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Some Public Utah Campgrounds Still Closed

July 26, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Those who came early to the campsites that dot the forest just off the Mirror Lake Highway in Utah’s Summit County were fortunate enough to get a spot. But by Saturday afternoon (July 23), most of the campsites in the area were taken.

Taylors Fork, Beaver Creek, Trial Lake, Lower Provo, Moosehorn, Butterfly, Wolf Creek, and Lilly Lake campgrounds are still closed, Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reported.

The Forest Service says the closures are for weather reasons or because crews haven’t had a chance to clean out winter debris.

Closed campgrounds had a locked gate at the entrance with a “road closed” sign at the entrance.

Kathy Jo Pollock, spokeswoman for the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, understands the frustration among would-be campers, but says there are reasons for the closures, even if they don’t seem immediately clear.

“We’ve had a lot of road damage, rock slides and washouts,” she said. “We need to be able to get in there and have a look around before opening them.”

As for camping beyond the signs?

“You are not supposed to go around it, and you can be fined,” Pollock said, adding fines run from $175 to $5,000.

That goes for dirt bikes, bicyclists and hikers, too.

Camping areas remain closed in other parts of the Wasatch as well.

Albion Basin in Little Cottonwood Canyon is still covered with snow.

The same goes for the road up Farmington Canyon. A washout from heavy rains took out a large chunk of the road, closing the area and Sunset campground above the washout.

“I think it’s been about twice in my career where we’ve had campgrounds closed this late, and that was in the ’80s and early ’90s,” Pollock said. “So it’s been quite a while we haven’t had all our campgrounds open by the 24th” of July.

Workers at Kirkham’s Outdoor Products in Salt Lake City know about the late winter. Sales were slow until about two weeks ago.

“I’ve been here for 12 years, and from what I remember, this is probably about the latest it’s been pushed for camping and backpacking in sales,” said Andy Church, a sales manager at the store. “It just made our spring season slower. We had to push back some new orders and adjust staffing. But it’s picking up now.”

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