Saturday, December 2, 2023


You can’t camp just anywhere in the national forests


Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Dear Bob,
My mom and dad were avid RVers and when they retired, they nudged me into my first RV (a small class C) and encouraged me to boondock on public lands “where you can camp anywhere for free.” But I was recently told that I can only camp in the national forests where the forest service says I can camp. What’s the deal? —Tom

Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

A. In the good ol’ days, Tom,  what your mom and dad told you was true. But over the last few years the Forest Service (and now the BLM) has been implementing a new plan for the forests called the Travel Management Plan that controls, among other things, RVing and dispersed camping (i.e., boondocking, or camping outside of designated campgrounds).

Motor Vehicle Use Maps now show which forest service roads are permitted for driving (don’t worry, you wouldn’t want to drive your RV on any forest service roads that aren’t authorized) and also show where the dispersed areas are located. As long as you follow these new rules you won’t have any problems — and there are plenty of campsites to choose from.

These rules are in various stages of implementation in each forest, so visit the local or regional forest service office or stop a ranger for a map before you enter the forest. You can also find these maps and additional information online for each forest on the US Forest Service website.

Read more about boondocking at my blog.

Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .





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