A photo of a pond in the Cinnamon Creek Wildlife Management Area taken on Friday. The wildlife management area opened on Friday. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
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AVON, Cache County — Cinnamon Creek, with its rolling hills and groves of aspen trees, has attracted hunters and anglers for years.
And with the cutting of an orange ribbon at its opening gate, Utah wildlife officials say the tradition will last for years. On Friday, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources celebrated its new ownership of the land with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Cinnamon Creek Wildlife Management Area.
The event, in many ways, signals the start of transformations in the area after the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources acquired the 8,107-acre land just north of the Weber and Cache county line during a public auction that ended in November 2021.
“Securing the property is a major win for wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts,” Daniel Olson, regional habitat manager for the division, said in a statement Monday.
Hunters and anglers used the land in the past because state wildlife managers had an agreement with the land’s previous owner, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. However, the use was put in jeopardy when the administration announced its intention to sell the land.
Cinnamon Creek is also considered a “vital” wintering area for wildlife, including big game species, according to the Utah Wildlife Division. The creek is also home to some of the best Bonneville cutthroat trout in the state.
With the possibility of losing wildlife space, Utah wildlife officials began raising millions of dollars from several organizations and government entities, including the Utah Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to place the winning bid of just over $20 million to keep it open for recreational use.
The official deed transfer was completed in July, when it officially became the state’s 193rd Wildlife Management Area.
A few days after this transfer, the division sent crews to the area to begin improving the entrance to the new wildlife management area, expanding its parking lot and placing a new culvert in the area to reduce the risk of flooding. . The team also rebuilt the road leading to the management area, which had fallen into disrepair.
Similar work is expected, especially as the division seeks to clean up damage to the land.
“Most of the roads in the (wildlife management area) are in poor condition. Recreational users have also created roads where roads shouldn’t be,” Olson said. “Providing beautiful roads for people to travel on and closing the secondary roads that have developed over the years are among our top priorities.”
Olson adds that the fences in the area also need major repairs. That said, state wildlife officials say the land itself is in “decent condition” overall, meaning they believe any future habitat restoration efforts will be successful.
The division plans to form a planning committee to develop a management plan for Cinnamon Creek in early 2023. The committee will determine the types of activities permitted in the management area in the future.
Although it will likely remain open for hunting and fishing, the management area is one of 23 where target shooting is currently prohibited due to fire hazards.