The Utah County Sheriff’s Department reported on March 16 that illegal parking remains a problem on Diamond Fork Road in Spanish Fork Canyon.

When the U.S. Forest Service gate closes the road for the winter, many people visiting the area fail to find a place to legally park. This creates danger should emergency responders need access beyond the gate.

On Feb. 15, deputies with the sheriff’s office encountered a problem with cars and trucks parked at the Forest Service gate. This gate, which is 8.8 miles from U.S. 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 ensure 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, with 47 of them parked illegally. The owners of each of those 47 vehicle received citations for parking violations.

Most of the people in these vehicles were likely there to hike to the Fifth Water Hot Springs.

Sheriff’s office officials are working with U.S. Forest Service officials in an effort to come up with a solution to this problem. People should be able to enjoy this feature, but parking must be done in a way that leaves safe access for emergency vehicles should the need arise. Emergency workers also respond to many medical calls at the Diamond Fork Hot Pots every year.

Illegal parking is also a recurring problem in the area of the trailhead parking lot during summer months.

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