Popular Boondocking Site Closed, Citing “Gov’t Has Their Own Rules”
And so it begins. Less than one month into 2021, another boondocking (free camping) site has reported that it is closed.
This time it’s a popular spot east of the Mississippi.
Closing these locations has been a common theme since more RVers have hit the road over the last 12 months. In response to less air travel and hotel stays, camping is growing in popularity.
But, boondocking is suffering the consequences.
We’ll share the exact spot and what the government officials say it the reasoning.
Let’s dive in.
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking is when you camp for free, usually on national forest or BLM land.
You’ll have no hookups, but you won’t have to pay anything either. This means, in most cases, you’ll need to provide your own power, water and waste management.
Pro Tip: Here’s an in-depth look at the safety of boondocking.
What Boondocking Site Was Closed?
Let’s be clear; many people will call this an overnight parking site. However, we call it boondocking or free-camping, because it’s not like traditional overnight parking (i.e. Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro).
The site that closed is the Natchez Visitors Center in Natchez, Mississippi.
It was rated 3.5/5 star on Free Campsites Net.
One of the most unique aspects of this now closed free campsite is that they offered free water, power, and sewer connection. This visitor center also overlooks the Mississippi River and is only a mile from the heart of downtown
We camped at this spot in 2018.
In fact, it made our list of the 2O best free campsites in the USA.
Why Was This Boondocking Site Closed?
We spoke with Anna Byrne, Visitor Center Manager, through email correspondance.
She said, “The building has been given to The National Park Service. Gov’t has their own rules.”
While this sounds like a pass-the-buck explanation, it does make sense. The National Park Service almost never allows free overnight parking on its property.
Byrne continues, “They will be making several changes to the building so maybe one day in the future the rules may bend. Also, we were having lots of trouble with our water and electric lines. They are 23 yrs. old. We do not have security any longer either.”
Here’s the Good News
While it’s never good to hear of closed camping sites, this example is better than most.
The most recent banned sites have all been a result of misuse of land. This means campers have trashed the area.
At Natchez, there was no report of campings abusing the property. We’ll call that a small silver lining.
Here’s the Bad News
As campers, we need to be stewards of the land and follow Leave No Trace guidelines.
The bad news that we hear is that RV Park owners are lobbying to close free campsites.
The trend hasn’t taken off in the US yet, but we’ve seen park owners talk about it first hand.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
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