How are we going to kick off 2022? With another boondocking site closing, obviously.
This time it’s a state park replacing it. And, in our opinion, it seems like a money grab from the state.
Let’s get into it.
What Boondocking Site Will Close?
The popular boondocking site on the chopping block is Willow Springs Trail in Moab, Utah.
The exact location of this site is 38.6968, -109.6981.
It bears stating that this site isn’t closing due to land abuse (at least not directly). Instead, Utah passed a bill that will designate it a State Park. The current plan for the park is to create two established, paid campgrounds.
Here’s why it sounds like a money grab.
Moab is very protective of commercial development. Meaning it’s pretty challenging for new RV parks and campgrounds to be built.
As recently as October, the Moab Planning Commission denied a new RV campground construction.
However, the state quickly passes a bill to create a two-campground state park in the same area.
Sounds fishy, huh?
How Is Willow Springs Dispersed Camping Rated?
We use Campendium as the gold standard for boondocking site reviews. And, the users of Campendium give Willow Springs 4 out of 5 stars.
Everything from pop-up campers to motorhome buses have been able to access this dispersed campsite.
Corndog Caravan on Campendium recently reviewed the site. They said:
“Very happy with this location. Even though there are lots of people here, we are spread out enough. Great location for Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point SP. Fire pits and large spaces. Vault toilets and port-a-potties throughout.“
The Dyrt reviewers also give the spot 4 out of 5 stars.
What State Park is Taking Over?
The newly minted state park is called Utahraptor State Park. It’s named after a famous Utah dinosaur.
Here’s the official word from Utahraptor State Park:
“In the 2021 legislative session the Utah State Legislature passed HB 257, which created Utahraptor State Park, located roughly 15 miles northwest of Moab in Grand County.
This new state park includes popular recreation spots such as the Dalton Wells and Willow Springs areas. Utah State Parks believes that — with proper planning and coordination with partners — we can better protect the area while maintaining its recreational value.“
And, here’s a bit from them about development:
“While it is still in the planning process, future park visitors to the area can expect two modern campgrounds, restrooms, office and entrance station, and trailheads for access to the nearby OHV and mountain bike trail systems.“
Money Grab or Legit Conservation?
What do you think? Is the state trying to preserve the area or cashing in on public land?
Let us know in the comments.
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.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
Saturday 5th of March 2022
As usual it's all about the money. Not everybody's wanting a paying campground but the state doesn't care. I guess if you don't like it you don't have to use it. I'm not going to be used.
Hoot R. Gibson
Saturday 8th of January 2022
Sounds like the Script from Yellowstone the TV Series...
Paul A DEAN
Friday 17th of December 2021
Hate to see it, but we brought it on ourselves... I was there this fall, and spent my first 30 minutes picking up the trash around my site. Then I met some of my neighbors, a couple of whom explained that they'd been there for far longer than the 14 days legally allowed, but were getting away with it because the BLM staff were overwhelmed.
If we can't be better stewards, then the site needs to be managed, and I'd rather have it be a Utah State Park than a private RV park. Discouraging...
Sunday 12th of December 2021
I’d like to know more about the RV park that was denied. There are many valid reasons such a permit might not be accepted. Too many campsites in the space, not enough bathrooms, infrastructure issues, so on. I also noticed how little care boondockers took to clean up after themselves. If people want to keep these places free, they need to respect them. This is why some of us don’t get to have nice stuff.
Sunday 12th of December 2021
I call this fake news and BS. Willow Springs is BLM land NOT state land. I’ve been researching this and can’t find anything anywhere else that says this is going to happen