Let's Get Primitive

Visitor stands on a rock overlooking sunset over river and green landscape
Sacramento Recreational River, California

The first in our #GetPrimitive series where we give you the basics to get out on #yourpubliclands in locations far less developed than others.

Within the Department of the Interior there are several agencies, far and away the most well-known is the National Park Service. With amazing landscapes that harken to America’s natural wonder it’s not hard to see why. The National Park Service has  gone out of their way to ensure the best experience possible for the most amount of Americans – a noble goal. Neatly manicured and organized campsites, restrooms with hot water, showers and flushing toilets and don’t forget the visitor centers where you can find a nifty souvenir and nearly anything you might have forgotten. 

Tent illuminated against starry nightsky
The Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River section starts at Fort Benton,
Montana and runs 149 miles downstream ending at the James Kipp Recreation Area.

Then, there’s the Bureau of Land Management – we’re a little bit different. To be clear, this is no slight on our friends at the National Park Service, they do what they do masterfully and we are indeed thankful for them and the lands they manage. But, we’d be lying if we didn’t say we’re just a little more wild, a little more western.

You might find a visitor center at one of our recreation areas -- we’ll have maps and some sage advice at what to avoid and what to see, but not much else -- no trinkets or sweatshirts available. What you won’t find: developed campgrounds packed full or people, if it’s one of our more populous locations we might have some outhouses or a pit toilet (sorry, probably no showers). We’re a bit more raw, a bit more undeveloped, a bit more primitive and we specialize in primitive camping.

What do we mean when we say primitive?  Primitive camping, also commonly referred to as backcountry camping or dispersed camping, forgoes reservation campsites in favor of more remote areas without amenities such as bathrooms, running water or first aid supplies. Instead of following the herd to a common campground area, you hike in the opposite direction to discover a secluded area in which to home base your adventures.

Two people sit riverside in camping chairs
Crooked Wild and Scenic River offers a diversity of year-round recreation opportunities, such
as fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, wildlife and nature observation, whitewater boating, picnicking, swimming, hunting and photography. ​​​​The Chimney Rock segment is popular for camping, fishing, hiking, bicycling and for viewing eagles, ospreys and other wildlife.

Does primitive camping require a bit more #knowbeforeyougo? Absolutely. Does it require you to be a bit more savvy with your bushcraft? Absolutely. Will you be rewarded tenfold with amazing natural beauty and fewer people? Absolutely. With a little bit of knowledge and planning, it’ll be just you, whomever came with you and all of the splendor of the great outdoors.

If lack of bushcraft is standing in your way – have no fear, we’ve got you covered. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll prepare you with the skills needed to make your primitive excursion on BLM-managed lands more enjoyable. You can expect  blogs, videos and, infographics, as well as the details on some of our nation’s best kept secrets, the hidden across our nation. We’ll show you things like how to select the proper tent sight, how to start and put out a fire and other basic skills that’ll have you on your way in no time.

Camp set-up alongside the river
Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area is a true crown jewel in Utah and all public lands
managed by the BLM. It was one of the areas that was expanded due to the John D. Dingell,
Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law on March 12, 2019

Along the way we’ll talk about the Leave No Trace principles. With so many people stuck at home due to Covid-19 with limited recreation opportunities, we’ve seen an uptick in folks on #yourpubliclands unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory. That not only has far reaching implications for the ecosystem, but also impacts each one of our abilities to enjoy whatever space we happen to call home for a spell.

So, please follow along for our #GetPrimitive campaign, tell your friends about it and then get ready to learn about and go to the sorts of places people on Instagram only wish they knew about. We’re ready to Get Primitive! Are you?