A recently launched website is now available to inform and educate people regarding the diverse wildlife resources found throughout the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, with suggestions on where and how to view a wide variety of animals on your own.

In 2011, officials at the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside and the White Mountain Wildlife and Nature Center partnered on a joint venture to develop this interactive website, located at www.azwildlifetrails.com. A grant received through the Arizona Game and Fish Departments Heritage Fund covered the costs of the project.

This website helps people streamline wildlife-viewing trips in the Pinetop, Springerville-Eagar and Alpine areas, says Bruce Sitko, spokesman at the departments Pinetop regional office. Families and friends will be able to easily plan what types of wildlife they want to see and which areas to visit.

The website comes complete with a map and descriptions of several prime areas to visit, with information on how to best navigate through them. Some sites have hiking trails, while others are driving loops of longer length. It also tells what types of facilities, such as restrooms, campsites, picnic areas and parking, are available at each location.

In addition, it offers a comprehensive description of what types of animals one is likely to find in each spot, ranging from elk or Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to hawks, wild turkeys and songbirds. It also provides natural history notes and photos of select species, plus the best time of year to view them. Tips for responsible, ethical wildlife viewing are included.

The project planners wanted to make wildlife viewing as enjoyable as possible, says Sitko. Making the planning easier and faster will help people get out the door more quickly, so they can make the most of their wildlife-viewing time. With temperatures getting warmer and kids getting out of school soon, now is a great time to plan a family outing to enjoy the rich wildlife resources found in our states forests.

The departments Heritage Fund comes from the sale of lottery tickets in the state and is used for conservation purposes, including educating children about wildlife, protecting endangered species and creating more opportunities for outdoor recreation.   back...
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