OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Several Utah campsites are closed because of snow and damage

Jun 15, 2023, 6:18 AM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 9:41 am

Many campsites along the Mirror Lake Highway were damaged by floods and slides from the winter melt...

Many campsites along the Mirror Lake Highway were damaged by floods and slides from the winter melt off. (Mark Wetzel/KSL TV)

(Mark Wetzel/KSL TV)

KAMAS, Utah — Many families plan to go camping on Father’s Day weekend but campsites normally open this time of year remain closed because of snow and damage.

John Halleck had to see it for himself.

Tanner Flats Campground in Little Cottonwood Canyon is a place Halleck knows well, but never before has he seen it after an avalanche demolished buildings and snapped trees.

“I have been up here many years and I have never seen this spot run over,” he said. “It is amazing. You can’t fight mother nature. It’s just not practical.”

With the condition the campsite is in right now, it is also not practical for the Forest Service to open it.

“It takes a lot of work to put a campground back together,” Dave Whittekiend said. He is the supervisor of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Tanners Flat is just one of many Forest Service campsites that can’t open right now because of damage, flooding, washouts, and snow.

Campsites along the Mirror Lake Highway in the Uintas are closed because a lot of snow is still on the ground.

Cars and maintenance crews can’t even access those campsites yet.“This is definitely a different year with all the snow we got over the winter,” Whittekiend said.

Usually by mid-June, it wouldn’t be an issue.

However, right now, about half of the roughly 100 campsites the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest operates remain closed.

“In a normal year, we would probably be fully functioning by now across the forest,” Whittekiend said.

It means those who love these campsites, like Halleck, will have to wait.

“I hope they fix it,” he said.

The Forest Service expects to get every single campground open this season, but with as much damage as there is to fix, that could take time.

To make sure a campground is open, you can click here, check out your local forest website, or just give a nearby ranger station a call.

“Recreation is what we do on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache. We want to get people out there,” Whittekiend said. “We want to get them enjoying the forest and we will do our level best to get sites open in a safe manner so people can use them.”

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Several Utah campsites are closed because of snow and damage