DWR closes East Fork Little Bear WMA to camping
PARADISE — Using dollars provided by anglers and hunters, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources acquired a 1-mile stretch of the East Fork Little Bear River from a private landowner in the late 1980s. The primary purpose of the purchase was to open the stretch of river to public anglers and to ensure it would stay open to fishing forever.
The East Fork Little Bear Wildlife Management Area is located just west of Porcupine Reservoir along East Canyon Road in Paradise. The land in Cache County was not originally acquired as a public camping spot. However, the DWR decided to allow camping on the property, hoping campers would respect the area and take good care of it. Most have, but over the years, enough campers have marred the wildlife management area to a point that the DWR has decided to close it to camping.
Effective immediately, overnight camping is no longer allowed on the East Fork Little Bear River Wildlife Management Area. However, the WMA is still open for day use and offers great fishing access.
"The misuse of the area by campers has included leaving trash and human excrement scattered across the WMA," DWR Northern Region Habitat Manager Daniel Olson said. "Wooden fences on the WMA have been broken apart, chopped up and used as firewood. Campers have also left campfires unattended and have built them even when campfire closures were in effect on the WMA. Roads and habitat have also been damaged. We're going to reclaim and improve the area and make it a great place to fish again."
Before acquiring the property, the East Fork Little Bear basically ran through it in a straight line. After acquiring it, DWR biologists altered the flow of the river, placing bends and meanders that changed the flow of the water, creating additional pools and riffles for fish. The 1-mile stretch is an especially good place to fish for brown trout in the fall. Cutthroats are another species anglers sometimes catch.
"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 fish and anglers."
WMAs in Utah
The East Fork Little Bear WMA is one of 193 wildlife management areas and waterfowl management areas in Utah. The DWR started acquiring the areas in the late 1940s for several reasons:
- To conserve critical habitats for wildlife
- To help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property
- To provide anglers and hunters — who provide funding for the WMAs through the purchase of a fishing or hunting license — a place to hunt and fish in Utah
Visit the DWR website to learn more about WMAs in Utah.