"Cabin fever" is driving people outdoors and into the forests.
And that concerns Forest Service officials.Human intrusion, especially during the spring, can cause excessive soil damage, road destruction and stress on big-game herds. This has prompted an urgent plea from Richfield District Ranger Ted Fitzgerald of the Fishlake National Forest for Utahns to respect and protect natural resources.
Soils, like wildlife, are fragile at certain times of the year and need protection. He noted that all-terrain vehicle riders are pushing into the foothills and urged them to honor signs that advise restrictions or no travel.
Some roads are closed throughout the year to motorized vehicle use because of wildlife issues, watershed concerns and to provide non-motorized recreation opportunities. Other areas are restricted against travel, especially during spring thaws when serious damage can occur.
Forest Service officials are re-emphasizing the travel plan by installing new signs in certain travel-restricted areas that explain the need for limited or no vehicle use, the ranger said. Most of the previous signs were removed by van-dals.
Officials of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources and forest managers will consider the need for additional vehicle use restrictions, Fitzgerald said.
He noted that travel maps are available at district ranger offices in Richfield, Loa, Fillmore and Beaver. Additional information may be obtained by calling a ranger district office or Fitzgerald at 1-435-896-9233.