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Old 09-04-2007, 01:48 AM   #1
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Any suggestions for NFS/BLM equivalent in Sonoma/Marin?

We recently transplanted to the Petaluma area and are looking for primitive camping areas, preferably equivalent to National Forest Service and/or Bureau of Land Management camping areas. We don't need hookups or even traditional campgrounds (that's why we went with a self-contained trailer ). We came from the Reno area where we would often go to the Hope Valley and other semi-remote areas.

Any suggestions?



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Old 09-04-2007, 08:48 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Air Forums, Aron! In your area, most of the public land is owned by either Sonoma County, State Parks, or National Park Service. None of those agencies allow camping in areas not designated for camping. are living within an hours drive of a huge metropolitan area, so this is the best way to protect the fragile environments along the coast. You may have to drive back up to the Sierras to find what you are looking for.


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Old 09-04-2007, 09:11 AM   #3
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Aron---Welcome to the forums. Lots of technical smarts and experience here. How close to home do you want to camp? Be sure to pick up NFS/BLM maps for your new areas of interest.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Hello AronS -- Welcome to the Forums! Certainly check out the Western Boondocking subforum for ideas posted by AIR Forums members. Another member here maintains a website, Sierra Nevada Airstreams, upon which I have seen posted ideas for California boondocking -- browse around there -- I haven't checked to see if he's kept that list active.

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Old 09-19-2007, 11:55 AM   #5
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I'm hoping to keep it within 2.5 hours drive from Petaluma, we really like going out for a couple of nights over the regular weekends to get away from things. Besides that, after 2 days of boon-docking we're starting to get low on water and power--we've yet to refine our efficiencies that way :-).

Picking up the BLM/NFS maps is a good idea, kind of strange to think of using paper stuff in the days of Google Earth and GPS but sometimes there isn't a better substitute!

We did go up to Salt Point State Park last weekend and stayed at the Gerstle Cove Campground and I have to say that this really a nice experience--lots of scenic sites, quiet campers, and gorgeous coastline. No services were available but that's not a big deal to us.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:53 PM   #6
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You can get a BLM land use map (they go by various names--land Management, etc.) by county (if they still have the paper maps--they are out of production as far as I know) or state-wide. Here's a reduced scan of the state-wide map showing some BLM about 35 miles (as the crow flies) NE of Petaluma. The gold color is BLM, green is NFS, white is private.

This piece of the map is mostly in Lake County. I was just taking a closer look to see if I could find any state land, which is usually blue on these maps. I don't see any at all, even in Sonoma County. There appears to be some small and remote patches of BLM land west of Healdsburg.


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Old 09-19-2007, 07:42 PM   #7
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There is quite a bit of camping in the Mendocino National Forest, begins just above Clear Lake and goes north.

Here is a link to the NFS webpage and the Mendocino National Forest camping ~ Mendocino National Forest - Camping & Picnic Areas You can also use their website to find other places you might like. Travel time from Petaluma can offer you the Sierra's without traveling all day as well!

Here is another website that might yield some information on other camping areas... I think [if I remember... ] that they might want you to "join" or something at one point for further info. But you can usually get an idea of what is out there: GORP - California Travel, Tourism, Parks & Outdoor Recreation Guide

You can also search at and find things via google maps:
Find Facilities by Map, Browse -

Good luck! Happy Camping!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:21 AM   #8
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Great tips, everyone, thank you! I'll let you know what i find as we venture out.


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