Arizona Game and Fish Department offers tours to Canyon Lake

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(Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department) (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is offering tours to view Arizona's desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife that lives on the shoreline of Canyon Lake.

One of a series of lakes along the Salt River, the shores of Canyon Lake are within the home range of some of the largest bighorn rams found anywhere in North America. 

AZGFD officials are offering two unique opportunities to view one of Arizona's most iconic arid land animals, the desert bighorn sheep, in an intimate, small-group setting July 1 and 2 on Canyon Lake.

Participants will explore the canyons, bluffs and animals on Canyon Lake. Biologists on board will share and interpret bighorn conservation, behavior and biology during the trip. 

In addition to bighorn sheep, participants can also expect to see bald eagles, herons and a variety of waterfowl. Other wildlife often spotted include deer, mountain lions, javelina and numerous small mammals, birds and reptiles. 

"Because it's mating season, there is a good chance participants will see rams fighting or chasing ewes," said Randy Babb, Manager of the watchable wildlife program.

Since the boats do not have canopies, the Arizona Game and Fish Department recommends participants bringing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and long-sleeve shirts and pants to prevent sunburn. Tour boats will also have an ice chest available to participants.

The cost is $75 per person and participants can pay online via credit card, by check or money order. Participants must be 10 years or older to board and boats are limited to 22 people per tour.  Information on registering can be found on the AZGFD website

Tours depart at the Palo Verde Recreation Area at 7 a.m. Participants will need an $8 Tonto Pass for each vehicle parked at the lake. Tonto Passes are available at convenience markets, sporting goods stores and around the Phoenix Metro area. 

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