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Part of Browns Park WMA to temporarily close in November due to swan project


Vernal — A portion of Browns Park Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closing for approximately four to six weeks in November and December so Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists can catch and GPS collar trumpeter swans during their annual fall migration.

Only a small portion of the WMA will be closed, beginning Nov. 9 — 90% of the WMA will still be open to public access and hunting. The area will be reopened as soon as the swan trapping project is completed. The temporary closure only applies to the west pond on the Parson's Unit and the roads that go around the pond. For a detailed map of the Browns Park WMA, visit the DWR website.

Trumpeter swans arrive in Browns Park each year in mid-November and spend the winter on the WMA or along the Green River. During the temporary partial closure of the WMA, the DWR, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and conservation groups Wyoming Wetlands Society and Wasatch Wigeons, will work to catch five trumpeter swans and place GPS collars on them, in an effort to learn more about their migration patterns. The goal of the project is to identify where the birds breed, and whether they are part of a small population of swans in the Greater Yellowstone area or a larger population in the prairie pothole region of Canada. The project is part of a larger research study identifying trumpeter swan movements across western North America.

In order to capture the swans, DWR biologists will be using walk-in traps that are baited with corn. However, baiting — which involves the spreading of shelled, shucked or unshucked grain, feed or salt to attract or entice birds to an area — is illegal for hunting waterfowl in Utah. The closure is being implemented so hunters aren't hunting in the area where the bait is being used.

For more information on the closure, please contact DWR Northeastern Region Conservation Outreach Manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby at 801-995-2972.