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SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into another busy camping weekend and the kickoff of the archery buck deer hunt, rangers with the U.S. Forest Service were warning Friday against squatting in "dispersed" or unimproved camping areas.
Heber-Kamas District Ranger Jeff Schramm said instances are increasing where people mark their campsites for weeks or even the entire summer with unoccupied camping trailers, tents and signs.
The Forest Service posted pictures to its Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Facebook Page showing ropes that had been placed across one site in the Logan Ranger District.
"I've also seen areas where they'll throw logs across the road — some downfall timber — to limit people from driving into that area," Schramm said.
Schramm said people aren't supposed to reserve campsites for themselves long-term with tents and trailers.
"That is illegal for someone to do — they need to be removing it after 14 days," Schramm said. "When someone goes up there and parks their trailer, then they limit the opportunity for other folks to go up and enjoy the outdoors."
Colton Olsen of West Jordan said it took him and his friend an hour-and-a-half Friday to find a good spot in the national forest area east of Heber.
He said he observed several campsites taken by unoccupied trailers, and that wasn't the first time it had happened.
"We'll be here all weekend, sometimes all week and just have no one show up," Olsen said.
That is illegal for someone to do — they need to be removing it after 14 days. When someone goes up there and parks their trailer, then they limit the opportunity for other folks to go up and enjoy the outdoors.
–Heber-Kamas District Ranger Jeff Schramm
Roger Hansen of Ogden said it's more of an issue closer to the hunt.
He noted some hunters might stake out a spot a day or two ahead of time, but others claim the same spot for weeks.
"There are camps that you'll see up here for two, three, four weeks at a time and that kind of gets buggy when a lot of other places are filling up," Hansen said.
Schramm said rangers generally try first to work with people to get their trailers and other property removed after 14 days.
He said rangers can cite people and even tow trailers, something he noted has been done before and can happen again.