Overnight camping prohibited on the East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Management Area after officials said the area was misused. (Photo: Courtesy of Utah DWR)
PARADISE — Officials have announced overnight camping is no longer allowed on the East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Management Area after years of misuse.
East Fork Little Bear WMA is located just west of Porcupine Reservoir along East Canyon Road in Paradise.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials said while the land’s original purpose was for fishing, camping was later allowed on the property with the hope that “campers would respect the area and take care of it.”
Daniel Olson, the northern region habitat manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says campers regularly leave trash and feces over the mile-long stretch of the East Fork Little Bear River west of Porcupine Reservoir. Visitors have also damaged protective wooden fences on the land to use as firewood; they’ve left campfires unattended and even sparked them when fires weren’t allowed due to wildlife risks, he adds.
Division officials announced Friday they are banning overnight camping in the area east of Pardise, effective immediately.
Olson said in a statement, “We’re going to reclaim and improve the area and make it a great place to fish again.”
Before acquiring the property, the East Fork Little Bear basically ran through it in a straight line. After acquiring it, DWR biologists altered the flow of the river, placing bends and meanders that changed the flow of the water, creating additional pools and riffles for fish. The 1-mile stretch is an especially good place to fish for brown trout in the fall. Cutthroats are another species anglers sometimes catch.
Though division officials say it wasn’t acquired as a camping spot, it eventually began to offer overnight camping options, up until now. They say most campers have obeyed the rules but too many haven’t in recent years, resulting in the decision to ban it.