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aztex

BLM Fees?

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Howdy,

I keep stumbling upon conflicting information about BLM boondocking. Seems some have to pay, other not. All have 14 day max but no mention of how far you must vacate to continue your stay.

 

Any go-to sources for the definitive answers on BLM or even other boondocking sites?

 

Thanks,

 

Az Tex

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The fees, stay length, and time out of area all differ with the different BLM regions.  For example, at the Long Term Visitor Areas in Arizona & California, you can renew 14 day, $40.00 permits without moving, or pay $180.00 for 7 months.  Next door to the LTVAs are 14 day dispersed areas with the following requirement: "Dispersed camping is allowed on Public Lands in Arizona for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days"

Again, the rules are up to the local BLM management.

Edited by vermilye

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I suspect that your conflicting information is mostly due to the fact that there is not just one type of camping from the BLM. The LTVA's(Long Term Visitor Areas) do have a fee but you can stay there for as long as 7 months. In some other areas, they have defined campgrounds and those have fees. And there are other places where you can stay on BLM land with no campsites for no fee at all. The two latter types typically have a 14-day limit, but not always. You need to check the rules for the place that you are wanting to go. 

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Here's a good explanation of BLM camping.  I'd highly suggest using the Benchmark atlas series for a good way to find BLM land.  For detailed info on exactly where you want to stay it's best you contact the regional BLM office.  We've stayed on lands in some states but not long-term so we didn't pay anything. We'd learn of the places by word of mouth or reading boondocker blogs, etc.  Government agencies such as BLM and the forest service have very poor consumer information out there that is easily attained.  You have to dig.  Good luck!

https://www.rv-camping.org/blmcampgrounds/

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The Forest Service Website has links to all of the websites for the individual National Forests. The rules for length of stay in that Forest will be described. The Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) for each Forest (search the website for MVUM) will show the areas where vehicle camping is allowed and describe how far off the roadway vehicles may be driven. This website contains links to the MVUMs for many of the National Forests.

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4 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Thank for the site. It looks good.  We used this one and found that the descriptions were right on although it's getting a little old. The driving directions are excellent:

https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/pictures/pictures.htm

I have used the Forest Camping website many times, but am not aware that it contains information about vehicle camping (dispersed camping/boondocking). The National Forests do still have some free developed campgrounds which are listed in the Forest Camping Guide. How/whether one distinguishes between dry camping versus boondocking depends as there seems to be no clear distinction in many discussions as long as both are free.

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I've been boondocking almost exclusively for over a year now and really enjoy it. As posted above LTVA areas are exceptions when you pay for a permit and can stay much longer. Most BLM areas you are allowed 14 days dispersed camping for free and then you are supposed to leave. There's a lot of areas this obviously isn't enforced, but I try not to be part of the problem and move on after 2 weeks. Besides at 2 weeks, that's usually time to dump & fill and I'd rather go to a new location then come back to where I was. Technically for most BLM camping, you are supposed to have a free permit from either a camp host or local Forest Service office. Again, in most places this isn't enforced, but you can find it and very popular areas where maybe people have abused the privilege. I ran into this outside Escalante where permits were definitely enforced by a "volunteer".

Another option in AZ is State Trust Land. You have to buy a permit ($15/singe $20/couple). It's good for 2 weeks on state trust land. I recently did this for the first time outside Lake Havasu City, AZ. 

My top resources for finding well established dispersed camping are Campendium.com and freecampsites.net

 

Edited by BlueLghtning

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9 hours ago, aztex said:

I keep stumbling upon conflicting information about BLM boondocking. Seems some have to pay, other not. All have 14 day max but no mention of how far you must vacate to continue your stay.

As others said, each area has slightly different rules. They don't "all" have a 14 day limit, some are designated long term. The BLM has Long Term Visitor Areas, paid campground areas, and then everything else falls under Dispersed Camping (where allowed).

Here is an online PDF that answers your 2nd question for Dispersed Camping areas, its move at least 25 miles and 28 days before returning to the same spot.   https://www.blm.gov/download/file/fid/20778

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Thanks!

 

Looks like I got some home work!

 

I want to try out along Colorado River/Q-site/CA deserts in the coming weeks/months.... I should do a close to town one where I can gauge my capacities and fine tune my usage. I bought a generator today so will be able to work and play!

 

Thanks,

 

Az Tex

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I worked at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, U S Forest Service, in Idaho last summer. The designated campgrounds all had a modest fee, $16 to $20 depending on the site. None had any hookups at all. The dispersed areas , and there were many, were free. Most had a 14 day limit, some were only 10. 

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