NEPHI — “Utah’s largest sandbox,” a colloquial nickname for the Little Sahara Recreation Area located in Juab County, is expecting an uptick in visitors during this year for Easter weekend — with the Bureau of Land Management expecting visitor numbers to be double that of Easter weekend last year.

“This year, Easter weekend overlaps with a lot of the school districts’ spring break so we are expecting anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000,” said Ashley Snipes, BLM public affairs specialist for the West Desert District. She said visitation numbers during this time of year usually top out around 20,000 to 30,000 visitors.

Little Sahara Recreation Area is loved by outdoor enthusiasts for its off-roading opportunities, but the hikes, wildlife viewing and camping opportunities are also ripe for the experiencing at the recreation area.

Due to the expected surge in visitors, the BLM is increasing staffing and implementing measures to ensure everyone who visits Little Sahara next weekend can have a safe, fun time enjoying the unique recreational activities the area offers.

“We encourage visitors to follow all rules and regulations, to respect the environment and practice safe off-road vehicle use, and we thank our partners for prioritizing visitor safety through their continued public service,” said BLM West Desert District Manager Michael Gates in a statement.

Children under 18 are required to wear a helmet on all all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, said Snipes. The BLM also says children under the age of 8 are not allowed to operate off-highway vehicles, under any circumstance; and riders are also reminded that operating off-road vehicles while intoxicated is illegal. Guests at the recreational area are advised that large bonfires and the use of firearms are not allowed at Little Sahara.

Water has been shut off at the White Sands campground due to shifting sands in the campground’s play area making the area unsafe, so visitors are being asked to avoid camping there.

Another strategy being implemented to handle the expected visitor surge is the opening of two kiosks where entrance passes can be purchased. Visitors can also buy their passes at the newly-constructed visitor center, or purchase online at recreation.gov.