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Old 05-20-2015, 06:54 PM   #15
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I think that's stretching things a bit far! We must incur some liability! Who can know the details of this sort of thing? That would be like saying "well since you upgraded your wheels and tires to 16' over the standard 15" wheels giving you an additional 1.25" of clearance...."
I think the best you could hope for is "it's a pretty gnarly trail or its a petty flat and straight road".
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:19 PM   #16
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Oh, I'm good with accepting liability for my actions. For example, I was once tossed out during jury selection for a slip-n-fall suit when they asked whether anyone had a problem with people suing for that sort of thing. I was dying to ask whether it occurred to the plaintiff to look where he was going, but I had to settle for raising my hand.

So, I guess it's more about avoiding getting Rocinante into an avoidable pickle by asking smart questions and doing smart things before driving down that road, and wondering out loud how much value the sources cited here have, in the experience of others, added to that process.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:53 PM   #17
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Bureau of Land Management means no one owns the land. Whatever roads exist are roads through to somewhere else, a state road, county road, or a trail. Many state roads in Nevada aren't paved. Until recently, most roads in Nevada were open range; where if you hit the cow in the road, you just bought your self a $10,000 prize animal at your responsibility. We still have trouble with people hitting the wild horses in the road and complaining about it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:26 PM   #18
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Bureau of Land Management means no one owns the land. Whatever roads exist are roads through to somewhere else, a state road, county road, or a trail. Many state roads in Nevada aren't paved. Until recently, most roads in Nevada were open range; where if you hit the cow in the road, you just bought your self a $10,000 prize animal at your responsibility. We still have trouble with people hitting the wild horses in the road and complaining about it.
That's not entirely accurate. There are many roads on BLM surface (which belongs to all of the citizens on the United States) that are not through roads. There are thousands of miles of roads on BLM that go to facilities on the BLM. These facilities could be oil wells, stock water reservoirs, range management features, campgrounds, or other recreation sites. There are also many existing roads that seem to go nowhere. You are correct though that there are many through roads.

In most cases, the public has a right to travel over roads on BLM. The only instances I can think of where that wouldn't be a case would be if there was potential resource damage or a safety issue. Some roads will be closed in wet conditions or during critical wildlife habitat times. I've seen some roads closed to the public when the oil company that built it was unable to build it to public use standards.

In our Field Office, dispersed camping must be within 100 feet of an established road (I'm not 100% certain of that number, but it's close). I think most Field Offices have a similar requirement.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:42 AM   #19
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Actually, "the public" owns BLM land, but it is managed through the Department of the Interior, and there are restrictions on what you can/cannot do, depending upon the type of use and the location. Usually dispersed camping is permitted unless posted to the contrary; but there is an awful lot of BLM land of little recreational interest.

I'd like to second the strategy of (a) finding out the location of the BLM field office in your area of interest and then checking out their website. Some are better than others with posting maps and descriptions of camping areas. (b) Phoning ahead to make sure that the roads are passable-- especially for anyone towing an Airstream! Our trailers weren't designed for shooting the rapids. Some of the dirt roads can be really rough, and with curves too tight for a long trailer.

In southwestern Utah, a lot of the BLM roads are used by jeeps and ATVs. These people seem to like the rocks and sheer drop-offs, but the roads are not trailer-worthy.

Our strategy (in the Price, Monticello, and Moab, Utah field areas) has been mostly to camp in one of the BLM boondocking campgrounds that are accessible by at least a graded road, drop the Bambi, and then take off on adventures in our truck or on foot.

Just a reminder to take a lot of extra water, basic emergency stuff like a good first aid kit, and probably an extra gas can, depending upon where you go and for how long. A lot of the BLM campgrounds have no water , and some are a long way from the nearest gas station, as well.

Some of our favourite BLM campsites in Utah are the San Rafael Bridge in Buckhorn Draw, Horse Thief near Dead Horse Point State Park, and Hatch Point south of Moab. However, dispersed camping is allowed beyond these CGs.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:34 AM   #20
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Here is an example of what is available from the BLM (this happens to be the Monticello, Utah office):

Travel Plan Maps 11" by 17"

Note that you can access their entire web site, which has all kinds of useful information and suggestions for travel. Each state's district offices have equally valuable information.

BUT ALWAYS CALL before you go. Many of the roads shown are not passable with travel trailers, especially when wet!! The BLM staff are very helpful in suggesting appropriate roads and things for you to see and do, especially in your case, as you wish to get off the beaten track. There is much in southern Utah, western Colorado, and Wyoming and Nevada for you.
.........and Arizona and New Mexico.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:53 AM   #21
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.........and Arizona and New Mexico.
My apologies! Many of our favorite areas are in those states. I didn't mean to slight them in the least!
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:05 AM   #22
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Ok, there is Federal land, like NP, NF and National preserves and wildlife rec areas, and there is BLM. When we were out in the south west for 2.5 months this past winter, we also saw signs for "Public Land". Is that a whole separate category?...if so, does anyone control it?
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:11 AM   #23
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Ok, there is Federal land, like NP, NF and National preserves and wildlife rec areas, and there is BLM. When we were out in the south west for 2.5 months this past winter, we also saw signs for "Public Land". Is that a whole separate category?...if so, does anyone control it?
All those listed are "public lands". The signs you saw could also designate state lands. Control would vary in each state.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by SilverEagle6 View Post
Ok, there is Federal land, like NP, NF and National preserves and wildlife rec areas, and there is BLM. When we were out in the south west for 2.5 months this past winter, we also saw signs for "Public Land". Is that a whole separate category?...if so, does anyone control it?
That's an interesting one. All federal signs would have a distinctive graphic identifying the agency administering said area. Utah only identifies its small holdings of "public land" around developed sites like state parks. Do you recall how "professionally" manufactured were the signs you saw? And in what locales?
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:16 AM   #25
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I volunteer at the San Juan National Forest visitors information desk in Durango and I concur with several others that talking to someone in the BLM/USFS office is far better than using a website. As an example, BLM land around Silverton has a lot of snow on the ground this morning.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:27 AM   #26
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Arizona has a lot of 'public lands'. Think of it as a state level BLM. Arizona State Trust Lands managed by Arizona State Land Department. Good website on state trust lands at Arizona.

BLM, trust lands and the like are somewhat foreign to anyone much east of the Rockies. Look at something like a national BLM map and there isn't much out east. Check out Public Lands app from the folks at Technomadia. It is a great app to get you close to what you want. Then use local resources, BLM office, local sheriffs office or other LE, the web, camping blogs and the like. Start a list in your spare time so you keep track of spots others found to be reasonable for an AS.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:00 AM   #27
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As I recall, there were no graphics, just letters, professionally made. Thought I saw them in AZ, NV, and UT. I was talking with a seasonal ranger(volunteer) at Lake Mead and ask him how I could get to an area I thought was BLM. He advised me that area was not BLM but "public". Didn't think much about it til I saw this post. Other folks have told me about public land, just curious if there really is a difference.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:16 AM   #28
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The best advise would be to pick an area you would like to visit, contact the local area BLM office and speak to a real person familiar with the area.
Maps are great and the internet is fantyastic. However no substitute for real person info. Like weather and road conditions and towing trailers to good camping spots in there area of expertise.

Example:
I was camped in Mesquite Springs, Death Valley. We wanted to take a day trip to "The Race Track". The local ranger told us how to get there, but, asked if I carried more than one spare tires? Puzzled I told him I only had the one spare. He recommended we not take the road due to sharp rocky road conditions. Having driven dirt/gravel roads my entire life, I knew better. Ha! My first flat tire (LR) was not half way to The Race Track. I changed to my spare tire, turned around headed back. When We rolled into camp I had a second flat (LF).
Moral of the story: the map looked fine, GPS reading were good. The thing I should have done was listen to the local expert. Not my map or GPS or even my own feeling of I Can Do This attitude.
That was an expensive lesson.

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