Are public land boondocking options in jeopardy?



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

Hi Bob,
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

Hi 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.  

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s 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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Please let’s get back to the issue here. Hasn’t enough damage to peer to peer relationship already been done?
I personally agree that wherever and whenever possible we should make it known we don’t appreciate the folks who trash our public lands. But let’s also try to work towards alleviation of the forces pushing people into these dire circumstances.
Sadly,we live in an age where once again corporate $$$ hunger will dictate the conversation over what constitutes the “public” in public lands.
As for moderating the response area of the newsletter I am all for it if it helps people stay on topic.

Lee Ensminger

“Is this trend foretelling the end of boondocking on public lands? —Bernie”

Bob and Bernie, have you, or others on here, considered that things like the “Travel Management Plan” may have been implemented in response to the change that has taken place in boondocking? I absolutely agree with “Pack it in/pack it [ALL] out, leave no trace behind,” but there are a growing number of people who are not just boondocking but attempting to LIVE on public lands. They are not necessarily good stewards of the land, either, and feel they can do pretty much anything they want to including dumping tanks and leaving plenty of trash behind, as well as cutting down anything in their way/”creating” firewood, etc. And no one can tell them differently, of course, because it’s THEIR land and everything should be FREE! [sarcasm intended] There’s a large and growing group of people who think only of what they want to do because it suits them and to heck with everyone else. IMHO, that is what will spell the end of boondocking on BLM and other public lands.


I know, unsustainable


Cannot believe the mis information here. Funny how greed is attached to trump when hillary continues to show unmitigated greed and in addition sold 23% of US uranium reserves for her own profit.
Exactly who is greedy?
Previous admin had us on a road to ruin in 9 short years the interest on 20 trillion now takes 1/3 of USTreasury cash flow + borrowing 6 billion PER DAY 100% or US cash flow would go to service debt. Do any of you understand finances? The liberal position is so totally unstainable just like the ACA. Totaly unstainable. Why does this not register w all????

Dann Gravett

Always remember…the same government that gave it to you can take it away from you, especially if there are business interests and cash involved. The squeeze is always on. You have one place here called Chuck’s RVing Travel Newsletter that you may comment your thoughts. Its good to protect it and subscribe.


WHO is moderating this? Why are all these political rants approved? Great way to lose readership. Can’t we have any place with all this hate and division?

mark c.

I’ve seen his work in one year he has done more harm than the last 20 years have seen. I’ll gladly take higher gas prices. Thanks for the straw man response.

Eric Eltinge

The last 8 years 1% economic growth. This year 3% and 38% growth in stock market. My net worth increased 1/3 in 1 year. Camping for free far less important than improving energy independence and good jobs for all Americans.


“work like you have never seen”?? You are right BillyBob, no other president has worked so little in that office. One third of his first year playing golf.


One word sums it all up…MONEY. Another word to add to it is GREED. Look who Americans elected.


The Bears Ears National Monument and the Escalante Grand Staircase monument were just recently reduced. These locations were wonderful, vast places to boondock, hike, explore. Now we may see an increase in Oil and Gas rigs, road building across areas that are sensitive and who wants to set up their rigs near noisy gas rigs. Now is the time to call your representative and protect OUR lands.

Tommy Molnar

This is scary stuff. More government overreach. And how is it that they call this “public land”, then tell the public they can’t use it, or they (we) have to pay again, (because our tax dollars already support the BLM and Forest Service) to spend any time on it.

Our local BLM office (which I’ve only visited twice) seems to have ‘snooty’ employees who like to make you think they are graciously allowing us to use “our” land. Not impressed.