OGDEN, Utah, March 29, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced Monday that part of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be closed to overnight camping until Sept. 9 due to damage done to the area and trash left behind.
Until further notice, the area will be closed to overnight camping between Jan. 1 and Sept. 9.
“Trash, vandalism, drug use, domestic violence and habitat degradation: These are among the reasons the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has decided to close overnight camping on part of the Middle Fork Wildlife Management Area, effective immediately,” the Utah DWR statement says.
The popular wildlife management area is located in Huntsville in the Ogden Valley.
The DWR statement lists when and where people can camp in the area.
To protect wintering wildlife, the WMA is closed to all activities from Jan. 1 to the second Saturday in April.
From the second Saturday in April through Sept. 9, you can still camp on parts of the WMA. Overnight camping is no longer allowed, however, in the parking lot or within a third of a mile of the parking lot.
Overnight camping is allowed across the entire WMA — including the parking lot and its surrounding area — from Sept. 10 to Dec. 31.
The DWR began establishing WMAs in Utah in the 1940s to protect critical habitat for deer and other wildlife. The areas also give those who fund them — through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses — a place to hunt and fish in the state.
“The areas were not purchased to give people a place to camp, but we’ve still allowed camping on many of them through the years,” Scott Walker, regional habitat manager for the DWR, said in the prepared statement.
“However, overnight camping issues in the parking area at the Middle Fork WMA have gotten so bad that overnight camping is no longer allowed in that area from the second Saturday in April through Sept. 9.”
In 2020 alone, DWR conservation officers and Weber County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 75 calls from the parking area, which is where most of the camping occurs, the statement says.
“The sheer number of people who visit the area to camp has also damaged habitat in the area surrounding the parking lot and a small creek not far from it,” Walker said.
While camping is no longer allowed in the parking lot or the surrounding area through most of the year, there are still plenty of places to camp in the Ogden Valley. One of the best spots is the North Fork campground just outside Liberty, the statement says.
“Even though it sees lots of use, North Fork is a big campground,” Walker said. “Officials with Weber County have told us that camping spots are almost always available.”
Other camping areas in the Ogden Valley include campgrounds at Pineview Reservoir and campgrounds run by the U.S. Forest Service off state Route 39.