Public lands provide ample opportunities for campers to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you enjoy camping in undeveloped areas or prefer the convenience of developed campgrounds, you will find that the public lands provide a wide range of outdoor recreation activities.
Please use these simple SAFETY REMINDERS when camping on public lands:
Camping is generally allowed on all public lands. Some campgrounds have been developed for the convenience of visitors and the protection of resources.
Campfires may be built on public lands in accordance with local fire regulations. Campfires should be built in a manner to ensure safety of the public, BLM resources, and other lands. NEVER start a fire with flammable liquids. Water and a shovel should always be part of your camping gear so you can properly extinguish your campfire.
Campers who use catalytic headers should ALWAYS VENTILATE the tent or RV. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death. Hibachi-type cooking devices should always be used outdoors and never in spaces without good ventilation.
Garbage containers are provided in most BLM campgrounds. Please use them. Improperly discarded trash attracts flies, insects, animals, and can cause unsanitary conditions. When no garbage containers are available, the standard rule applies – “pack it in, pack it out.”
Public lands provide hikers with an abundance of scenery and terrain for recreational use. You will find a wide range of hiking opportunities on public lands, from designed trails to cross country exploration. When hiking on public lands, please use the following precautions:
Proper clothing such as log soled footwear and layered clothing protects the hiker from possible injury such as cuts and scrapes. Protect yourself against hypothermia and heat exhaustion by knowing weather forecasts and dressing properly. Check with the local BLM office for hiking conditions prior to the hike.
In some areas, developed trails are provided for your convenience and the protection of resources. Hiking trails on public lands provide access to backcountry and wilderness areas. When leaving designated trails, you risk getting lost in an area that may be unfamiliar to you. If you do become lost, stay where you are. Save your energy and provisions – let rescuers find you.
Proper Equipment is essential to your safety. Keep a map of the local area and a compass in your backpack. Emergency supplies such as waterproof matches, a flashlight, extra food, water, first aid kit, knife, and a light plastic tarp for shelter should be in your backpack. The tarp or a 30-gallon trash bag can be used as a pancho or a ground panel for aircraft to spot. A piece of tinfoil can make a hat, a collector for water, or a signal mirror.
Know your limits. Pace yourself. Be in good physical condition BEFORE you go hiking. If you are on medication, take an adequate supply along. Let your hiking companion(s) know about your condition. If you are allergic to bees, DO NOT forget your bee sting kit.
Pretrip planning saves lives. Let someone know your exact location and your schedule – when you leave and when you plan to return. Leave information about your vehicle (color, model, license number).
Do not drink water from streams or lakes. This water may contain microorganisms that contain GIARDIA. GIARDIA causes nausea, headaches, and diarrhea. Water can be purified by boiling using filters or tables. Local sporting good stores provide these supplies.
When hunting on public lands, a thorough knowledge of the outdoors is required. Here are some safety tips for hunters.
Know your firearm, how it works and its capabilities. Always assume that all firearms are loaded.
It is safer to hunt with a companion. If you are injured or become ill, a companion can be a lifesaver. Knowing how to use a map and compass is also essential. Maps are available from your local BLM office.
Leave a trip schedule. Let a responsible person know your exact hunting area, when you are leaving and plan to return, and names of companions. Also, leave vehicle information (color, model, license number).
Wear adequate clothing, including lug-soled footwear, and know the weather forecast. Hunting in cold weather requires caution. Remember to layer clothing – dry wool clothing is your best insulation. An orange florescent vest will make you more visible to other hunters.
Carry emergency gear just in case you need to remain overnight in the backcountry. Food, shelter, water, and heat requirements should be considered in your planning.
Be sure of your target. Never fire until you can positively identify your target.
Remember: Alcohol and firearms don’t mix!
Fishing opportunities on public lands are plentiful. Have a safe and fun fishing trip by following these safety tips:
Use caution while fishing on riverbanks – make sure the bank is stable.
Use caution when wading in rivers and streams. Be aware of swift currents and slippery rocks.
When fishing from a boat, always wear a personal floating device.
Don’t overload the boat. Know the limits of the craft.
Watch the weather. If high winds, thunder storms, and waves begin, get off the water immediately.
When near the water, never let children out of your sight.