The state Wildlife Resources Division has posted the shoreline of Matt Warner Reservoir off limits to motor vehicle parking to protect the man-made lake's banks and wildlife habitat.

Too many boaters and fishermen have been driving their vehicles off the roads and parking along the banks of the reservoir on Diamond Mountain, northeast of Vernal, said division spokesman Dan Barnhurst."It's unfortunate but necessary to close off much of the shoreline to protect it," said Barnhurst, the division's Northeastern Region wildlife conservation officer.

Just last year the division upgraded the reservoir's shoreline and constructed several public parking areas.

"Apparently, parking right on the shoreline is more favored by some," he said. "Anglers with trucks and four-wheel-drive vehicles have driven over important vegetation and the needed sagebrush. As more vehicles followed, these paths have grown until now the bank looks like a parking lot."

Because the undeveloped areas have no garbage cans, Barnhurst said, many visitors have left behind litter.

"Littering is a big problem, and many concerned citizens have complained about the garbage and fish entrails that others are leaving," he said. "We simply don't have the resources or personnel to go in and pick up after them."