HOME TO THE LONGEST UNGULATE MIGRATION IN THE UNITED STATES & THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
The longest big game migration corridor in the lower 48 United States begins just north of Rock Springs in the Red Desert.
Twice a year, mule deer migrate between their winter range in the Red Desert sagebrush and their high elevation summer range 150 miles north in the Hoback. This one-way trip, aptly called the Red Desert to Hoback migration, allows the deer to access highly nutritious forage, essential to their health and survival, over the course of several months as the sage and grasses “green up” throughout the spring. Mule deer are extremely faithful to their migration routes, with herds traveling the exact same paths year after year. Recent scientific research suggests migration routes are passed down from one generation of deer to the next, in a continuous line spanning centuries. Studies also show that migration corridors are threatened by human disturbance and development, and that mule deer populations across the state are in decline.
Protecting migration corridors and crucial winter range is essential to conserve these iconic herds — and the Red Desert provides some of their last, best habitat.
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
The “Golden Triangle” is a name wildlife biologists use to describe the stretch of land north of Farson bordered by highway 28 and 191, continuing to the flanks of the Wind River range.
This pristine stretch of sagebrush steppe is known for its exceptional wildlife habitat and rich biodiversity.
The rolling sagebrush sea supports the world’s longest mule deer migration corridor, huge herds of elk that summer in the Wind River Mountains, plus pronghorn , golden eagles, red fox, and hundreds of other sagebrush-dependent species. The region also sustains the largest Greater sage-grouse population on the planet, a species that is imperiled across the West. Here, more than 800 male grouse perform their elaborate mating rituals in the spring on mating grounds called leks.