'Residential' camping and squatting on Public land (1 Viewer)

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Not sure if I should put this is squatting, orwilderness survival....it seemed better here.

Hey all, I am creating this thread to see what people's experiences have been with the recent push by the Forest Service and BLM to limit 'Residential camping'.

As I have noticed recently, the FS and BLM have been sending officers into the wild and trying to run people out that exceed the '14 day stay limit, in any 30 day period' laws. They have labeled this 'Residential use'.

What I have learned is that you are only able to 'recreate' on public land if you have a physical address elsewhere, and you are simply using theland as a recreational use. I have been talking to some people about this, and apparently LEO are seeking to find serial 'offenders' and throw the book at them, this means jail time, probation, fines, community service, and a complete and total ban from federally owned lands for any period they see fit.

I've only started running into this recently, as they have always had this law, but it was rarely enforced. It's a ducked up attempt to criminalize homelessness and our rights as citizens to access theland we pay taxes for these agencies to manage.

I will update this post when I find all of the 36 CFR laws attaining to this in detail.

Until then in looking for peoples experiences with this, and input on the issue in general. I am considering contacting advocacy groups and local representation to get more info.
 
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!
D

Deleted member 24029

I deleted myself
Ah! A thread with very good timing....
Thank you, Wolf. I'll do research on this end, as well...
 

BirdDaddy

Born Wild
StP Supporter
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
420
Age
30
Hometown
Spun Junction CO
this is basically what rainbow advocates for i think. what you need is an old timer rainbow with knowledge of the history and currant affairs as well. seems to me like those ppl are always doing something in court.
 

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
I have been living on public land for 8 years. In Arizona if it works out quite well. Flagstaff in that area for the summer and the southern deserts of Arizona for the winter. For the winter the area from Quartzsite to Indio and the Imperial valley California.. Flagstaff for the summer includes Winslow and even Cortez Colorado. I have never had a problem with a ranger. 14 days is not an unreasonable expectation for living on public land. after two weeks you will want to move on to see new beautiful places and there are many many. The truth of the matter is most states don't have heavy enforcement and even the feds don't have the money to enforce strict compliance. sometimes I stay longer than 14 days if there is no law enforcement like here in Ehrenberg. I have used the same campsite for more than 20 days. In Flagstaff I was in the same campsite for two and a half months. No enforcement. The 14 they're camping rule is a good one. I say that even though I violate it all the time. To me it keeps the land from being used up and sometimes trashed. The 14 day rule is just a humbug and not a problem. And the rangers are just doing their job. There are many places in the Southwest where there is no enforcement on public land. Living on public land respectfully has afforded me the ability to live in the most beautiful places.
 

mouse

Newbie
Joined
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
80
Hometown
Dallas
I live in a van and spend most of my free time boondocking in BLM/NF "dispersed camping" areas. 14day stays in a geographical area are the typical policy, although they are set by each ranger district. It's not like you have to stop camping, you usually have to move the prescribed distance away. Some overused areas are 7 days, and I saw one that was 21 days somewhere. The specifics for any particular district are available online or at the ranger station. I decamp on the 13th day for reprovisioning/relocation.

Ways to attract the wrong kind of ranger attention:
  • leave garbage and belongings flung around
  • shit on top of the ground and leave it there
  • build structures
  • burn stuff where burning or firewood gathering is not allowed.
  • overstay the dispersed camping time limit. If this seems egregious, reframe it something like this: "I can squat here for up to two weeks at a time and no one will bother me!"
  • scream, party, or otherwise annoy other campers
I don't expect everyone to "leave the camp better than you found it" but I do pick up litter and trash I find in my area. Yes, I was a boy scout.

As far as recreation, my DL shows my legal residence which was the last place I lived in a house. I use a mail forwarding service to get crtical mail stuff. When on BLM land I decamp on the 13th day for relocation and reprovisioning. My camps are neat and camp-like and I have zero issues with rangers. I wave at them and they wave back.
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
So what I have heard from the district I work on, they are trying to root out people they believe are homeless, and either drive them out, or build a case against them. This is regardless of the camps creating resource damage, moving a certain distance, or even moving to another forest completely.

The Leo's are attempting to build profiles from multiple forests, to determine liscense plates, names, and vehicle descriptions of people that are seen to be 'residential' users of public land, in order to get them banned from public land.

From what I have gathered, this does not necessarily have to do with preventing over usage of the land, more to drive people who are homeless off of it. I'm sure the people who do destroy the land get worse penalties, but from what I have heard sickens me what they say about people who just 'cant find a place to live'.

I work in a very high use district though, so I'm not sure if this is like this everywhere.
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Just as a heads up to people on this thread that might not already know, but I've been a Park Ranger for about 8 years now, this is why I find this very alarming, and am compiling the laws used to make such cases in order to get an understanding of what is behind this.
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Also, this has been explained to me that the '14 days in any 30 day period' laws are starting to be applied to ALL public land, regardless of if you move to another area or not. The forest LEO here stated that the only way you could fight such a charge is to provide some sort of proof you were off of public land between your stays, like gas receipts or motel receipts.
 

WyldLyfe

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
Banned
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
241
Hometown
tasmania
That sucks @Coywolf, were do they want you to go? here iv pulled up in national parks before, camped ect.. never had an issue, never had anyone pull up an tell me or the people I was with to move along, but we never seen any park rangers too though to say anything anyway.. the forests are large. Honestly that law your talking about is bullshit Coywolf, keep this updated though cause sometimes stuff that happends in usa can be copied over here.. take care out der, do ya best to stay undercover with it.
 

roughdraft

RápidoCorrenLosCarrosRespletoLosRielesDFerrocarril
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
1,197
Age
29
Hometown
"The Hamptons of the Chesapeake"
Also, this has been explained to me that the '14 days in any 30 day period' laws are starting to be applied to ALL public land, regardless of if you move to another area or not. The forest LEO here stated that the only way you could fight such a charge is to provide some sort of proof you were off of public land between your stays, like gas receipts or motel receipts.
ahh now I see. fuckin wow, what a mess

Welcome to your public lands - Enjoy your stay! (of fourteen days STRICTLY and don't forget to bring in your original gov't issued blah blah blah and no we will not recieve a faxed from aunt jane)
 

mouse

Newbie
Joined
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
80
Hometown
Dallas
I'm not still not particularly worried that rules-obeying folk will be banned. In some areas the campers are mainly retired wealthy folk in huge 5ers. Those folk belong to Escapees which has a legal/lobbying arm. If those people start to get banned then I'll start to worry.

If folks want to share what districts are problematic I'll start tracking it in a wiki as I do with city bans.

I have a running google search for news articles about dispersed camping. So far all the areas I've seen closed (to everyone, not just rulebreakers) were closed due to overystaying, trashing the place, crapping on the ground, etc. . I used to teach kids that had been kicked out of school districts. I'd tell them "you can get away with a lot more if you don't attract attention to yourself." Some listened, most didn't.
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Ya, definitely always want to pay respect to the land and not trash it, or cause resource damage, I've been preaching that for forever, but this seems like a new kind of monster. I've posed the question of whether the Leo's are going after people who just trash the lands, and I've got the response that 'It is anyone who breaks the law'.

So, I'll be paying attention to this, especially because I am now a vandweller on public land.
 

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
I've never had a problem in 8 years. Rangers have looked at my driver's license and see only a PO Box.
When I first began living on public land, estimates were 3 million people were doing the same in RVs and various vehicles. Now the estimates are six million. A lot of retired people. Am I a tourist or a traveler or homeless? I am all the above. Many people without resources do not have respect for the land and it ends up trashed. I don't see a movement to remove homeless people from public lands unless they're violating the 14-day rule. They trash the land. The land gets worn out from camping. Go to Washington and Oregon or campgrounds just about anywhere close to a metropolitan area or even a small town and you will find the land full of trash and used toilet paper everywhere.
Living on public land successfully is possible. I've done that everywhere in the Southwest 8 years. One of the posters or above has a good list what to do to avoid problems with those who take care of the public lands. It's a really good list. Managing our public lands is something that the government that quite well. The forestry service does a good job too. These public lands are held in trust for the people. Millions of us in RVs and various other vehicles live on these lands successfully. It really boils down to this... Be smart and respect the land. It can provide a Wonderful Life living in the most beautiful places.
 

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
Also, this has been explained to me that the '14 days in any 30 day period' laws are starting to be applied to ALL public land, regardless of if you move to another area or not. The forest LEO here stated that the only way you could fight such a charge is to provide some sort of proof you were off of public land between your stays, like gas receipts or motel receipts.
Receipts are a key to success. When in Flag I would shop at Walmart in Winslow. A great receipt
Just as a heads up to people on this thread that might not already know, but I've been a Park Ranger for about 8 years now, this is why I find this very alarming, and am compiling the laws used to make such cases in order to get an understanding of what is behind this.
I actually don't see this happening and see less enforcement in places like Flagstaff which are popular.
I have to be honest and say that as an advocate for living on public land I see no effort from any agency to Target anyone specific or any specific group if they are following the rules of 14 day stays.
Public land is a great alternative for someone who chooses to not live in a sticks and bricks or cannot afford a permanent home. You have to have resources meaning money or a small monthly income. You have to follow the rules on public land. In reality public land is available to live on for those who have the resources and the skills. Millions of us do it very successfully. My experience with the forestry people is that they are out to solve problems. Many people are not suited to live on public lands because they do not respect the space.
 

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
So what I have heard from the district I work on, they are trying to root out people they believe are homeless, and either drive them out, or build a case against them. This is regardless of the camps creating resource damage, moving a certain distance, or even moving to another forest completely.

The Leo's are attempting to build profiles from multiple forests, to determine liscense plates, names, and vehicle descriptions of people that are seen to be 'residential' users of public land, in order to get them banned from public land.

From what I have gathered, this does not necessarily have to do with preventing over usage of the land, more to drive people who are homeless off of it. I'm sure the people who do destroy the land get worse penalties, but from what I have heard sickens me what they say about people who just 'cant find a place to live'.

I work in a very high use district though, so I'm not sure if this is like this everywhere.
Millions and millions of acres of public land to enjoy and live on respectfully following the rules. Millions of people do this successfully. With only a post office box as their address. Millions and many types of vehicles. It is not ILLEGAL to not have a home and live on public land. You just have to be nomadic. It is not illegal to live in an RV or other type of vehicle or even a tent full-time. Millions do it. With absolutely no problems. None. I have to think a commonsense way. Forestry service and others are just protecting the land.
 
D

Deleted member 21429

I deleted myself
I have not camped on blm land but I do know that the BLM is moving its headquarters from Washington DC to Colorado and that might mean stepped up enforcemant and/or restrictions. Forgot the name of the town in Colorado but a quick search should provide it if you are interested. ~ peace
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Millions and millions of acres of public land to enjoy and live on respectfully following the rules. Millions of people do this successfully. With only a post office box as their address. Millions and many types of vehicles. It is not ILLEGAL to not have a home and live on public land. You just have to be nomadic. It is not illegal to live in an RV or other type of vehicle or even a tent full-time. Millions do it. With absolutely no problems. None. I have to think a commonsense way. Forestry service and others are just protecting the land.
It is, very much illegal to live 100% on the time on public land. Especially Forest Service land. I know this, as I've been a Forest Protection Officer and have watched Forest Service Leo's write tickets to people for it.

I dont agree with the 36 CFR laws that make 'residential' use on public land a crime, but they exist, and our Forest's LEO is currently building cases against people for doing it, trying to get them banned from public land in general.

I'm making people aware of this, because most, like you, seem not to know about it. So just be careful out there. This seems to only be happening in high use areas. Mainly to protect the land and lock out people who are abusing it

However, mentioning that you are homeless, or do not have a residential elsewhere, can prompt an LEO to remove you from camping on public land, without violating a stay limit, because you are essentially using it as a residential use.
 

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
Public lands are not for residential living. After 14 days you move somewhere else. It's what MILLIONS of us do. There are no cases to be built. It is not illegal to have a PO Box for an address or live in any vehicle. It is not illegal to not live in a house or apartment. There are over six million people who have either dropped out of society or retired and are taking advantages of public land without any issues whatsoever from rangers, Forest districts, BLM people, you name it!
8 years no problems not in Flagstaff Cortez Colorado from Blythe to Reno.
The people who manage our public lands are not my enemy. The people who enforce on public lands are not my enemy or anyone's enemy. if there is an effort to get the people who trash public lands off the public lands I'm for it and ticket their asses.
Millions of us are doing this successfully moving from National Park to National Park and BLM land to BLM land every 14 days. We are just not going to buy into that those who manage the land and enforce the land are our enemy. Our public lands are managed well and taken care of well.
A program that has worked for decades and decades. Maybe in your district you have this kind of attitude coywolf.... Maybe your district needs an attitude adjustment...what you have described as the attitude towards those using public lands in your district is unhealthy and illegal. You should not be persecuting homeless people. What you describe I have not experienced living on public land from any agency.
Understand I'm not criticizing your premise. It's quite popular today the pit the government against the people. It creates a good discussion.
 
Last edited:

Sameer

Pilgrim
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Messages
84
Hometown
Southwest
It is, very much illegal to live 100% on the time on public land. Especially Forest Service land. I know this, as I've been a Forest Protection Officer and have watched Forest Service Leo's write tickets to people for it.

I dont agree with the 36 CFR laws that make 'residential' use on public land a crime, but they exist, and our Forest's LEO is currently building cases against people for doing it, trying to get them banned from public land in general.

I'm making people aware of this, because most, like you, seem not to know about it. So just be careful out there. This seems to only be happening in high use areas. Mainly to protect the land and lock out people who are abusing it

However, mentioning that you are homeless, or do not have a residential elsewhere, can prompt an LEO to remove you from camping on public land, without violating a stay limit, because you are essentially using it as a residential use.
My friends and I would like to come into your district and camp. We would show your district the error of its ways. You are stewards of the land and nothing more. We would gladly reinforce the fact that you are powerless over us and our lifestyle. I am talking about the district you working and not you personally. It would be a great pleasure to do this.
 
OP
Coywolf

Coywolf

Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
2,119
Age
32
Hometown
Northern Arizona
Website
www.youtube.com
Look, I get it. This should not be illegal, however, under US code 36 it is. I'm just trying to get this out there so people can be educated if they get a ticket or something for this.

It is a way to criminalized houselessness and I think it is disgusting. I agree, you shouldn't be able to set up essentially private property on public land, that is not what it is for.

I've never heard of this being pursued anywhere else. Why it is being pursued here is probably because some of these people are trashing the land.

Simply moving a few miles away seems to no longer be a way to appease these LE officials. They are communicating between forests and BLM lands, so it's a 14 day limit anywhere in the US in any 30 day period. If they can catch you.

I get your point, I'm with you, but dont dent this isint legal, because they sure have found a way to make it legal to bust people. I am still trying to compile these laws, I'll post them when I get them together.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$0.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $0.00 of $50.00
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $0.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $0.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $0.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.

Latest Status Updates

is a thought of a unicorn a real thought?
I'm about to buy a trowel and start digging catholes. I'm tired of waiting 30 minutes to take a shit and then having to force my intestines out all because I got constipated waiting for the bathroom.
mojorisin22 wrote on Tripwiresolo's profile.
jut joined myself. got the obsession! 🚂
MFB
Thowback Thursday
More youth.
This dumpster was amazing;I'd often found throwaways of the big liter bottles they ship syrup with codiene to pharmacies in. Because of the consistency of it there would always be an ounce or two in the bottle they didnt get out. I'd get 2 or 3, spatula scrape out the good, make some szrrrp, put on DJ screw and get faded. :)
Chilling with ghosts...
Is there an achievement for actually making Mormon missionaries STOP talking to you?
40min outside Portland
i almost snagged the sickest steel toe cat boots just now and freddy LP got me going thru the door ugh. i leaped a hedge and got away.

Members online