Camping Etiquette on BLM lands
This past week I took my wife and kids camping at Temple Mountain near Goblin Valley in Utah. We showed up on Monday and planned on staying till Friday afternoon. We got a really nice spot and built a nice fire pit out of rocks, and had a couple picnic tables chained to the ground in the site. We had a great time and for the most part there weren’t too many people till around Thursday. Then it started to get pretty busy.
The Temple Mountain area is a first come first served camp area with no host or fee. It is BLM land is there are no hookups or anything but you can see the layout when you get there and know where the camping spots are. I pulled my Cougar 359MBI fifth wheel ( a large 5th wheel at just over 40 feet) and 12 foot aluminum trailer with our Teryx side by side behind it. So I take up a decent amount of space with my truck, 5th wheel, aluminum utility trailer, and side by side once we get all unpacked and settled in.
On Thursday afternoon I was out getting our dutch oven fired up and I notice a truck and utility trailer with a side by side pull up right next to my 5th wheel on the back side in my camping spot. He was an older guy that was nice. I talked to him for a minute and asked what he was doing. He said his family was coming around the loop in the camp area and they were going to park literally right next to my trailer - in between me and the road about 15 feet away. Now mind you this camp spot is easy to tell it’s a single spot, but it is a larger spot. I am taking up most of the space with my set up. Then they want to shoe horn a truck, utility trailer, side by side, camping trailer, and another SUV right next to me. I told him I’d rather not have some one park right on top of me like that and asked him to find a new spot. Also my truck is new and this is the first time we’d been out with this setup and I don’t have the clearance dialed in just yet on my hitch and I need a decent amount of room to maneuver to get my trailer out without hitting the bed of my truck with the 5th wheel. After talking for a minute he said they would do that but asked if they could park there for the meantime while they run around on the side by side to find a new spot. I agreed and everything seemed fine. Then his son and family pull up in their SUV pulling their trailer. His arrogant daughter-in-law gets out and starts ranting very loudly about how I don’t own the place and they can camp anywhere they please. Technically she’s right, I don’t own the space, but I was there first and it is occupied. What ever happened to people having manners and not crowding another camper just because they decided to come in late and they like the spot I am in?
I’m usually pretty calm but boy this set me off. She insisted that she was staying there and told here husband to pull in and set up up. After the old man talked to his son the men and kids unloaded the side by side, got in, and went for a ride to find a new spot leaving the grouchy and entitled woman behind. I’m still working on getting dinner going in the dutch oven and she circles my trailer eyeing all my stuff and walking within 10 feet of my trailer, gear, and fire pit where I’m working on dinner. I couldn’t believe her arrogance and lack of respect for a fellow camper. I don’t know what is wrong with people sometimes and there lack of manners and general decency is upsetting. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind but figured it wasn't worth making a bigger problem out of it. They did end up leaving after a while but this lady sure had me mad.
In all my years of camping I’ve never had anyone insist on camping right on top of me in my spot on BLM land. I was floored by this ladies arrogance and lack of good manners. Is this general practice now to just camp right on top of someone or did I just get to deal with a rude lady? It sure took the fun out of it that night. The rest the trip was nice though and we made it home safely.
Sounds like they are jerks. At least they did move along. Thank heaven for small favors.
They way it was explained to me in BLM is that every established fire ring designates a spot. We have had people camp in our spot when other spots were full. We are ok sharing providing people ask and are cordial and agree not to make noise running their generator, radio etc next to us. We had a woman in a class B once ask if she could camp near us because she felt nervous camping by herself. We have met some nice people on BLM land camping.
We have also picked up and moved spots when people were jerks and making a nuisance of themselves even when they were parked next to their own fire ring a short distance away.
One thing we have noticed just in 3 years is that BLM lands are getting fuller and trash is becoming a bigger issue. We always pick up trash left behind in our camp but it seems like it is getting worse each year. Curious to hear from some of you that have been doing this longer than we have. Our camping experience goes back 30 years but we are relatively new to Public lands dry camping.
I've noticed places where people use a lot of ATVs and other off-road vehicles the camping etiquette is much looser on proximity and noise. We've camped in some of the large dunes and near off road areas before and even on days when hardly anyone was there have had people come camp almost on top of us and start running around in the ATV's hooting and hollering. One time they even started setting off fireworks about 100 yards from us at 11 pm.
I think they just get used to it as that's what they normally do when camped in huge congregations for weekend partying. Overall though we've had very little problems with other campers on BLM land.
Curiosity question....on BLM land, where appropriate, and safe, is it ok to target shoot?? I'm just curious at the protocol...is it acceptable, are there "shooting only" spots? I'm new to all this so I'm not even sure of the question!! I know friends who target shoot in the Nevada desert, BLM land, faraway from civilization.....comments???? Experiences??? Thanks!! Great forum Ray!!
I've encountered people shooting a few times on BLM land and of course, have heard it off in the distance many times.
One time was at Whitney Pockets in Nevada, a boy scout troop was target shooting with old musket rifles, they even let me shoot one, pretty neat, but missed.
Another spot was at Table Mesa BLM near Phenoix, they have a target range, all day long shooting was going on about 1/2 mile from camp and much of it automatic weapons, kinda got on my nerves so we left the next day.
Here is an information page I found -
Each region likely has its own rules and places so best to call up the local BM field office and get advice from the rangers.
Wow I thought is was not allowed ?
Best ask Ranger like Ray said have fun .
I feel your pain. We just got back from camping at Lone Rock Campground on Lake Powell. It is part of the Glen Canyon National Rec Area but it doesn't have specific campsites. You just camp anywhere on the beach. It was pretty crowded down by the water, but everyone was leaving at least 30 - 40 feet between one another and there were many places of more than 100 feet between campers. If you camped up above the beach there was plenty of emptiness to camp in. I usually prefer the neighbors a little farther away than 30 feet, but we wanted to be close to the water.
One afternoon after paddling around in the lake I looked up and someone had shoehorned their motor home in the 30 feet or so between my trailer and the truck/trailer behind us. They were 5 feet off of my back bumper. I walked up and asked if they were going to camp there and they said yes. I said they were awful close and there were other places to camp. They just ignored me. They started their barbeque about 8 feet in front of MY camper and filled my trailer with smoke while I was taking a shower. They sat their camp chairs right beside my camper door and started a campfire and then went for a walk on the beach, leaving their campfire burning and smoking us out.
I could hear every word they said and smell everything they were cooking. It was getting late and my DH and I decided to move in the morning. Thankfully, they left early in the morning so we didn't have to move. At least 5 people came up to us after they left and commented on what jerks they were. To be fair, they were from a foreign country and in a rented motorhome, and maybe they have a different concept of personal space than we do in the US and little camping experience. But, they should understand the danger of leaving alone a burning campfire for more than an hour.
I would have put it out for them . lol
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