Sunnyside residents share their town with some unique neighbors; a herd of wild Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
On June 15, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will host a free bighorn sheep viewing event. Biologists will be available from 5-7 p.m. to help participants locate the animals and to answer any questions. Late afternoon until dusk is usually the best time to see the sheep.
During the event, spectators can expect to see about 25 rams that spend part of the year living in town.
Each year, the sheep spend the summer in the general vicinity of the Sunnyside fire station and the cliffs that surround the area near the station. They drink water at Grassy Trail Creek and eat native and reclaimed vegetation in the area.
The band of bighorns is used to cars and people and can be observed and photographed at close range.
Conservation outreach manager, Brent Stettler with DWR says spotting scopes and binoculars will be available for people to use. “But if you have your own optics,” Stettler says, “please bring them.”
The event is free, and Stettler encourages everyone to attend. The sheep can be viewed from the road, so even those with physical challenges, don’t need to worry about hiking or walking to see the wildlife.
“Please leave your dog at home. Dogs can startle the sheep,” Stettler stated. “Also, please encourage those who attend to speak quietly as they view the sheep.”
Stettler says it’s also important to remember that the sheep are wild. Their behavior and whereabouts can’t be predicted or guaranteed. “There’s always the possibility that they won’t appear as hoped for on June 15,” he advised.
“The sheep stay in the same general area until early fall,” Stettler says. “They can often be seen near the road at the far side of town or in the canyon beyond Sunnyside.”
Because the bighorn reside in the Sunnyside area throughout the summer, the herd can be seen throughout the coming months. The DWR manager does advise that late afternoon until dusk is the best time to see the sheep.
For more information, contact Stettler at 435-613-3707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.