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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Coconino National Forest closes roads and dispersed camping areas to motorized travel

Boondocking in Coconino National Forest
Nearly 3,000 miles of forest roads will be closed and motorized camping will be restricted from nearly 1.5 million acres to 43,000 acres along 581 miles of roads in Arizona's Coconino National Forest reports the Verde Independent.

The decision which was made on Thursday, November 3rd, by the Forest Service and started the clock on a 45-day comment period.

If no changes come as a result of the comments they receive the new Travel Management Plan (TMP) rules will go into effect next March.

The original version of the TMP allowed dispersed camping within 100 feet of any open road but was extended to within 300 feet of both sides of 581 miles of designated road and one side only of 32 miles of road. With the new rule, campers will also be allowed to camp along any open road, so long as they are parked within 30 feet of the roadway.

"We changed what we were going to do after going out and collecting data on over 4,000 dispersed campsites and then tried targeting our dispersed camping corridors to where they were at and where they would cause the least impact to sensitive resources," said Mike Dechter, spokesman for the forest, according to the Verde Independent.

A map and a complete copy of the decision are posted on the Coconino National Forest Website. Dechter also said that the forest will be publishing an app for smart phones, where RVers can see exactly where they are on the map so they can make accurate decisions on where they can drive and where they can boondock. The Coconino NF will be the first forest in the nation to publish such an app.


  1. Big Brother has spoken - so let it be written, so let it be done ...

  2. How far off a road did you drive to boondock before the TMP was established?

    Most of the National Forest in the western US are in such rugged country the spots you can drive an RV off road are rare. I almost never drove more than 30 feet or so anyway. I have found the new restrictions to be a minor, if any problem.

    The rules were put into effect due to the proliferation of ATVs and motorcycles, and was supported by the Blue Ribbon Coalition. The typical boondocking RV was not part of the problem and still is not (How many RV's have you seen spinning donuts in a meadow or racing down 70% slopes?).

  3. parking within 30 feet of a dirt road is very dusty and can easily become dangerous - personally, I tend to camp a long ways offroad, back into the woods or boonies - but then, I know lots of people that can't get more than 30 feet from a WalMart parking lot, so everybody has a different idea of what 'boondocking' is ... my concern is yet another Big Government land seizure being put into place ...

  4. My concern here is that where dispersed camping areas already exist, but are not part of the designated 581 miles of designated dispersed camping, that requiring campers/boondockers to stay within 30 feet of the road would eliminate those dispersed camping areas. How many of the 4,000 dispersed campsites would therefore be eliminated for dubious reasons--other than for protecting damaged or fragile areas which is OK.