Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

A weekend of desert bighorn sheep with Arizona Game and Fish

Saturday evening natural history session at Game & Fish Mesa Office, Sunday morning viewing cruise on Canyon Lake

(APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz.) -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), in partnership with the Dolly Steamboat and Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, is offering a two-day opportunity to view and learn about desert bighorns, one of our state's most fascinating native mammals.

Desert bighorn sheep are true icons of the wild American Southwest, thriving in some of Arizona's steepest canyons and most rugged mountain ranges. In addition to hosting a pre-viewing workshop in Mesa on Saturday evening, June 13, AZGFD offers a unique opportunity to view these magnificent animals on Sunday, June 14, during a specialist-led cruise aboard the Dolly Steamboat on Canyon Lake, in an area virtually inaccessible except by boat.

"These are great opportunities for people to learn about bighorn sheep and the conservation efforts of many different agencies and stakeholder groups," says John Dickson, AZGFD wildlife manager in the Canyon Lake District.

According to AZGFD Information and Education Program Manager Amy Burnett, "During the heat of early summer, just before the monsoon hits, water is a scarce commodity in bighorn country. This makes mid-June the best time of year to view young lambs and family groups coming down to the lakeshore to drink."

The Dolly Steamboat offers both open-air decks and air-conditioned viewing areas during the 3-hour tour. Water and a limited selection of snacks and drinks are included in the price, compliments of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society.

The special event is broken up into two days (it's not necessary to attend both):

Saturday, June 13 preworkshop, 7-9p at the AZGFD regional office at 7200 E University Drive, Mesa, AZ. This free presentation will give an overview of bighorn natural history and current management and conservation efforts. Presented by Amy Burnett and Game Specialist Dustin Darveau. To register for the workshop session, contact Burnett at (480) 324-3548.

Sunday, June 14 Canyon Lake bighorn viewing tour on the Dolly Steamboat, 9a-12p.

The three-hour tour led by AZGFD wildlife specialists leaves from Canyon Lake Marina at 9 a.m. Cost is $35 adults, $33 seniors. Space is limited to 139 passengers. The boat has restrooms and is accessible. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable light clothing and bring a camera, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and binoculars. To register and reserve your spot on the boat tour, call Dolly Steamboat at (480) 827-9144 or book online at http://www.dollysteamboat.com.


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