Antelope Island is the largest island in Great Salt Lake, approximately 42 to 44 square miles in size, depending on which reference you read. Mule deer, pronghorn, and a large herd of bison roam the island. The northern part of the island was acquired by the state of Utah in 1969. The remainder of the island, which contains the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, was purchased in 1981, and the island became a state park. The park has a visitor center with displays covering the geology, wildlife, and human history of the island. A small cafe, a beach with showers, and 3 campgrounds are located in the park. There are no RV hookups, but a dump station is located near the visitor center. There are several hiking trails, and wildlife and bird watching are ever popular activities. I spent most of a day at Antelope Island State Park in August of 2019. To get to there, take exit 332 off I-15 onto Antelope Drive, then continue across Davis County Causeway to the park entrance.
Antelope Island Bison Herd
The Antelope Island bison herd is one of the largest and oldest publicly owned bison herds in the nation. The herd numbers between 500 and 700 animals. The bison are free range, left to live and forage on their own without human intervention. The one exception to this is the annual buffalo roundup that occurs in late October. At this time the herd is corraled for health checkups and vaccinations, and excess animals sold to keep the herd at an ecologically sustainable size. Could have used a larger telephoto lens for the pictures below.
Fielding Garr Ranch
Fielding Garr started his ranch in 1848. Garr built an adobe ranch house and other outbuilding over the next 2 years. The ranch was continually operated from 1848 until 1981, at which time the State of Utah purchased Antelope Island. The ranch raised cattle, horses, and lots of sheep.
The sheep barn was fairly high tech for its day. The sheep were herded up a ramp into individual pens where they were sheared. The wool was placed onto a moving conveyer belt to be collected and the sheared sheep were slid down a shute into a holding pen.
I wasn't very successful mining information on the painted buffalo on Antelope Island. Apparently, the idea originated with the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City. Not sure if the 3 pictured below are some of the originals from the olympics. I suspect they are new, since the painted bison are auctioned off at various events. I have seen similar painted buffalo in Custer, SD.
Background information obtained from Wikipedia and state park brochures.
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