The BlueRibbon Coalition has been protecting recreation access for all recreationists since 1987. As times have changed our focus has concentrated on off-road recreation, over-snow recreation, personal watercraft, and most recently UTVs. We see it as our job to anticipate what’s coming next. Even though we’re busier than we’ve ever been, we have noticed a disturbing trend that could make some of the fights we’ve fought in the past look small in comparison.
From Alabama Hills in California, to the heart of the Rockies in Colorado, and to the courtrooms of Utah we are finding a growing trend to limit or close areas to primitive, dispersed camping on public land. In most cases strong movements are growing to “concentrate” all “camping” into hardened campsites that require reservations.
People are passionate about public lands, and conflicts can get heated. However, most public land users agree that disappearing into an open landscape and finding “your special spot” where you can camp for free is a unique form of freedom and escape that is only available on America’s public lands. We didn’t expect to have to mobilize support for what is probably the most popular form of recreation there is.
But, we’ve been fighting these fights for a long time, and we can tell when there’s a storm on the horizon. If you enjoy dispersed camping on public land, now is the time to start organizing to protect your free access to your public lands.
We recognize and agree that like all forms of recreation, vehicle-based primitive camping does create impacts. Human waste, trash left behind, and campers squatting on public lands have all been impacts that have created pressure for closures. We think each of these impacts can be managed through a combination of education and more active land management. It is our experience that land managers often choose closure as the easiest option – especially if no organized users show up to recommend the other alternatives.
We created the Dispersed Camping Access Alliance as a special BlueRibbon Coalition project to build a community of everyone who is passionate about protecting access for dispersed camping. By joining our community, we will give you access to the on-the-ground information we are gathering through our day-to-day work. We will also look forward to helping you become strong advocates for dispersed camping in your favorite spots. When push comes to shove, we will make sure we have the lawyers and influencers to make sure public land managers adopt plans and rules that are friendly to the millions of responsible dispersed campers. Together we will work to protect your right to Camp Free! on America’s public lands.