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New Federal Rule Would Limit Camping Access to Off-Grid BLM Spots

A new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule could cause a problem for the boondocking community. If passed, the ways people use public property could look very different.

Those who enjoy camping in remote areas need to stay aware. Luckily, there’s time to voice your opinion and tell officials what you think.

Today, we’re digging into the details to see how this new BLM rule could affect your future adventures.

Let’s dive in!

National Park Police – Acadia National Park, Maine

Utah Representative Claims Proposed BLM Rule Would Limit Public Access

Utah Representative John Curtis isn’t alone in disagreeing with a recent proposal. He believes it could restrict the use of common areas. In a press release, Curtis felt it would “undermine the livelihoods” of many in Utah.

Many feel it encourages officials to prioritize conservation and preservation. Director Tracy Stone-Manning released a news release of her own. She said it would allow the BLM to prioritize ecological health and leave these lands “better off than we found them.”

Most of the parties involved in the discussion are from Western states. This is because these places have more skin in the game, as most BLM holdings are west of the Mississippi River. 

Curtis recognizes the importance of these areas. However, he told KSL NewsRadio that he has some concerns about the new BLM rule. He didn’t like officials who’ve “never been to Utah being able to pull the triggers” on these decisions.

What Is the Bureau of Land Management?

The Bureau of Land Management is the largest agency in the country that oversees public property. It was formed in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman. Today, the group protects 245 million surface acres, roughly 10% of the United States of America. 

Their primary goal is to conserve ecosystems for future generations. To fulfill this mission, they partner with local communities, Native nations, and other organizations.

The group promotes and enforces sustainable and responsible use of the land. At the same time, they must safeguard the natural and cultural resources of the area.

This requires balancing recreation and conservation of the natural environment. As you can imagine, this is a big job. It calls for constant research and evaluation. Unfortunately, there’s often a lot of debate about how to carry out the task.

About the New BLM Rule

The controversial new BLM rule, entitled Conservation and Landscape Health, proposes that preservation is a functional use of public lands. It would require officials to establish health standards for these properties. According to their website, their goal is to encourage thoughtful development while protecting these locations.

Officials believe overuse and the effects of climate change are causing a problem. In addition, these areas are under attack from invasive plant and animal species. And wildfires caused by droughts are destroying habitats and resources that animals need to survive.

If passed, BLM representatives believe they’d be better able to fulfill their mission. It would also allow them to comply with federal laws designed to help conserve land for future generations.

Is BLM Land Being Overused?

BLM lands were once one of America’s best-kept secrets. Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag. Camping is more popular than ever, and these free or cheap spots are in high demand. Consequently, the impacts of overuse in many locations are becoming evident.

While enjoying these spots, some users are destructive and leave trash behind. Many choose to use the restroom in the wild during their adventures. Human waste is becoming a problem in many places. It can contaminate nearby water sources, which plants and animals need.

Officials aren’t sitting back and ignoring these behaviors. Over the last several years, we’ve seen increased rules and regulations for using shared lands. Some of the best public camping sites are no longer free or only available for day-use recreation.

Would the New BLM Rule Really Limit Camping Access?

Supporters of the new BLM rule feel that some uses have received more attention than others. They believe passing the proposal puts conservation and recreation on the same level. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say how this could play out.

While the goal isn’t to limit camping access, it could occur. Increasing the availability of recreational purposes can invite disrespectful and senseless behaviors from some users. We’ve seen our fair share of this kind of nonsense during our travels.

Sadly, rules and restrictions often follow when this occurs. Could campers find themselves on the losing side of the rules? Absolutely. After all, it wouldn’t take much to restrict certain recreational activities in the name of conservation.

The Future of BLM Camping is Unclear

Currently, the new BLM rule is nothing more than an idea. They’re gathering opinions for future discussions. As you know, we’re fans of conservation efforts and respecting nature. Sadly, we can’t look into the future to see how big of an impact this could have on the community.

If you enjoy camping and spending time in remote locations, this is a situation you’ll want to watch. Contact your government officials to see where they stand and encourage them to do all they can to help.

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