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Law Enforcement - Camping Regulations

Camping on BLM landsBLM-managed public lands provide a variety of options for camping. Campers can stay in a tent, in a trailer or other vehicle, on a boat or even out under the stars.

However you choose to enjoy your camping trip on public lands, please remember the following regulations:

• You must not camp longer than 14 days in any 30 day period at any one location, including any campground on public land. After 14 days have been reached, you must move at least 30 air miles away from the previously occupied location. 

• You must not leave any personal property or refuse after vacating the campsite.  This includes any property left for the purposes of use by another camper or occupant. You must not leave personal property unattended in a campground, designated recreation area or any other public lands for more than 48 hours.  Vehicles left parked for the purpose of overnight camping, hiking, river rafting or other authorized recreation activities are exempt.

• You must not establish occupancy, take possession of or otherwise use public lands for residential purposes except as allowed under 43 CFR 3715.2, 3715.2-1, 3715.5, 3715.6, or with prior written authorization from the BLM.

• If a camping area charges fees, you must register and pay camping fees within 30 minutes of entering the fee area, and you must not violate any State of Colorado or county laws or regulations relating to public health, safety, sanitation, building or fire codes while camping on, occupying or using public land.

All cutting and removing of wood from BLM lands requires a permit and is allowed only in designated areas. Wood-cutting permits are obtained at BLM district and field offices. The person who was issued the permit and the permit itself must be present during all wood-cutting activity.

With the purchase of a permit, wood tags are issued. Wood tags are used to document the amount of wood harvested. Wood tags must be validated and affixed to the load of wood before it is transported.

Most wood permits are issued for personal use. A commercial wood-cutting permit must be obtained for any wood that will be sold. Common wood cutting violations include:
• Cutting or removing trees without a permit or in an area not open to wood cutting
• Cutting green wood without a green wood permit
• Transporting without a valid wood tag
• Violating stipulations of a permit

• Camping is generally allowed on all public lands. Some campgrounds are developed for the convenience of visitors and 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 heaters should ALWAYS ventilate their tent or RV. Lack of ventilation can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. 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 and animals and can cause unsanitary conditions. When no garbage containers are available, the standard rule applies – “pack it in, pack it out.”

Camping/Hiking in the Alpine Loop

• 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 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, 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 poncho 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 and pace yourself. Be in good physical condition before you go hiking. If you are on medication, take an adequate supply along. Let your hiking companions know about your condition. If you are allergic to bees, bring a bee sting kit.

• Pre-trip 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.