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Camping banned from wildlife area in Cache County after campers abuse it repeatedly

Apr 29, 2022, 10:36 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:19 pm

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are shutting down an area in Cache Valley to camping, and they say it’s because people were trashing it.

Just west of Porcupine Reservoir is the East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Management Area, or WMA.

“It was beautiful,” said Brent Call, who lives down the road from it.

“A lot of traffic comes through here,” he added.

As we get closer to summer, he says the area gets busy, which he doesn’t mind too much. What concerns him more is what some people leave behind.

“I want them to enjoy it, but also be respectful of it, you know? It’s everybody’s property. It’s public lands. Everybody, it’s not just me, everybody owns it,” he said.

But apparently not everyone sees it that way.

Pictures taken by conservation officers show garbage and fence posts that were broken up and used as fire wood.

(Division of Wildlife Resources) (Division of Wildlife Resources)

“It’s just kind of gotten loved to death,” said Faith Heaton Jolley, a spokesperson for the DWR. “We’ve had a lot more, kind of a bigger increase in people camping on the area, and they’ve honestly just kind of trashed it.”

Jolley says all of those things are damaging these areas they’re working to preserve.

“Which is problematic because a big reason for this property is to provide habitat for wildfire, particularly during winter months,” she said.

It’s not the first time they’ve had to do this. Just last year, another WMA in the Ogden Valley was also shut down permanently to camping for similar reasons.

The area in Cache Valley will still be open to day use and fishing, just not overnight.

Call says it’s too bad. He likes to see people enjoy the area’s beauty — responsibly.

“We need respect for what that is,” he said. “The public needs to take care of it.”

They’ve also had problems with campfires left burning here or lit when there were burning restrictions in the area.

There are close to 200 of these Wildlife Management Areas statewide. They are not campgrounds, but the DWR has allowed camping in them.

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Camping banned from wildlife area in Cache County after campers abuse it repeatedly