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Interesting "mainstream media" article on boondocking in the Verde Valley


VallAndMo

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Hello folks,

 

 

Just stumbled upon this: Mini RV Boondock towns are sprouting up throughout Verde Valley

 

The article seems well-balanced at first, but ends in a somewhat ominous note:

 

Assistant Recreation Staff Officer Dan Ritter of the National Forest Service is well-aware of the conversion of campers to residents.

"This is not just an Arizona issue. It's becoming more of an issue nationwide and ongoing it will continue to become an even bigger issue," said Ritter

 

I just hope this doesn't lead to a diminishing of the freedom to boondock that most of us enjoy responsibly...

 

Cheers,

--

Vall.

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There are always going to be folks that abuse the privileges all are afforded, and it might be splitting hairs.. but in my mind there is a distinct difference between "boondockers" and "RV squatters" on public lands. I don't necessarily see anything wrong with a couple 2 or 3 rigs boondocking together for a short period of time, but from the article, that doesn't sound like what is happening... which I 'do' have issue with. These sound more like little mini slab cities. In my estimation.. one of the most vile abuses of "freedom".

 

I like to think that boondockers are pretty responsible folk and understand the impact on the environment where they drop hitch.. or at least that has been my experience with folks I've had the privilege to meet on the road. It kind of depends on your location as well. Ie., a dessert locale is generally much more forgiving to longer stays in a single location. The winds blow and pretty much any trace of our stay is wiped clean. In more forested areas even walking trails and such generally take more time to recover so shorter stays are warranted.

 

Other than throwing in RV squatters as "boondockers" (which is really very understandable since there is a mix) I think the article was evenly bias and well written. It does represent a growing problem and probably will have an impact on all boondockers at some point. Heftier fees.. more regulation.. access limitations..

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The problems with RV homesteading/RV enclaves/RV mini towns have been festering for years in the Flagstaff/Sedona/Cottonwood area. It has become very popular as a summering spot with many who winter at the Quartzsite and Yuma LTVAs. Many stayed more than the allowed number of days trying to game the rules by moving short distances and returning to the same locations over and over. Here is an article from 2011. There were a number of discussions on this forum that are no longer available that were started by the individual who organizes the "Rubber Tramp Rally" and had just held one in the Cocconino National Forest with 30-40 RVs in a dispersed camping area. There were several articles in local Arizona newspapers. On this and other RV forums, the Forest Service was portrayed as going after anyone that fulltimed in their RV and there was a lot of hand wringing and bravado about the issue. I believe Nana25k from this forum contacted the Washington Office of the Forest Service and discussed the issue. The concerns would disappear from the forums for awhile and then reappear when an RVer was issued a citation.

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Howdy Reed and Elaine,

 

Just do not go to "boondock" towns. Not problem if you do dispersed camping and no one else around. There are plenty of dispersed spots in eastern Arizona and western NM if you like to be by yourself and enjoy solitude.

We've been to two forum rallies and enjoyed them, but usually we prefer to be by ourselves with no one else around.

 

We've not been to the East AZ/West NM region yet, nor read much (if anything) about it, but it does sound lovely -- would you mind pointing us a couple of good spots?

 

Thanks in advance,

--

Vall.

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Vall

 

One of the nicest places is north of Lordsburg, NM. There are a lot of passable roads out there on BLM land. We have friends who have been full-time boondocking for 20 years and they showed us a place that has a lot of great camping spots within a few miles of the Gila River. I can probably send you the GPS. Eastern Arizona is pretty much the same. It is far enough from the population centers of Arizona that a lot of spots are secluded but are well known, e.g. "The Green Windmill" area. Another spot is Harshaw Canyon near Patagonia, AZ. The locals say it is safe altlhough it is fairly close to the border, and the Border Patrol seemed to drive by every couple of hours. There is just a lot of boondocking spots near the border that many folks are afraid to go - but the locals seem not to be bothered. There are two roads in the area that the New York Times thought are among the prettiest in the USA. One is the Ruby Road that goes west along the border (some of the best birding in the USA with the only spot in USA that the 5-Striped Sparrow nests) and it has a large Border Patrol Presence. The other road heads east from Harshaw Canyon in a beautiful wooded region with a number of dirt roads and old (`120 year old) mining sites. We found a dozen sites in Harshaw Canyon that would take a large rig and several that would take two or three rigs - and surprisingly, there is cell phone tower on a nearby mountain that gives cell phone coverage in much of the canyon. You can forget about Patagonia Lake SP; it is beautiful and delightful, and everyone in Arizona knows and loves it so weekends are booked up months in advance.

Reed and Elaine

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I did indeed discuss this with the USFS in Washington. In fact several times as the person I dealt with looked things up and I am a little fuzzy on all the exact details and the exact code of each. Since they were in 2 different places it made for some confusion.

The upshot of the conversation centered around 2 regulations each in a different part of the code/ rules.

In the end one regulation had not been updated, that being the description of what constituted a recreational/ vacation camper as opposed to fulltimers. It gave, and may still give Forest Service LEO the discretion to cite people who were gaming the rules by constantly moving from one site to another.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello folks,

 

 

Just stumbled upon this: Mini RV Boondock towns are sprouting up throughout Verde Valley

 

The article seems well-balanced at first, but ends in a somewhat ominous note:

 

Assistant Recreation Staff Officer Dan Ritter of the National Forest Service is well-aware of the conversion of campers to residents.

"This is not just an Arizona issue. It's becoming more of an issue nationwide and ongoing it will continue to become an even bigger issue," said Ritter

 

I just hope this doesn't lead to a diminishing of the freedom to boondock that most of us enjoy responsibly...

 

 

 

Your comment about a ominous note is absolutely correct.

 

There is a long history of boondocking on Forest Service and BLM lands: http://usbackroads.blogspot.com/2010/03/short-history-of-boondocking.html

 

With the concessionaire campgrounds running empty and the environmental impacts of boondocking I suspect that the Forest Service and BLM will continue to move more and more into designated camping areas. Some of these might be "areas", but I suspect most of the effort will be to herd people in campgrounds.

 

Enjoy the boondocking today. It might not be there tomorrow.

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I think boondocking in Quartzsite will be around for a very long time. In winter, of course, as it's getting a bit warm now! The nice thing is ATV enthusiasts can easily access the thousands of miles of off-road trails right from their camp on the BLM lands surrounding the town. Just this March, the BLM finally designated 1,100 miles of trails. Also the proposed Arizona Peace Trail is a 750 mile loop off-road trail system from Yuma to Kingman / Bullhead City. (It's connecting existing trails) The trail goes right through Quartzsite on the west end of town from Bouse and jumps right into BLM lands. So I think dispersed camping will actually be growing in popularity, at least around Quartzsite.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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