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BLM>Colorado>Field Offices>Grand Junction>Recreation>Camping>Undeveloped Campsites
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Using Undeveloped Camp Sites

Camp at previously used sites, if possible.  Research studies have shown that the most rapid negative changes to soil and vegetation occur during the first few times campsite is used.  

Firepans or stoves are recommended when camping on BLM lands.   A fire pan is a metal tray used to contain a campfire and prevent the fire from blackening the soil (oil pans work great!).  Before breaking camp, it is a simple matter to transfer cold ashes into a plastic bag or other container for disposal at home.  If you use a fire pan carefully, it is possible to leave a campsite with no scars or evidence of your use.  The use of firepans may be banned during high fire danger periods.

Avoid building new fire rings.  Unnecessary fire rings scar the natural beauty of sites and reduce the amount of space available for sleeping and cooking areas.

Use only dead and down wood for campfires.  Bringing your own firewood is the best policy to practice.  Both dead and live trees add to the scenic qualities of campsites. 

Do not put cans bottles or aluminum foil into a fire ring.  These items do not burn, and their presence may lead subsequent users of the site to build a new fire ring.

Burn campfire logs to ashes, then douse with water.  Do not smother a campfire with soil, as this will make it difficult for the next visitor to use the same fire ring.  If you must leave a campsite before the fire burns all of the wood, douse the fire with water before you are ready to leave camp, then stir it with a stick, then douse it again to make sure it is completely out.

Dispose of human waste properly. The use of portable toilets is highly recommended. If no portable toilet is available, solid body waste and urine should be buried in a hole six to twelve inches deep. The disposal site should be located well away from streams, campsite, and other use areas. Toilet paper should be placed in a small plastic bag and put into your camp trash bag.

Pack out your trash (and a little extra).  For years, public land managers have promoted the "pack-it-out" concept in an effort to foster self-cleanup ethic among public land users. This program has generally been successful.  Most people no longer leave or bury trash at campsites.

Printable Brochure (pdf)


- device used to contain a fire, keeping the heat of the fire from
touching the ground.

Dig a "cathole" 6 - 8 inches deep
to bury human waste

pack out what you pack in
Pack out what you pack in