There are many Wildlife Management Areas throughout the west and each performs a function of being a place where wildlife studies can be used to sustain species preservation. Observation is the means for for recording information about wildlife diversification, stability and the number of each species that are present over a period of time. The habitat is also studied and important information about local water and feed resources are noted. Identifying threats to wildlife is part of the function, which include foreign pollutants, toxins, diseases and poaching that affect the wildlife in a given area.
Wildlife Management Areas are usually located off the beaten path, so the habitat area is nearly always as pristine as can be. These places tend to be confluence areas where certain species traditionally pass through during certain seasons, so those who are familiar with a species will likely find a perfect moment to observe the animals. What this means for a visitor is that there will be good opportunities to observe and photograph known wildlife species, so be sure to bring some binoculars or a telephoto camera along for the ride!
The Black Canyon Wildlife Management area is located on Utah SR 22 next to the town of Antimony. This wildlife area is in the heart of Bryce Country, so those who are familiar with this region will know what kind of wildlife to expect. Mule Deer and elk are the dominant herd animals in this area, so they are most often seen. This place almost looks perfect Bighorn Sheep, but the thick underbrush is not their kind of home. A few mountain lions roam the area and there are some coyotes too, but these animals are very wary of humans, so they are more difficult to spot.
The town of Antimony was once a busy place when mining operations were in full swing during the World War years. Remnants of past industrialization can be seen in Black Canyon and the old abandoned silo building adds a dramatic effect to the roadside views. The East Fork of the Sevier River runs through the valley, so the canyon floor is lush and green. The combination of dark canyon walls, abandoned agricultural buildings and plenty of feed does make this Wildlife Management Area a favorite of wildlife watchers and a western landscape painter would feel right at home here too.
Very little traffic goes through Black Canyon on any given day, so it is possible to slow the vehicle down to a crawl to more readily spot wildlife. When cruising real slow, wild animals are often taken by surprise and this can present some good photo opportunities.
The Black Canyon Wildlife Management Area is not exactly worth making a long special trip to see, but it is a good little spot to keep an eye out for when visiting the town of Antimony or the neighboring Dixie National Forest. For those who are landscape painters or just plain old wildlife fans, Black Canyon is well worth planning an afternoon picnic around. A one of a kind photo of western wildlife is always a good conversation starter back home, so be sure to keep the camera handy when passing through!
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