Part Of Middle Fork WMA Closed To Overnight Camping Due To Trash, Vandalism

Mar 29, 2021, 7:04 PM | Updated: 8:07 pm

HUNTSVILLE, Utah – Officials with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shut down part of the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area to camping in Weber County because too many people were abusing it.

While it’s not an actual campground, the parking lot at Middle Fork WMA would normally open camping for the spring and summer starting next month — but not anymore.

Piles of garbage are among the many problems conservation officers and deputies with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office would often have to deal with in the area.

The parking lot became known as a sort of free campground to a lot of people, and officers said many of those folks came to abuse that. Officers were often called out for drugs, vandalism and domestic violence.

Over the past two years, the troubles got so bad that DWR officials decided to cut it off.

The parking lot will reopen next month, but the DWR is determined to keep out piles of garbage, tents and sleeping bags this spring and summer season.

Trevor Doman explains the camping changes at Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) Trash left behind at the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources) Trash at Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area. (Used by Permission, Division of Wildlife Resources)

“In the last two years, it’s been an increasingly gaining problem with a lot more use,” said Trevor Doman, one of the conservation officers who has seen the problems grow in a way that he hasn’t seen before. “It’s an area where we don’t charge, and so, therefore, lots of people love to be able to come where it’s free and camp. That’s been the biggest issue.”

Doman said there were 75 calls in 2020 alone.

“So we’ve just decided that it’s better that we close camping in the parking lot only,” he said.

Doman said his job is to focus on protecting animals in the area and not respond to all the problem calls.

The parking lot and surrounding area will reopen again to camping come September.

“That’s when the big game hunting opens back up and we get our big game hunters coming in,” Doman said. “We want them to realize that’s when they can come. They can come again, camp in the parking lot, hike out of the parking lot. Camp, hunt, enjoy it.”

The DWR hasn’t typically had these issues. Middle Fork is open to camping this spring and summer — if you’re willing to hike it in and hike it out.

“Pack up your stuff on the backpack, hike back up in,” Doman said. “Enjoy it back up in. This WMA goes for miles back there.”

The closure affects the parking lot and a one-third of a mile radius around it.

The area, as a whole, is closed to the public from January to the second Saturday in April each year to protect the wildlife.

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Part Of Middle Fork WMA Closed To Overnight Camping Due To Trash, Vandalism