Between gulling sessions at Lee Kay Ponds in Salt Lake County today, I
visited the Lee Kay Hunter Education Center to ask about access for birders.
Good news: we're welcome there. Not only can anyone walk through the gates
from California Ave (1400S) and around the ponds, but you can walk well
south into the Conservation/Dog Training Area if you wish and bird the other
freshwater and brackish ponds not visible from the north observation areas.
Lee Kay Center is a large parcel of state-owned property (950 acres) that
extends from California Ave (1400S) to the north to SR-201 (2100S) to the
south. The east and west borders are 5600W and 7200W. Of course, the state
developed the property for the purpose of hunting dog training and target
practice on the ranges, so as upland game and waterfowl seasons approach in
late summer and early fall, the property will likely be heavily used for its
I reviewed an aerial photo with the volunteer who fielded my questions. The
birding possibilities behind the gates look enticing--similar to Kennecott's
ISSR. My guide pointed out freshwater ponds in addition to the east and west
ones where folks have been gulling, and several brackish ponds near the
south end of the property. I wonder what kind of migrant shorebird traffic
area in May and August.
If anyone knows from personal experience or has actually trained his or her
dogs there, please contribute your assessment of the place as a birding
We can also access the area from the south in vehicles by paying the same
annual fee ($5.00) dog trainers pay. The $5.00 will buy you a key that opens
locked gates on two roads that begin at the Frontage Road along SR-201. The
locks are changed each July. The keys will not open the locked gates in the
observation areas that we've been using around Lee Kay Ponds. You can access
the property through the south locked gates from dawn to dusk, every day of
If this turned out to be a good shorebird place, the $5.00 might be a great
deal. Of course, weekdays would likely be quieter and birders should be
aware of the schedule for dog trials and competitions.
A few other rules: vehicles must remain on designated roads at all times; no
one is allowed in the training area after dark; licensed AKC field trials
close the area to the public for the duration of the trial. Firearms are not
permitted in the dog training area; the audible shooting emanates from the
multiple shooting ranges at the center.
If you're interested in checking out the property, you should visit the Lee
Kay Center. The entrance is on 5600W just north of SR-201. For more
information, call the center at (801) 972-1326. It's open Wednesday-Sunday.