Middle Fork is a popular Wildlife Management Area in Ogden Valley. However, due to mistreatment, camping on part of the area has been closed.
Trash, vandalism, drug use, domestic violence, and habitat misuse are among the reasons part of Middle Fork has been closed for overnight camping.
According to Trevor Doman, a Utah conservation officer, the area that camping is being restricted, is the parking lot. The DWR has allowed the parking lot to act as a campground particularly for hunters and fishermen. However, in the summer months, this privilege seemed to be misused.
“What's happening is we have so many people coming in and living there basically there we get lots of homeless people coming, setting up camps and motorhomes and just trying to live there all summer long," said Doman. "And they've trashed the place. They've destroyed our property. They've cut down fences require wood, they leave their trash everywhere.”
Doman said last year the Weber County Sheriff’s office and conservation officers had over 75 reports from the area ranging from parties to domestic violence to drug-related activities. This caused the DWR to make changes in the area.
“During the summer months, we're not gonna allow camping in there anymore. People can come in and park. If they want to camp on the Wildlife Management Area, they can, but it's required that they go least a third of a mile away from the [parkinglot],” said Doman.
While there are other campgrounds in the area, Doman said these all require a nightly fee, where Middle Fork was free to use.
“What's caused the problem is that it's free," said Doman. "And we don't want to start charging people we don't want to do that. So our options are instead of putting somebody in there and charging people and monitoring it and having a tech that's here full time to stay there manage that we decided to just stop camping all together and still leave it free.”
The camping restriction will run until Sep. 9, however Damon said the summer camping closures in the area may continue in coming years.