Camping Restrictions Flowing Across Lake Sakakawea | VideoAmy Fox | 8/15/2012
"They were having a huge problem with people basically living on the WMA and making those residences with basically campers," said North Dakota Game and Fish Department Wildlife District Wildlife Supervisor Dan Halstead.
And, as Halstead explains, all those campers were beginning to push the limits.
"People could claim that they left for a day, plus our wardens were out there checking every single day, making sure those people were there, he said. It was really difficult to prosecute somebody for being longer than 10 days."
With more people staying at the sites for longer periods of time, it was causing lots of wear and tear on the land.
Halstead said, "As campers have become more popular, big 5th wheels and things, and people are pulling those in some of our wildlife areas, the disturbance definitely does start impacting the wildlife use in those areas."
That`s until the North Dakota Game and Fish Department began to enforce stricter camping policies.
"They came up with the idea to close the area a couple days a week, and basically force people to leave, so they would take their stuff home," said Halstead.
While the Game and Fish Department is serious about enforcing the new restrictions, Halstead said there are still exceptions to the rule.
"It was possible for people to camp during the week of the Fourth of July, since it landed on a Wednesday; we just exempt the rules that week.
But, before you pack up and leave the wildlife area, Halstead has a message for you.
"If they could clean up there messes when they leave, and you know, don`t drive off the trail, and leave it as you found it, he said. It will help out a lot with being able to continue having these areas open."
While this is only the first year the restrictions have been in place, the Game and Fish Department look to continue to allow campers at the wildlife areas throughout the state.
Camping restrictions are posted at the entrance of all wildlife management areas. For more information about these restrictions, go to: www.gf.nd.gov.