Wildlife in our midst
While Park City isn’t quite Yellowstone, there’s plenty of wildlife watching to be done here. You might catch sight of a deer, moose, elk, coyote, eagle, and many more on the mountain. It can be a trip bonus, but remember that these are still wild animals, and you need to respect them and give them some room. In fact it’s not at all unusual to see a moose wandering down Park City’s Main Street, or munching on some pricey landscaping as the temperatures drop. They’re beautiful, majestic, but not all that friendly. There are others out there it’s best to avoid as well, including skunks, badgers, porcupines, cougars, and foxes. Grab your binoculars or spotting scope and watch the bald eagles fishing for their breakfasts along the Weber and Provo rivers, or catch a sight of herds of elk grazing along the barren ridges.
Here are a few pointers from Wild Aware Utah, a local educational program that will let you go back home with photographs, not bruises.
- Be alert at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active.
- Never approach, feed, or try to touch wildlife.
- Always jog, hike or bike with a companion.
- Stay on designated trails. Wildlife usually stays clear of areas where humans frequent.
- Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
- Refrain from wearing headphones, which can block out the sounds of nearby wildlife.
- Keep kids in the center of the group.
- Do not leave litter on the trail.
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it properly.
- Keep dogs leashed and do not let dogs “play” with wildlife. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to harass wildlife.
- Stay clear of animal carcasses near trails. They could be kills that are being guarded.
- Avoid placing yourself between a mother and her offspring. Give wildlife a lot of space.
Humans are great sources of food for wild critters, and can even mistake your pet for prey. Dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and goats can be at risk from larger predators like coyotes, foxes, or cougars. To keep them safe:
- Keep pet vaccinations current.
- Supervise pets when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
- Keep housecats indoors, especially at night.
- Keep outdoor pets and small livestock in fully enclosed pens, coops or barns at night.
- Install heavy duty latches or locks on barn or pen doors.
- Use motions sensor lights to deter wildlife from entering your yard.
- Install fences around your property.
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