UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – American Fork Canyon visitors are up 30% in recent years, fueled by a surging Utah County population and a beach added to Tibble Fork Reservoir.
But with growth comes problems.
“It’s becoming more difficult to manage the people that are out there,” said David Whittekiend, forest supervisor at Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
One issue is parking.
“It becomes increasingly difficult for people to find parking where they wanna go. And so, in some cases, they’re parking along the road—those areas are closed to parking,” said Whittekiend.
“They’re parking over the white lines so they’re creating traffic hazards, and we’re having safety problems,” added Whittekiend.
Also, there are concerns about people taking shortcuts on trails — causing erosion.
“The more people you get out on those trails, the more of a beating that they take, and the more difficult it is for us to maintain them,” said Whittekiend.
Another concern is people leaving trash.
But, he says, these problems are not necessarily to unique to American Fork Canyon. He says more people are visiting forests across Utah.
On Friday, Dave Haskin drove his kids from Kaysville to Tibble Fork Reservoir.
“There’s a lot of people out here. it’s surprising. It’s dinnertime — and the place is packed,” said Haskin.
Forest officials encourage you to contact them to get advice on the best places to recreate outdoors–they say they are more than happy to give you advice on where to explore the great outdoors.