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Release Date: 04/09/13
Contacts: David Boyd, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 876-9008    

BLM working to improve camping at McInnis Canyons (04-08-13)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Visitors to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area west of Grand Junction will notice several changes to improve camping experiences this spring.

Construction on a number of improvements for the Rabbit Valley Campground is underway. The campground will be closed for several weeks while it is expanded from four sites to 16, which will include two new group campsites. The campground road will be improved, and each campsite will now have a tent pad, fire ring and picnic table.

“Rabbit Valley is a great place to car camp, and these improvements are designed to enhance the camping experience for visitors,” said Ben Blom, acting NCA manager for the BLM Grand Junction Field Office.

Boaters looking to camp in one of the 35 camping spots available along the Ruby-Horsethief stretch of the Colorado River are also seeing some changes.

Last year, the BLM began a camping permit system for this stretch of river. Under the permit system, boaters wishing to camp in this area between May 1 and Sept. 30 are required to obtain a permit in advance from the BLM office in Grand Junction. New this year, permits will be issued from the BLM office in Grand Junction for every day of the week and no self-issued permits will be available at the Loma launch site. Last year only weekend permits were available at the office.

“We heard from a number of people last year who told us having weekend permits available in one area and weekday permits in another was inconvenient, so having everything in one place should help people better plan their trips,” Blom said.

Permits become available 60 days prior to the launch date. For example, permits for launching June 7 first became available on April 9. The BLM office is closed on weekends and holidays. Call-in and walk-in service will only be available Monday through Friday. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis either in person at the Grand Junction Field Office or by telephone at 970-244-3050 or 1-855-807-1808 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. 

The BLM did not charge a fee for the camping permits last year to focus on the permitting system itself. This year, fees will be charged for camping permits based on group size. Fees would depend on the size of group and campsite selected: a small group (1-5 people) will pay $20, a medium group (6-14 people) will pay $50, and a large group (15-25 people) will pay $100. Fees collected will be used on-site to help manage and improve the area, including maintaining campsites and ensuring rangers are on-site to assist the public and enforce rules and regulations.

“The camping permit system for Ruby-Horsethief has been very well received by boaters, who can now plan ahead knowing they have a campsite before they launch,” Blom said.

Specific details about the Ruby-Horsethief camping permit system are available by visiting:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2815 H Road      Grand Junction, CO 81506  

Last updated: 04-09-2013