Have Fun, See Wild Elk

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This year's Elk Festival will be held at the Hardware Ranch WMA on Dec. 10. The WMA opens for its winter season that same weekend.

DWR Press Release

Elk festival happens Dec. 10

Hyrum — You and your family can participate in several outdoor activities at this year’s Elk Festival. And, if wild elk are pushed into the ranch by cold and snowy weather, you might have a chance to take a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride through the middle of the herd.

The festival will be held at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area on Saturday, Dec. 10. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Except for a fee to ride a horse-dawn sleigh or wagon through the meadow at the WMA ($5 for those 9 years of age or older, or $3 for those 4 to 8 years old), all of the festival activities are free.

You can reach the WMA by traveling 18 miles east of Hyrum on state Route 101.

You can pay for a sleigh or wagon ride with cash, check or a credit card.

Activities

Making Christmas ornaments using sagebrush, bitterbrush and other plants found at the WMA are among the activities your children can participate in. “We’ll also teach you how to turn a pinecone into a bird feeder,” says Nicaela Haig, a wildlife educator at the Hardware Ranch WMA. “And your kids can paint their very own replica of a fish.”

The WMA’s staff is also hoping you’ll see some elk. On Nov 17, Hardware Ranch Manager Brad Hunt said about 150 elk had started visiting the meadows where the sleigh rides are held. “Once we start feeding the elk in December,” he says, “additional elk should come into the meadows.”

Hunt encourages you to bring some binoculars and to dress for all types of weather. “We’ll host the event,” he says, “even if it snows.”

On your way to the ranch, you can enjoy the scenic drive up Blacksmith Fork Canyon. Food is not available at the ranch, but you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat in the lunch area in the auxiliary building at the WMA.

Sleigh rides start Dec. 9

Another chance to take a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride through the middle of hundreds of wild elk starts at the ranch the day before the festival—on Dec. 9.

Starting Dec. 9, the ranch’s visitor center will be open, and sleigh or wagon rides will be offered, during the following days and times:

Day                  Time

Friday              noon to 4:30 p.m.

Saturday          10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday            10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Monday            noon to 4:30 p.m.

If you want to go on a sleigh ride or a wagon ride, you must buy your ticket at the visitor center by 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the sleigh rides will not be running, and the visitor center will not be open.  You can still bring your binoculars and view the elk from a distance, though.

For more information, visit www.hardwareranch.com.  You can also call the ranch at 435-753-6206 or email Hunt at bradhunt@utah.gov.

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