Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area – Farmington UT

Description

Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area is an 18,000 acre migratory bird refuge on the shore of the Great Salt Lake.  It began life as Farmington Bay State Park in the 1930s, when the Utah State Department of Fish and Game (now the State Division of Wildlife Resources) sought to transform the delta of the Jordan River into a wildlife refuge.

The National Park Service (NPS) was brought in to assist the state in developing the area and, in turn, called on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to do the labor. The CCC set up Camp SP-2 on the shore of Farmington Bay in 1935 to house Company 356, which worked at the site until 1940.

The CCC enrollees got to work on a large dike across the mouth of the bay to hold back the saline waters of the Great Salt Lake and create three freshwater ponds from the waters of Jordan River, along with 17 gates to control water flow and levels between the various channels, ponds and marshes.  Inside the ponds, they built up thirty islands for bird nesting and habitat areas.  Later, they dredged a 3-mile canal to improve the flow of the river into the refuge.  The CCC ‘boys’ also built roads along the top of the dikes and gates, added an observation tower and constructed administrative buildings.

Public access to the inner reaches of the refuge is limited, but there are two impressive nature centers on the edge of the Great Salt Lake in or near the Farmington WMA. The first is the Great Salt Lake Nature Center in the WMA, built as a partnership between the State Division of Wildlife Resources,  the Davis County School District Foundation, and the Utah Wildlife and Conservation Foundation.  The second is the George and Dolores Eccles Wildlife Education Center on the Robert Hasenyager Great Salt Lake Nature Reserve next to the Farmington WMA (NB: the Eccles family has close ties to the New Deal through Marriner Eccles, FDR’s Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank).

 

Source notes

Kenneth Baldridge, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Utah: Remembering Nine Years of Achievement, 1933-1942.  Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2019, pp. 218-221.

https://greatsaltlakenaturecenter.org/homepage.html

https://wildlife.utah.gov/discover/eccles-education-center.html

https://wildlife.utah.gov/news/utah-wildlife-news/665-don-t-hike-off-the-trails-or-bike-at-the-eccles-wildlife-education-center.html

 

Project originally submitted by Joan Greer on September 20, 2020.

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Location Info


1325 W Glovers Ln
Farmington, UT 84025

Coordinates: 40.96506, -111.9290

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