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2021
Commercial and Non-Commercial Groups
Waunita Watchable Wildlife Site
Gunnison Sage-grouse Lek Viewing Information and Protocol

General Public Viewers: please see the General Public Viewers page for more information.

The Gunnison Sage-grouse is a seriously imperiled species and highly vulnerable to human disturbance.  Sisk-a-dee, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Western Colorado University actively manage the Waunita Watchable Wildlife site to minimize the impacts of viewing on the birds.  Please help us make this viewing experience quality for you and other birders by following the protocol below.  Thank you for your efforts and enjoy the rare and beautiful dance of the Gunnison Sage-grouse!

Viewing Trailer

     

Commercial Viewing in the Viewing Trailer is suspended for 2021.
Contact Sisk-a-dee with questions. 

To make a reservation to use the viewing trailer,
please contact Sisk-a-dee at 970-641-3959

  • The trailer is to be used by groups with reservations only.  In order to reduce scheduling conflicts, you may only reserve the trailer beginning January 1 for the following calendar year.  To make a group reservation contact Sisk-a-dee at 970-641-3959.  A $100 fee is required. 
  • Gunnison County prohibits parking along the side of the county road adjacent to the watchable wildlife site.  The County Sheriff’s office enforces this parking policy.
  • All groups will be escorted to the viewing trailer at the Waunita Watchable Wildlife site at least 1 hour before sunrise. See the table for sunrise times.
  • Remain as quiet as possible: NO radios, cell phones, horn honking, van door slamming or other automobile noises.
  • Do not drop anything inside of the trailer. This will disturb the birds and they might flush.
  • Remain very quiet; if you do talk keep your voices to a whisper.
  • An outhouse is available at the site for use after the grouse depart their lek. 
  • Once inside the trailer do not leave until the birds have ended their displays and have departed from the lek.  Your volunteer guide will scan the lek for an additional five to ten minutes before allowing your group to leave to be sure all sage-grouse have left the lek. 
  • Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, warm clothes and blankets to sit on.
  • When the sun illuminates the trailer please remain very still.  The grouse potentially see movement in the trailer and become nervous. 
  • Protocols are enforced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Any person deviating from these protocols is suspect to a wildlife harassment violation and fine.
  • Commercial use of the Waunita Watchable Wildlife site requires a permit from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  All commercial users with reservations are covered under Sisk-a-dee’s permit.
  • Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 970-641-7885 or Sisk-a-dee at 970-641-3959 for more information.

 

Gunnison Sunrises 2021
Times are adjusted for daylight savings.

Month 
APRIL
Date 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
Time 
6:52
6:50
6:48
6:47
6:45
6:44
6:42
6:41
6:39
6:38
6:36
6:35
6:34
6:32
6:31
6:29
6:28
6:26
6:25
6:24
6:22
6:21

Month 
APRIL
 
Date 
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Time 
6:19
6:18
6:17
6:16
6:15
6:13
6:12
6:11



New in 2021. Colorado Parks and Wildlife requires all users of State Wildlife Areas to purchase a Colorado hunting or fishing license. This does not apply to commercial groups who are covered under Sisk-a-dee’s commercial use permit. Here’s the regulation: It is unlawful to enter, use or occupy any State Wildlife Area or portion thereof for all persons 18 years of age and older without a proper and valid hunting or fishing license except as otherwise provided in Regulation. One- or five-day licenses are only valid for the date(s) on the license.  

Habitat Stamp:  Visitors of Colorado State Wildlife Areas may purchase a Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Proceeds go to protecting wildlife habitat.  Stamps may be purchased online at:
http://cpw.state.co.us/buyapply/Pages/HabitatStamp.aspx.

If you are interested in information on local accommodations, please contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce: 500 East Tomichi, Gunnison, CO 970-641-1501.  Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, 8 miles northeast of the lek, offers lodging (970-641-1266); (http://www.waunita.com).

 


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