DWR plans to relocate at least 80 moose from the SLC golf course to the mountains
SALT LAKE CITY – Sunday is moving day for a herd of moose that have been hanging around the Salt Lake Country Club since late January.
At 10 a.m., the Utah Highway Patrol will close major roads at the mouth of Parleys Canyon and workers from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will attempt to drive them into the mountains.
“We really want to get them off the golf course and straight onto the mountain where they belong,” said Scott Root, conservation outreach manager at DWR.
He said he’s never seen so many moose in the neighborhood for so long in his 32-year career. You’ve been waiting for an opportunity to help the moose escape the dangerous tangle of busy roads at the mouth of Parleys Canyon, and tomorrow is the day.
Root has accomplished many unusual wildlife encounters for the DWR, but nothing quite like this operation.
“Keep your fingers crossed,” he said. “But we have a lot of staff on site, many emergency services from several services.”
Around 80 moose, unable to forage in the deep snow high on the mountain, found their way to the safety of the delicious golf course more than a month ago.
“We just hope we can move these moose gently and lead them up the mountain from the Salt Lake Country Club golf course,” he said. “We’re a little nervous, but optimistic.”
They plan to form a human chain with about 20 DWR workers and coax the moose herd across Parleys Canyon.
“We came over to see the moose,” said Christine Balderas.
She and her husband Dan have lived close by all their lives and are intrigued by the plan. That evening they got a good view of the moose from across the freeway in Tanner Regional Park.
“After driving through the country club, we found that this was the best vantage point,” she said.
They hope the plan works.
“They know what they do at DWR,” Dan said. “If not her, then who?”
Root said roads may close at 9:30 a.m. I-80 will close from Mountain Dell to 1300 East. I-215 and Foothill Boulevard will close near the mouth of the canyon. Emergency personnel are strategically deployed to try and stop the moose from heading in the wrong direction.
“Moose will go where they please,” Root said. “But we hope that we can get there quickly because we know that these very busy and important roads cannot be closed for very long.”
They hope to move the herd in under an hour, but moose are unpredictable. They ask everyone to stay away from the area because they don’t want anyone or anything to startle the moose and disrupt operations.
“It only takes one person for everything to kind of not work,” said the DWR manager. “That literally happened last time. One person was outside watching what we were doing and the moose turned right. But we were lucky enough to be able to push them back up the hill.”