Fish Springs to offer trails class for its 50th

The Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, a wetland mecca along the Lincoln Highway in western Utah, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The refuge was established in 1959 by the Migratory Bird Commission and is managed as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The celebration will take place May 9-10, 2009. Billed as a weekend of Wildlife, Wildlands, and History, participants will accompany instructors in the field for natural history classes in any of three sessions (two on Saturday, one Sunday). Topics will include land birds, aquatic birds, aquatic botany, area geology, refuge archeology, and most notably, a class titled Fish Springs the Crossroads which looks at the many important pioneer trails that passed through the refuge.

sebak_ut_bantaloABOVE: Refuge manager and LHA membership coordinator Jay Banta was photographed by PBS producer Rick Sebak as the crew filmed for last year’s Lincoln Highway program.

Refuge manager Jay Banta says that class will cover “the Jackass Mail, the Pony Express, the Central Overland Stage, the Transcontinental Telegraph, the Lincoln Highway, and maybe even a bit of the CCC history as they built most of the country roads in our part of the world.” Classes are limited to 20 students and require pre-registration, available online, by email, or by phone — see below.

Camping will be allowed on the refuge Friday May 8 and Saturday May 9. There will be a group potluck dinner on Saturday with a “Campfire” program by manager Banta and some surprise guests!

The refuge is 135 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Commuting time is approximately 3.5 hours from SLC, with half of that distance being gravel roads.

For more information check the Special Events at http://fishsprings.fws.gov or e-mail fishsprings@fws.gov or call the refuge from 7 am to 4:30 pm, M–F. (435) 831-5353 x2

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