The U.S. Forest Service for Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest posted on their Facebook page a reminder for visitors viewing the poppies near Box Elder campground to practice Leave No Trace principals after getting several complaints and concerns from locals on how the poppy fields were being treated this year.
“We don’t manage the poppy situation since they’re a non-native species,” said Ranger Jennifer Parker with the Logan Ranger District, “but we were getting several direct messages about folks who were upset about what was happening, so we wanted to remind people how they should be acting.”
The Leave No Trace principals are: stay on trails, don’t pick or remove vegetation, and leave an area the same or better than how you found it. Parker said the forest service doesn’t notice a lot of disrespect in the National Forest.
“In terms of people hiking, for the most part, they’re pretty good about it,” she said.
Poppies spread naturally with seed, and although they aren’t a naturally occurring flower, the locals look forward to their bloom every year. Parker said because of the long, wet spring they’re seeing a lot more poppies blooming this year, but the forest service doesn’t promote that kind of ornamental species.
“We try to promote the natural environment with native species that are supposed to grow, we don’t try to favor non-native plants.”
The complaints from local residents included illegal parking, trespassing on private property and destroying the fields as visitors tried to get the best angle for a photo.
“We just want to remind people to respect those private residences so everyone can continue to enjoy the fields.”