HUNTSVILLE, Utah — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officially took ownership of its newest wildlife management area (WMA), Cinnamon Creek WMA, in June after winning a public auction in November 2021. The 8,107-acre property is located west of Ant Flat Road, just north of the Cache/Weber County boundary line. On August 5, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the occasion.
The Cinnamon Creek WMA, named after a creek that runs through the property, provides important summer range for mule deer, elk, and moose. Sharp-tailed grouse and greater sage-grouse also live on the property, and native Bonneville cutthroat trout swim in its creeks and streams.
“Obtaining the property is a major win for wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts,” said Daniel Olson, regional habitat manager for the DWR. “When the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration put the property up for bid last fall, plenty of parties, including private developers, wanted it. Fortunately, conservation groups, a federal partner, and the Utah Legislature, led by Rep. Casey Snider, came through with the funding needed to win the bid and preserve the area for wildlife.”
Aside from the state legislature, four conservation organizations – the Mule Deer Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife – contributed significantly to the purchase of the property. A federal partner, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, also contributed significantly to the purchase of the land.
The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Association (SITLA) had previously owned the property for several decades. By charging fees to graze sheep and cattle on the property, the agency raised funds for Utah’s school system. The DWR also paid SITLA a yearly fee to gain access to the land for hunters and anglers.
The DWR has a lot of work ahead of it to improve the area for wildlife and make it a great place to hunt and fish after years of intense recreational use.
The DWR’s efforts began shortly after it was officially awarded the property’s deed. Immediately following July 4, the DWR’s heavy equipment crew began improvements at the WMA’s entrance.
To reduce the possibility of flooding on the road, the parking area was rebuilt and expanded, and a new culvert was installed at the beginning of the entrance road. Because the entrance road was in poor condition, a new road was built on the hill leading into the WMA.
“Most of the roads on the WMA are in bad shape,” Olson said. “Recreational users have also created roads where roads shouldn’t be. Providing nice roads for people to travel on, and closing the spur roads that have developed through the years, are among our first priorities.”
Fortunately, the habitat on the WMA is in decent shape.
“There’s not a heavy weed component on the WMA,” Olson said. “I’m confident the area will respond well to our habitat reclamation efforts.”
However, fences on the WMA are either in poor condition or nonexistent in some areas. “Properly fencing the property is going to keep us busy for a long, long time,” he said.
For more information on Utah’s WMAs, please refer to the DWR website.