Antelope Island State Park • On a frigid late December afternoon when the sun played tag with the clouds, the icy mud flats southeast of Antelope Island look like a changing mosaic of modern art. The meltwater from the heavy snows flooded the causeway, limiting access to the island. [31][32] Hiking and Cycling[33] are popular activities, but water is scarce and there are few trees on the island. [13] The bison were an important resource for the native tribes of the western United States. During the warmer parts of the year horses are also available for hourly rental at the ranch, and a tour guide can take riders out to observe the bison. Antelope Island is home to a roaming herd of 500 bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn, coyote, and a wide variety of birds. A bison in Antelope Island State Park in Utah. [39] Bison hunting continued on the island until 1926 when the final "Big Buffalo Hunt" eliminated all but a few of the bison. Over the years, the megafauna disappeared, while American bison, mule deer and pronghorn became more predominant. [16][12] The last herds of cattle were removed from the island in 1984 after an extremely snowy winter that caused the death by starvation of about 350 heifers and calves. Leonard intended to sell the bison to zoos, but was not able to corral them. Temporary shower facilities were constructed and available for a "long weekend" over the Memorial Day weekend of 1969. Along the shoreline of the island, mallard, Canada goose, avocets, black-necked stilts, willets, long-billed curlews, sanderlings, American white pelicans, pied-billed grebes, killdeer, great blue herons, snowy egrets, white-faced ibis and many migratory birds can be observed. Discover artifacts, petroglyphs, and pictographs left behind by the Fremont Indians. Lupine of Antelope Island. Antelope Island, with an area of 42 square miles (109 km ), is the largest of ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake, Utah, United States. In 2010 it was the fifth most-visited State Park in Utah. Sheep were dropped in favor of cattle. [13] Without the bison the Native Americans were forced to "seek peace". The remaining sheep were shot in 2019 in order to prepare the island for repopulation.[44]. The sprawling waters of Starvation Reservoir offer great fishing and boating. [16] They were deposited as Lake Bonneville receded between 10,000 - 15,000 years ago. [12] Garr was sent to the island by LDS Church to establish a ranch for the "church tithing herds. Electric bikes are available for rentals or tours. [14], The building of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 opened the rest of the island to settlement by homesteaders. The island lies in the southeastern portion of the lake, near Salt Lake City and Davis County, and becomes a peninsula when the lake is at extremely low levels. It has been determined that 700 head is near the maximum preferred carrying capacity for bison on the island, so the excess bison need to be culled. [18], Senator Frank E. Moss of Utah asked the National Park Service consider the Great Salt Lake for inclusion in the National Park System in 1959. Biologists estimate that as many as 60 million bison roamed the western United States prior to the lands being settled by Anglo Americans. Biking. The remnants of old mining claims and the Fielding Garr Ranch are open to park visitors. Though surrounded by water that is up to five times saltier than the ocean, wildlife viewing opportunities abound on this island of grasslands, wetlands, and miles of shoreline. Ranchers resorted to hiring barges and making multiple trips from shore to island to salvage their stock.[17]. 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