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Ray Boren
A meadowlark trills its beautiful call from atop a road sign at the Fielding-Garr Ranch on the Great Salt Lake's Antelope Island.


PARK CITY — Due to significant November snowfall and amazing early season skiing conditions, Deer Valley Resort will open for the season on Saturday with 20 of 21 chairlifts in operation.

Lift rates for full-day and half-day passes are: adults, $90 and $63; seniors, $65 and $45; children, $56 and $44; tots, $21 and $14.

Deer Valley will host the Deer Valley Celebrity SkiFest on Birdseye ski run on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at noon each day and benefiting the Waterkeeper Alliance. The public is invited to come cheer on their favorite stars and Olympic athletes.

Also, the resort's award-winning Mariposa restaurant (located mid-mountain at Silver Lake Lodge) will be offering a two-for-one Tasting Menu special from Dec. 3-17. Reservations are necessary and are available by calling 435-645-6715.


SALT LAKE CITY — After a series of public meetings, the state's Regional Advisory Councils are split over which deer hunting option they prefer.

The Utah Wildlife Board will make the final decision today when it meets at 9 a.m. at the Department of Natural Resources, 1594 W. North Temple.

Right now, the board is considering three options. Today's meeting is open to the public, which is invited and encouraged to attend.

The three options the board is considering are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/2011-deer-changes.html.

Also, Jim Karpowitz, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources, has written a letter to Utah's deer hunters. His letter explains the current status of mule deer in Utah and what the future holds for these animals. His letter is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/2011-deer-changes/director-message.html.

For more information, call the DWR's Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.


LAYTON — Bill Fenimore, owner of Layton's Wild Bird Center and author of "Backyard Birds of Utah," will lead a free bird walk to Antelope Island on Saturday, Dec. 11.

Participants will leave the Wild Bird Center that day at 10 a.m. The bird walks are a great family activity and a wonderful way to introduce children to the world of nature.

The Wild Bird Center is located in the Layton Market Center, 1860 Woodland Park Drive, off I-15 at Exit 332 (across from the Barnes & Noble book store).

For information, call 801-525-8400 or visit the Bird Center's web site at www.wildbirdcenter.com/layton.


GREEN RIVER — Early December is the perfect time to see Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

The animals wrap up their breeding season in December. It's the time of year when rams that are of equal size charge into each other, slamming their horns together in a spectacular head-butting ritual that's designed to attract the attention of the "ladies" (female sheep called ewes).

"It's fun and exciting to watch the way the rams act this time of the year," said Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

That's why Stettler and other DWR staff chose Friday evening and Saturday morning for this year's Bighorn Sheep Watch, which will be held in and near the towns of Price and Green River this year.

The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Viewers should bring binoculars or a spotting scope along with snacks, drinks and a camera.

DWR biologists will guide viewers to places where they've found bighorns recently, and the biologists have extra spotting scopes and binoculars for public use by those who don't have their own.

For more information, contact Stettler at 435-613-3707 or brentstettler@utah.gov.