Mouth of Providence Canyon.
LOGAN — Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials are seeing a recent increase in illegal camping and target shooting in the Millville-Providence Wildlife Management Area. The area was closed to camping and target shooting last year after years of ongoing problems, including public safety concerns.
According to a press release from the DWR, people have decided to use the “No Shooting” signs for target practice and have knowingly walked past the “No Camping” signs to set up illegal campgrounds. Following the recent surge in violations, conservationists are reminding the public of the rules and fines will be issued for violations.
The restricted area includes the first mile of Providence Canyon and a half mile of Millville Canyon. Outside the conservation area, people are entering US Forest Service Land that currently has no similar restrictions.
As with all Utah conservation areas, the property was not purchased as a place for the public to camp or shoot. However, the DWR had allowed these activities over the years as long as overnight campers treated the land with respect and the shooting was done safely and responsibly.
DWR Regional Habitat Manager Daniel Olson said: “The hot weather, dry conditions and ongoing drought are drying out the vegetation in the area. The risk of a wildfire in the area is increasing every day, so we need people who adhere to the necessary restrictions apply. Wildfires in the area can harm wildlife that depend on the WMA for food and shelter during the winter months. Shooting at targets has also become a public safety concern due to its proximity to trails in the area, which is why that restriction was put in place.”
DWR habitat managers have reported in recent weeks that overnight campers are damaging wildlife habitats and leaving behind a lot of waste. Some of the waste has even ended up in a creek at Millville Canyon, causing problems for agricultural users irrigating fields further downstream.
They also said that campfires have been left unattended by campers and others who visit the WMA at night.
Much of the shooting at the WMA takes place in Providence Canyon. In the canyon, bullets occasionally fly towards a popular trail used by those who visit the WMA during the day, raising public safety concerns.
DWR protection officers are now issuing citations to those who do not follow the rules in effect at the WMA. Those who violate the no-camping rule or the no-shooting rule will be fined $210 for each violation. Those who litter and leave trash at the WMA will be fined $350. Those who vandalize or steal plates face a $490 fine, plus additional liability for the amount of damage caused.