Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
I read in the news that Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments will be downsized. We haven’t visited them, but are thinking we might visit before their size is reduced. Is boondocking allowed on either one? —Howard and Grace
Hi Howard and Grace,
As of right now boondocking (dispersed camping) is allowed in certain areas of both monuments, since both are in part managed by the Forest Service and BLM. But if the government’s plans get approved and survive the inevitable court challenges, both monuments will be shrunk and that may affect any boondocking opportunities.
In Bears Ears, dispersed camping is allowed within the part of the monument managed by the BLM, such as along Butler and Comb Wash roads, in the Valley of the Gods, and on Cedar Mesa. When dispersed camping, you must stay on previously disturbed areas within 150 feet of designated routes and driving off-road to create new camping is prohibited, as is camping in archeological sites.
Bears Ears is a unique monument since it is managed jointly by BLM and the Forest Service, with input from the Bears Ears Commission which consists of elected officers from the Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, and Zuni Tribe. The Monument also includes lands in the Manti-La Sal National Forest and lands managed by the BLM Monticello Field Office. Find more information here. You can find the Bear Ears NM map here.
Grand Staircase-Escalante remains – for now – the largest national monument in the United States. Spanning 1.9 million acres of America’s public lands, it is roughly the size of Delaware and was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped.
Dispersed camping is allowed, but before camping, talk with one of the rangers to obtain current information on road and weather conditions, maps and permits, which are required for all overnight use (a free overnight permit is required for dispersed camping outside of developed campgrounds). To protect soil crust, vegetation and other resources, you must park and camp in already disturbed areas that show signs of previous camping. No dispersed camping is allowed in the front-country zone. A visitor center can provide additional and more current information or visit the Grand Staircase – Escalante website.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .