Here’s a question from a reader(s) of RVtravel.com about boondocking. Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
We are new to full-timing and trying to learn about boondocking in the southwest BLM lands. Some people say you need a permit while others say there are time restrictions. Where do we go to learn more? Thanks. —Mark and Judy W.
Hi, Mark and Judy,
The best source of information is from the horse’s mouth, the BLM website. There is a massive amount of information there and it will keep you busy exploring all the BLM recreation opportunities.
But to specifically answer your question on permits I will cut to the chase. You can camp on BLM land in various ways: in a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA), Short Term Visitor Area (STVA), designated campground (usually primitive) or anywhere else that you can safely camp while not blocking the road or where specifically not permitted.
LTVA camping: FEES / PERMITS REQUIRED: A Long Term Visitor Area Permit is required from September 15th through April 15th each season. The cost is $180.00 and is valid for up to 7 months. A Short Term Permit can be purchased for a 14-day stay. This permit is $40.00. Permits may be purchased on site or at BLM Field Offices. Here’s a similar site for RV camping in California.
BLM campgrounds have daily charges (paid at the campground). Dispersed camping (no designated campsite) is free on any other accessible BLM land, mostly by dirt roads (often you can spot other RVs camping off the main road). In these areas you may stay for 14 days then you must move at least 25 miles away for at least another 14 days before returning. There are no services or facilities in these areas but water and dump stations are usually available in nearby towns.