Citations issued for camping, illegal target shooting on the Millville-Providence WMA
Providence — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources closed the Millville-Providence Wildlife Management Area to overnight camping and target shooting last year after years of ongoing issues, including public safety concerns. After an uptick in violations, conservation officers want to remind the public of the rules, and that citations will be issued for violations.
As with all wildlife management areas in Utah, the property was not acquired as a place for the public to camp or target shoot. However, the DWR has allowed these activities through the years, as long as overnight campers treated the land with respect and the target shooting was done safely and responsibly.
In May 2021, the DWR closed the WMA to overnight camping and target shooting. Unfortunately, people have decided to use the "No Shooting" signs for target practice and have knowingly walked past "No Camping" signs to set up illegal campsites.
"The hot weather, dry conditions and ongoing drought are drying out the vegetation in the area," DWR Regional Habitat Manager Daniel Olson said. "The risk of a wildfire in the area is growing every day, so we need people to comply with the necessary restrictions that are in place. Wildfires in the area could be detrimental for wildlife that depend on the WMA for feed and shelter during winter months. The target shooting has also become a public safety concern due to the proximity to trails in the area, which is why that restriction was implemented."
Here are some of the issues and risks caused by the illegal camping and firearm target shooting that DWR habitat managers have seen in recent weeks:
- Overnight campers are damaging wildlife habitat and leaving a lot of trash behind. Some of the garbage has even floated down a creek near Millville Canyon, causing problems for agriculture users who irrigate fields farther downstream. Domestic disturbance issues related to camping have also occurred, including a stabbing in Millville Canyon in 2020.
- Unattended campfires left behind by campers and others who visit the WMA at night is another big concern.
- Much of the target shooting on the WMA occurs in Providence Canyon. In the canyon, bullets occasionally fly in the direction of a popular trail used by those who visit the WMA during the day, causing public safety concerns.
DWR conservation officers are now issuing citations to those who don't comply with the rules that are in effect on the WMA. Those who violate the no camping rule or the no shooting rule will face a $210 fine for each violation. Those who litter and leave trash on the WMA will face a $350 fine. Those who vandalize or steal signs will face a fine of $490, plus additional liability for the amount of damage caused.
WMAs in Utah
The Millville-Providence WMA is one of 193 wildlife management areas and waterfowl management areas in Utah. Using money provided by hunters, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources acquired the first part of the Millville-Providence Wildlife Management Area in 1941. The wildlife management area — located in the foothills above Millville and Providence — is now 3,200-acres in size and protects critical habitat for deer and elk, while also providing hunters another place to hunt in Cache County.
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.