Full-timers are not allowed to "camp" in US Forest Service Campgrounds - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-02-2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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Unhappy Full-timers are not allowed to "camp" in US Forest Service Campgrounds

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Keep it Simple Sunday: Staying Legal as a Boondocker | Cheap RV Living Blog.com
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As I understand it, if you are a full-time van-dweller or RVer, and do not have a home to go to, you are not allowed to camp in the Forest for even one day. If you don’t have a residence somewhere, then you are living in the Forest and can be fined and cited even if you aren’t breaking any other laws.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 36, Chapter II, Part 261, Subpart A, Section 261.10

261.10
Occupancy and use.
The following are prohibited:
(a) ...
(b) Construction, reconstructing, improving, maintaining, occupying or using a residence on National Forest System lands unless authorized by a special-use authorization or approved operating plan when such authorization is required.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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If you have a mailing address, how would they know?
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
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I'm thinkin' that careful reading/understanding of the reg does not support the conclusion stated above. There's nothing in that regulation that says one must prove that they have a full time "residence" elsewhere while camping in National Forest lands, or that one cannot use whatever rig they're camping in as their home.

The "no residence" rule applies to long term full time use, and is managed by enforcement of length of stay limits, in most NF's a couple of weeks.

And in my many years of experience boondocking in National Forests all over the West Coast I have never been asked for my "permanent address".

Francesca
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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And with budget cuts, who's even going to check, anyway? But I read the same thing as Francesca out of that.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
I'm thinkin' that careful reading/understanding of the reg does not support the conclusion stated above.
I thought the same thing, but apparently the Rangers think differently:

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Originally Posted by Cheap RV Living Blog.com
Two weeks ago a Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) came into my camp and asked to see my ID and started asking where my home was, I was alarmed, so I started giving vague answers trying to avoid getting myself into trouble. I told him I had a mail forwarder in Pahrump, but he kept pressing and wanted to know where I lived when I was in Pahrump.

...

As our conversation went he told me that if I did not have a residence anywhere else, then I was living in the Forest and he could issue me a citation. So I asked him if he could cite me even if I was obeying all the laws and only stayed 14 days and then moved on, and he told me YES, he could cite me for living in the Forest unless I could prove to him that I had a residence somewhere else. He told me that he was unusually tolerant and so he was not going to cite me, but many other Rangers would have.
Homeless living on public land - Our Colorado News: Pikes Peak Courier View: News
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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Just read the article you linked to ... written in 2011. Anything more recent on this issue? Any stories of folks being fined/jailed etc.? Inquiring minds and all that.

Sharon
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Looks like if you are "homeless" you also need to be jobless to get around it......LOL

“People can use the forest for recreation but living there is illegal,” Landis said. “We check to see if campers have a permanent address and our rangers have learned to recognize illegal camps. If vehicles are gone in the daytime, that usually means the campers are working.”
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:07 PM   #8
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Or sightseeing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:52 PM   #9
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I think that fulltimers should think ahead and have a ready answer as to where they 'live'. Giving the address of a sibling, a son or daughter, or something similar (and having that person know in advance about it so they can corroborate if necessary) should be enough to keep a fulltimer out of difficulty, IMO.

Thanks for sharing this info about the regs. I never knew.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonM View Post
Just read the article you linked to ... written in 2011. Anything more recent on this issue? Any stories of folks being fined/jailed etc.? Inquiring minds and all that.

Sharon
People that stay on Public Lands longer that the time limits attached thereto are no longer "camping", they're squatting. I think you'll never hear of any getting arrested for the activity unless they get belligerent with the Authorities or are engaged in some other unlawful activity. Usual action is just to tell them to move on. As it should be.

I camp/RV almost exclusively in dispersed areas on Public Lands. Though as I said earlier I've never been questioned as to permanent address, I have been questioned about length-of-stay. I was even "reminded" one time that I was nearing the end of that term. My experience has been that the rules/time limits are applied evenly no matter who you are.

I think it likely that one-sided blog post arose from an encounter wherein the so-called "camper" challenged the Ranger's reminder that he was past his term. It's most illuminating to read that fellow's (self-written) bio- he spent a few years earning a camping spot by camp hosting in NF's in the summer, but evidently he's now fallen into the lap of a permanent disability check, also courtesy of the Forest Service. His "issues" seem to have arisen during a time when he was not on duty as a host, and therefore ineligible to be where he was as long as he was. I doubt he represents any meaningful portion of the "Fulltime RVer" population, most of whom abide by time limits and all other rules whether they're on Public or private land.


I'd point out that since he himself is a fulltimer who actually lives at least part time in an FS campground, the threadtitle is a little confusing...Perhaps a more appropriate title for the thread would be "Squatters are not allowed in National Forests".

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Old 07-03-2013, 01:42 PM   #11
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"Squatters are not allowed in National Forests".

I can amen that..........LOL
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlkeigley View Post
"Squatters are not allowed in National Forests".

I can amen that..........LOL
Not even if we dig a hole first and cover up afterward?
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:27 AM   #13
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My brother squats. Once in the parking lot of the Flying J gas station at Deerfoot and Barlow. He was there at least six months. He had a 20' semi trailer with a hydraulic lift gate, (for his motorcycle racing habit) and a monster fifth wheel. He actually commuted to work with what I referred to as the “Demi Semi”. It was a single rear axle day cab semi with a real short wheel base. When not loaded, it rode like an amusement park ride. There are many spots on the Calgary road system that he could get air on at least one axle. One night, at 2:00am, the police knocked and told him he had to leave. OK.
The fifth wheel is currently parked off a stretch of Calgary road that has a lot of green space beside it. Actually there are so many places that fit this description, it is amazing! He tells me that once you know what to look for, he actually has quite a few neighbors, but none near anyone else. He did get an offer from some stranger to share his “site”. His reply was something along the lines of, if he wanted company, why would he live the way he does? He says he has scouted out at lest three alternatives, in Calgary, for the next knock at 2:00am.
The funny thing is, he has not been to the fifth wheel in months. He has built an 8' x 8' x 7' “cube” that he can lift on and off the back of his truck with it's crane. The cube sits in his employers parking lot. Short commute. One of his favorite lines, since it bother me, is, “Money is no object”. Yeah sure, no housing expenses, and a professional income. I have a family of seven. Overhead. My brother and I see money differently.
That is what I call squating.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:24 AM   #14
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I believe that the original poster used the phrase: "so I started giving vague answers trying to avoid getting myself into trouble." That, in itself, is like waving a red flag in the Rangers face.

There are a lot of regulations on the books that are "useful" and are only dragged out when needed. I can live with that one.
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