On account of misuse, East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Administration Space closed to tenting

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PARADISE, Utah (ABC4) – The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has closed the East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to camping, according to a news release Friday.

The DWR originally purchased the one-mile stretch of the East Fork Little Bear River from a private landowner in the 1980’s.

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The purpose was to open the stretch of river to the public and ensure it stays open for fishing forever.

East Fork Little Bear WMA is west of Porcupine Reservoir on East Canyon Rd. in paradise. The Cache County land was not originally acquired as a public campground, but the DWR decided to allow camping on the property “with the hope that campers would respect the area and take good care of it.”

The DWR states that most, but over the years “enough campers have damaged the wildlife management area” which led the DWR to make the decision to close it for camping.

Overnight camping is no longer permitted at the East Fork Little Bear WMA “effective immediately”.

However, the WMA remains open for day use and fishing access.

“Abuse of the area by campers has resulted in trash and human excrement being left strewn about the WMA,” said Northern Region DWR Habitat Manager Daniel Olson. “Wooden fences at the WMA were broken apart, shredded and used for firewood. Campers have also left campfires unattended and built them even when campfire closures were in effect at the WMA. Roads and habitats were also damaged. We will reclaim and improve the area and make it a great fishing spot again.”

After acquiring the area, DWR biologists actually altered the course of the river, introducing bends and meanders that altered water flow and “created additional pools and ripples for fish.”

The DWR states that it’s a particularly good spot to fish for brown trout in the fall, and that cutthroats are another species that anglers sometimes catch.

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“We encourage anglers to come to the East Fork Little Bear WMA and enjoy a day of fishing,” Olson said. “We’ve worked hard to improve the river and make it a great place for fishing and anglers.”

The East Fork Little Bear WMA is one of 193 wildlife refuges in Utah.

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