you know why they are important to Utah? Here are just a few of Utah’s State Symbols that you might not have known.