PRICE, Utah (ABC4 News) – With the rise in COVID-19 cases and the decline of business activity, people are using the forests more, especially Utah’s Manti-La Salt National forest. Forest officials are becoming concerned with how long camping equipment and trailers are being left in the forest.
The forest service sent out some information all campers should remember.
“I’m pleased to see that people are out enjoying their National Forest,” said Ryan Nehl, Manti-La Sal Forest Supervisor. “That said, we’re seeing crowding and user impacts that present challenges for our staff. I am hopeful that we can accommodate the increased usage and provide a high quality experience for our customers.”
One of the things that are happening is campers are using the same campsite for more than 14 days, and forest employees are dealing with unattended camping equipment left for more than 72 hours.
According to a press release sent to ABC4 News, Forest Service employees have been asked to sign up for an area of the forest, typically a place they will be working in, or frequent often, and help in reminding campers about the forest rules.
“We’ve asked employees to pay closer attention to trailers in those assigned areas and to start identifying ones that have been abandoned, meaning no one seems to be there in-person or that the trailers have been there for an extended time,” Darren Olsen, the Ferron-Price District Ranger, explained.
If Forest Service employees find a trailer in the camping areas they think is abandoned, a notice will be left to remind the camper of the forest rules.
“Employees have been instructed to post notices or warnings if they suspect equipment has been unoccupied for more than 72 hours or if they believe the equipment is approaching the 14-day limit, prior to turning the issue over to our law enforcement,” Olsen said.
When a camper gets the notice, it is there to remind people of the 14-day camping limit and the 72-hour unattended rule. There is a spot for Forest Service employees to identify when they left the notice to help understand how long the trailers or equipment are in a location. These are not considered tickets, and recipients do not need to follow up on them.
If you have any questions you can call your nearest district ranger office.
Here is the actual rule:
“…persons may camp within designated campgrounds or on undeveloped sites not closed to camping with the Forests for a period of not more than 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days. … Campers may relocate to another site after the 14th day of occupation. This new site must be at least 10 miles, in a straight line, away from the previous location … No structure or private property may be left unoccupied for more than 72 hours at a site in undeveloped areas without prior written permission of the Forest Officer in charge in connect with any authorized use of National Forest lands. This includes structures or property in those areas occupied during the 14-day stay limit.”