Hardware Ranch was purchased in 1945 by the State of Utah from the Box Elder Hardware Company. The ranch was purchased using sportsmans' dollars generated from the Wildlife Restoration Act. The original ranch covered 7,560 acres, but subsequent aquisitions expanded the ranch to about 19,000 acres. The state established the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area as a location to operate a winter feeding program for Rocky Mountain Elk.
Hardware Ranch and Blacksmith Fork Canyon
Cache Valley, located 15 miles down Blacksmith Fork Canyon from the ranch, was the historical winter range for local elk herds. By the 1930s, agriculture and towns had encroached upon this winter feeding area, and friction between elk and farmers was mounting. Feeding the elk at Hardware Ranch helped eliminate this problem. Over the years, the elk have learned that they no longer need to migrate to the valley during the winter to find food.
Hardware Ranch WMA has served as a center for elk research since the 1950s. Understanding the biology and population dynamics of elk is important for sound management of the herds. Today, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources continues these programs and has expanded the mission of the Wildlife Management Area to include public tours of the wintering elk herd.
In addition to elk herd management, Hardware Ranch provides habitat for many species of wildlife, promotes wildlife research and provides visitors with an up-close opportunity to learn about wildlife.
For more information about Hardware Ranch you can visit their website at http://wildlife.utah.gov/hardwareranch/