Little Sahara Closed During Area’s Biggest Weekend

Apr 10, 2020, 7:34 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

NEPHI, Utah – Easter weekend is when you would normally hear hundreds of offroad vehicles zooming up and over the sand dunes at Little Sahara Recreational Area.

Instead, the loudest sound Friday afternoon was birds chirping at each other.

They’re probably asking each other and wondering where everyone is because the entire area was empty and quiet.

“Easter weekend at Little Sahara usually brings 20,000 to 30,000 of the recreating public out to that area,” said Mike Gates, field manager at the Bureau of Land Management’s Fillmore Office, which oversees Little Sahara.

Due to coronavirus concerns and people gathering in large groups, Little Sahara was closed.

Signs leading to Little Sahara warned people of the closure and Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers were stationed at the closed signs leading to the sand dunes.

Any visitors at the entrance were turned away.

“It was a decision to close the recreation area that we didn’t take lightly,” said Gates. “We want the public to follow Governor Herbert’s ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ directive.”

Many people were still taking their RVs, 4-wheelers and side-by-sides into the West Desert past Little Sahara.

Juab County Sheriff Doug Anderson said his deputies will patrol the area to make sure everyone was staying safe but won’t interfere with people trying to camp this weekend.

“We have about 50% less of our team out there this weekend than what we would normally have on Easter weekend,” Anderson said. “We’re asking people to stay in their home county but they’re coming anyway. So we have positioned our deputies in the area to help if someone gets hurt and needs assistance.”

Even still, the crowds were noticeably smaller this year.

Many people seemed to be staying away because of the closure.

While that may be good to keep coronavirus from spreading, having Little Sahara closed was hurting small businesses in the area.

“It hurts because Easter is a huge weekend for us,” said Krystal Gout.

Gout and her husband Brandon run B’s Hangout in Eureka, Utah.

Normally, much of the traffic going to Little Sahara passes through the small town and hundreds, if not thousands, of extra people stop at their restaurant to eat.

“We would be pretty slammed,” Gout said with a laugh.

However, with Little Sahara closed this year, that meant fewer people.

For this mom-and-pop restaurant, that also meant a lot less money.

“We need the tourism,” said Gout. “The small towns just rely on it.”

For now, B’s Hangout was staying open, but only Friday through Sunday.

There was not enough business to keep it open during the rest of the week like they usually are.

Without the normal Easter crowds, though, that’s putting them behind even further to the point where they’re not sure how much longer they can stay open at all.

“Not very long,” said Gout. “But we did have an emergency fund. That helps. But it can only last so long.”

Even though the quiet is peaceful here, it’s also unsettling.

KSL 5 TV Live


FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

1 month ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

2 months ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

4 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

5 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Little Sahara Closed During Area’s Biggest Weekend