Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
It looks to me like the trend in the uses of public lands like the Forest Service and BLM is leaning toward commercial ventures and away from recreational. Examples are the Forest Service’s new Travel Management Plan restricting boondocking to only approved areas, the reduction of the size of some national monuments and opening formerly protected land to mining and other commercial exploitation. Is this trend foretelling the end of boondocking on public lands? —Bernie
That’s a frightening thought. I don’t know whether any government has the ability or support from the legislature to eliminate boondocking and, as a part of the bigger picture, recreation on public lands. Politicians from those states where considerable revenue is paid to state governments from the business of recreation (expenditures by visiting users of recreation lands, hunting and fishing license fees, taxes on river rafting providers, etc.) are well aware of that economic value – and boondockers do spend money when they visit states with large amounts of public lands.
However, the squeeze is on, and little by little commercial interests are edging out recreation. It may not be enough just yet to rouse the public, who then complain to their legislators and the news media picks up the story.
But that’s the scary part: the slow whittling away of recreational – and boondocking – opportunities. And one of the factors that play into this scenario is that most dedicated boondockers are retired (or close to it) and as such become less vocal and activist in voicing their opinions and pushing back. When that happens, all of a sudden we may all wake up one day and realize it’s too late – the land we once used for boondocking has shrunk and become unpleasantly restricted and there won’t be much we can do about it then.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .