Where the Forest Service Gate closes the road for the winter many people visiting that area fail to find a place to legally park. This creates danger should emergency responders need access beyond the gate.
*** PRESS RELEASE March 16, 2020 ***
On February 15 Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office encountered a problem with cars and trucks parked at the Forest Service gate that is closed on Diamond Fork Road in Spanish Fork Canyon. This gate, which is 8.8 miles from US Highway 6, is closed during the winter every year. There are two pullout areas before the gate where people can park. People parking along the road must insure that they are completely off of the pavement in order to allow for emergency vehicles to access the area should that be necessary. When people park on, or partially on, the pavement it narrows access and makes it difficult or impossible for larger vehicles, such as ambulances or other emergency responders, to pass. On this day there was even a truck with an attached horse trailer parked straight in front of the gate. Deputies found 93 vehicles near the gate. 47 of them were parked illegally. The owners of each of those 47 vehicle received citations for the parking violations.
We strongly encourage people to park legally. Most of the people in these vehicles were likely there to hike to the Fifth Water Hot Springs. If they are willing to park there and walk 1.2 to the Hot Springs trailhead, then hike another 2.3 miles to the hot pots, we believe the small effort it would take to legally park would give them no more than addition 1/4 to 1/2 mile to walk. Sheriff's Office officials are working with U.S. Forest Service officials in an effort to come up with a solution to this problem. We want people to enjoy this feature, but parking to do so must be done in a way that will leave safe access for emergency vehicles should the need arise. And at the Diamond Fork Hot Pots we respond to many medical calls there every year.
Illegal parking is a recurring problem in this location and in the area of the trailhead parking lot during summer months. On October 6, 2019, Deputies encountered similar parking problems and cited the owners of 19 vehicles who were illegally parked. They have issued citations on other dates as well, although not on this large of a scale.
For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office.
(801)404-1912 - Cell
(801)851-4333 - Office
Twitter: @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO