Winter Adventure Guide: A winter wonderland for all to enjoy |

Winter Adventure Guide: A winter wonderland for all to enjoy

Swaner EcoHost Katie Ercanbrack, left, gives a brief history of the Swaner Preserve to snowshoers during a morning tour Saturday, January 4, 2020.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Winter on the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter is filled with wonderland adventure and fun.

An array of wildlife including elk, deer, foxes, hares, and birds find their way to the 1,200-acre expanse.

The public can learn about and even see some of these animals by scheduling a snowshoe tour or taking binoculars to Swaner’s observation deck between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, said Hunter Klingensmith, the visitor experience and exhibit manager at Swaner, which is located at 1258 Center Drive near Kimball Junction.

Individuals and/or groups can book a tour by visiting, Klingensmith said.

“Once they’re scheduled, we’ll have the snowshoes for them to rent and get them out on the preserve with one of our naturalists,” she said.

These tours, which run between one and two hours, explore wetland science, local plant and animal species, and the 1,200-acre preserve’s history. They are open to people of all ages — children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult — and can be tailored to the needs of the groups.
Because of COVID-19, face coverings are required by staff and participants. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the tour. Unfortunately, restrooms are not available on site.

Along with the snowshoe tours, the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter offers a virtual Little Naturalist Story Times on various days from 10-11 a.m. on Facebook. Check for an updated schedule.

In addition to these continuing events, the EcoCenter will open a traveling exhibit, “Water/Ways,” which will run through March 27. The exhibit is presented by the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institute and the Utah Humanities Council’s Safe Water Utah program, Klingensmith said.

“The exhibit dives into water and shows how it affects us not only environmentally, but culturally and historically as well,” she said. “It also addresses how we, as humans, impact water.”

Klingensmith has been busy scheduling family activities, lectures and outdoor activities that will complement the exhibit, she said.
Speaking of complementing “Water/Ways,” the Swaner EcoCenter has also opened a permanent exhibit, “Why Wetlands?”

“‘Why Wetlands?’ is about the history of the wetlands on the Swaner Preserve, the restoration practices, the plants and animals found on the preserve, and the different habitats that are located within the wetlands,” Klingensmith said. “It’s a video-focused exhibit and people can select which one they want to watch and learn about.”

The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter officially opened in 1993, and the 1,200 acres, which include 10 miles of trails, are protected in perpetuity, according to Klingensmith.

The organization’s mission is to preserve the land, educate the community about the value of nature and nurture the ecosystem and those who connect with it, she said.

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