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Government shutdown: Are BLM Land Boondockers kicked out?


Al F
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If there is a government shutdown, are BLM Land Boondockers kicked out? 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of RV'ers boondocking on LTVA (Long Term Visitor Areas) in southeastern AZ & southern CA.  If the government shuts down will they kick them out????

I know, in the past, they have kicked out everyone from the National Parks.  I believe they have stopped people from driving through the parks on state and US highways people use to access places outside the parks. 

Edited by Al F
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I guess I stand corrected. Did a little reading and looks like they actually did suspend all activities on BLM land as well the last shut-down and "did" announce the areas closed and said that folks currently in-land were to vacate within 48 hours. They also said that gates may be closed in some locations. There are so many areas that are not gated though I don't know how they would bar people from entering.

Some exceptions where listed. Ie., Hikers with back wood permits were allowed to remain until their permits expired.

If they are shutting down though and employees are not reporting for work I highly doubt they would really be able to actually close all gates, or to enforce the closure on BLM lands. LTVA's or "campgrounds" might be another matter since so many people congregate in areas like that.

Last time around though I doubt the closure lasted long enough to really allow for enforcement to be enacted. I couldn't really find anything about any penalties or such if you were found in those types of areas... nor any reports of incidents where somone was "evicted".

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2 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

What would that have to do with anything? Both agencies are part of the US Department of the Interior.

Possibly because one deals primarily with land use... such as timber and mineral rights and the other bureau is primarily geared toward recreation? It's one thing to tell Q public they can't go to Yellowstone or visit the Washington Monument and quite another matter to shut down the bulk of the U.S. timber industry(?)

It's not outside the realm of possibility that entire industry shutdowns might fall under the exceptions clause as were those considered essetial to U.S. interests and security during the last go-around.

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1 hour ago, Yarome said:

Maybe because BLM's are under the land managment bureau where parks and such are under the department of the interior (?)

Emphasis added.

I would think that someone on the forums might have been there last time. That probably would be a pretty good indication if the LTVA's will shoo people away. I can't recall having heard anything about it on the RV forums but we did about the national parks. Makes me doubt that it was done, but with federal agencies, who can predict? 

Edited by Kirk Wood
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This from a 2017 BLM Document related to the potential shutdown in September: "Campgrounds and Other Recreation Sites Campgrounds, boat ramps, and other recreation sites will be closed or posted as closed in areas where public access cannot practically be restricted. All facilities will be operationally shut down and posted accordingly, with gates locked, restrooms locked, and water systems shut down. Consistent with other Federal recreation providers, occupied sites would be given 48 hours to vacate, with the area shut down as the last visitor leaves. Shutdown activities for the sites would be completed within the 48 hour period. Campground hosts and other volunteers would be given the same 48 our period to vacate, and should not expect to receive any reimbursement for this period."

You can read the whole thing here: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/2017_09_blm_contingency_plan.pdf

Edited by GR "Scott" Cundiff
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Every time can be different from the last but in some cases they will have certaing personnel declared critical  or Key personnel and kept on , actually required. to work with a good chance of not getting paid until it is over.

Can you imagine not having wildland firefighters for instance.

I worked for the Post Office once and worked 7 months without a paycheck and knew some that worked longer and that was't due to a shut down.  Had a heck of a check when I finally got one.

I had forgotten that on the last one as a volunteer I was allowed to stay in place quiety as I was somewhat deemed useful as "security" and emergency notification.  I even made an emergency shut off of a leaking water line.

Sometimes some common sense can prevail.

Edited by bigjim
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1 hour ago, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

This from a 2017 BLM Document related to the potential shutdown in September:

Extremely informative! Thanks, Scott.

Page 3 specifically covers LTVA's and looks like they would/could also require being vacated within a 48hour window. Pretty "loose" on non-developed areas not capable of having access restricted other than posting that no services would be available. 

Good topic, Al.

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44 minutes ago, bigjim said:

 

 

I worked for the Post Office once and worked 7 months without a paycheck and knew some that worked longer and that was't due to a shut down.  Had a heck of a check when I finally got one.

 

When did this happen?  Back around 1970?

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There's only a handful of paid BLM personnel managing the LTVAs.  The vast majority of the operating personnel, including those manning the entry stations and monitoring the water and dump access, are volunteers.  BLM only comes around to collect the money deposited in the "iron rangers" when people check in.

It seems this would fall in line with the above article about keeping the parks open during an impasse. 

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We are currently boondocking near the Ingram Dam LTVA outside of Yuma.  We stopped by the registration trailer on Tuesday as asked the lady there the LTVA would kick everyone out if the government shut down.  She asked if it was a possibility that the gov would shut down.  I don't think she was even aware that congress is on the brink of shutting down the gov.   Anyways, no one has mentioned it to her as of 2 days ago. 

We are heading into CA to Anza Borrego Desert State Park, so if the feds do shut down we will be fine on state land.

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6 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

If a persons no good for anything else make a boss out of them, that way they are out of the way so we can get some work done.

 Based on that I should be in charge of everything.

Paul I believe that was the end of 1974 and part of 1975 at the PO.  There was a way to get some money advanced against you hours  but not all.  I was at the Dallas PO and I think it had something to do with converting to a new pay system on the computer.  We loved it everynight when we were dumping sacks on the conveyor that were not supposed to weigh more than70lbs. and some supervisor would be pushing us telling us all we expect is an honest days work for an honest days pay.   That was one time when I really saw the value of a union. Working fo the PO was a good job with descent pay put I am surprised more people didn't "go postal" with their management style.

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26 minutes ago, bigjim said:

 Based on that I should be in charge of everything.

Paul I believe that was the end of 1974 and part of 1975 at the PO.  There was a way to get some money advanced against you hours  but not all.  I was at the Dallas PO and I think it had something to do with converting to a new pay system on the computer.  We loved it everynight when we were dumping sacks on the conveyor that were not supposed to weigh more than70lbs. and some supervisor would be pushing us telling us all we expect is an honest days work for an honest days pay.   That was one time when I really saw the value of a union. Working fo the PO was a good job with descent pay put I am surprised more people didn't "go postal" with their management style.

I dont think young people know what an honest days work is !  For those of you getting kicked off our land that BLM thinks they own being as all government offices will be closed just take your RV to the nearest office and feel free to use the parking lots.

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4 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

BLM only comes around to collect the money deposited in the "iron rangers" when people check in.

What about the trash and water area at the entry? Are those not supplied by either paid employees of BLM or contractors? I would suspect that part might be affected even if visitors are not asked to leave? At the same time, it seems that the visitors have paid to be there so one would think........................   

Perhaps we will get lucky and Congress will stop playing political games and do something..... 

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There are some areas that are extremely low usage and won't be much trouble as long as no vandalism occurs but a lot of places are very high usage and those are a big problem even in the off season at times. So many employees are only seasonals and when they are gone the garbage and toilets can overflow quickly. That is why a lot are closed in off seasons. In theory that is a shame to limit the publics access to "their' land but if it wasn't done the expenses to maintain or clean up would be astronical so the different services have to be pragmatic about it. Sometimes if you are lucky you can get volunteers to pick up some of the slack but even a lot of SKP's that volunteer draw a line on toilets. 

As Kirk stated it costs to dispose of the trash even if you had a volunteer to pick it up. And remember we all want smaller government that will work for free.

Edited by bigjim
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3 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

RV to the nearest office and feel free to use the parking lots.

Even that is an issue. Remember this is not the agencies personal decision. Even parking lot often have trash cans and sometimes toilets. We have one that is highly used when the ranger station is closed. It is frequently a serious challenge keeping the toilet in any semblance of clean and stocked with toilet paper when normally if you are lucky to check it once a day as you have all the other sites in the district to maintain. We have amazing volunteers that clear trails thin the forest  replace roofs on toilets and who knows what they will not do. Often they raise money for materials on projects to get them done in anything like a timely manner.  There ain't know free lunch so if we want it someone has to maintain it and now it seems a lot of politicians are actively trying to turn volunteers into full time employees.

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4 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

What about the trash and water area at the entry? Are those not supplied by either paid employees of BLM or contractors? I would suspect that part might be affected even if visitors are not asked to leave? At the same time, it seems that the visitors have paid to be there so one would think........................   

Perhaps we will get lucky and Congress will stop playing political games and do something..... 

The entry stations are staffed by volunteers.  At the Quartzsite LTVAs, the water and dump stations are a mile and a half inland from the entry and another volunteer monitors them, checking that users have valid permits.

Trash pickup is a valid concern, it depends on whether the vendor believes he will be paid for service during any shutdown.

The Trump administration is saying they don't want the parks to shut down this time, and has directed the agencies to come up with contingency plans.  That carries some weight since the NPS and BLM are part of the Executive branch.  We'll see how that plays out.

Trump Officials Weigh Keeping National Parks Open Even If Government Shuts Down

All of this is just speculation unless there's someone on scene who has the true scoop.  I was planning to be in Quartzsite by now but I've have been delayed due to a busted transmission in my toad.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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8 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

The entry stations are staffed by volunteers.  At the Quartzsite LTVAs, the water and dump stations are a mile and a half inland from the entry and another volunteer monitors them, checking that users have valid permits

Isn't the water trucked in, or is there a well? While we have visited Q several times, with Pam's aversion to dry camping, we always stay in one of the RV parks. 

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7 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

Isn't the water trucked in, or is there a well? While we have visited Q several times, with Pam's aversion to dry camping, we always stay in one of the RV parks. 

The water at Ingram Dam LTVA, a little north of Yuma, has a 6 or 7 lane water fill station.  I believe the water comes from the Colorado river. 

I doubt trucking in water for the LTVA areas would work very well unless it was a very large water operation.  There are easily a hundred or two hundred RV's in the Ingram Dam area.  Probably more in the Quartzsite LTVA.

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4 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Isn't the water trucked in, or is there a well? While we have visited Q several times, with Pam's aversion to dry camping, we always stay in one of the RV parks. 

Where LTVAs have water (such as La Posa South in Quartzsite), it is from wells.  So water and dumping wouldn't be affected by any government shut down. 

As Lou said, trash would be a concern.  La Posa South has probably half a dozen large dumpsters, but those would quickly fill to overflowing if there was no trash pickup.  Where we are now, the LTVA has two large dumpsters and, while there's not as many people here as there are in Q, they would still fill up if there was no trash pickup.

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Since this is the week the "Big Tent" show opens in Quartzsite, the number of RVs in the nearby LTVAs has increased by large numbers.  When I arrived in November I was the only trailer in my section of LaPosa West; now there are hundreds.

While I was told by one of the volunteers that they will not be chasing people out of the LTVAs if there is a shutdown, obviously the rules can change.  I do know that there are enough RVs here that if they started chasing them out, it would take days just to get them out the entrances.

As Linda said, LaPosa South is well water, however last year they did go to alternate days during the busiest part of the season to let the well recover.

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