U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|El Centro Field Office|
GENERAL INFORMATION: Camping opportunities can be found throughout public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Primitive campsites are located in a wide variety of environments. These sites are widely dispersed, undeveloped, and are generally not signed as campsites. They are usually clear of vegetation and have a hard compacted surface. These primitive sites offer one of the best ways to experience the deserts of California.
DISPERSED SITES: The general policy of the BLM is to allow dispersed camping on all the lands it administers with the following conditions and exceptions:
CAMPSITE USE: Many dispersed campsites are showing signs of impact from heavy use. You can lessen your impact on the desert by following Leave No Trace - minimum impact principles:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare: Get to know the area, rules, regulations, and any other special concerns before you leave.
-Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces: Use existing routes and trails. Camp at previously used sites. When there is no danger of rain or flash flooding, camp in washes. Signs of camping will eventually be washed away.
-Pack It In, Pack It Out: Pack out your trash and any that was left behind.
-Properly Dispose of What You Can't Pack Out: Deposit human waste in cat-holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Disguise the cat-hole when finished. Toilet paper should not be left behind. Pack it out in two sealable bags.
-Leave What You Find: Protect cultural resources. Leave all artifacts as you find them. Leave natural objects and avoid damaging vegetation.
-Minimize Use and Impact of Fire: Use a light weight gas stove for cooking. Fires should be kept small, using existing fire rings. Wood in arid environments is scarce, so bring your own firewood or do without.
-Protect and Conserve Water Resources: Camp at least 300 feet away from water sources. Avoid polluting water sources.