Changes expand restrictions on long-term camping in Bighorns

Posted 8/11/20

To adapt to changing demands from visitors, Bighorn National Forest officials have expanded the dates with a 14-day limit on camping in one location. The new dates are from June 1 through Sept. …

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Changes expand restrictions on long-term camping in Bighorns

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To adapt to changing demands from visitors, Bighorn National Forest officials have expanded the dates with a 14-day limit on camping in one location. The new dates are from June 1 through Sept. 30.

Going forward, “it will not be legal for visitors to leave their camp equipment for more than 14days during the last few weeks of August and beginning of September,” Bighorn officials said in a news release.

The Big Horn Mountain Coalition (BHMC), a multi-county Economic Development District, initiated a public discussion about dispersed camping in March 2016, due to public comments and concern with current dispersed camping regulations and management, Bighorn officials say. The discussion took the form of public meetings held in each of the four coalition counties (Big Horn, Johnson, Sheridan and Washakie), as well as a short online survey.

The BHMC initiated the process to promote broader public participation in forest planning activities, to serve as a voice for the public to forest representatives and to advocate for public interests. The BHMC Dispersed Camping Task Force, comprised of BHMC members and concerned citizens from all four counties, recently submitted recommendations to the Bighorn National Forest.

“The most obtainable recommendation, at this point, is to extend the dates that require a 14-day stay limit,” forest officials say. “The change in dates would help reduce conflict between user groups.”

In late-August, hunters are establishing hunting camps, while other groups are looking for a place to camp with their family before school starts or summer ends.

The change in the camping length of stay is just the beginning, according to forest officials, as the task force had other recommendations.

“Ideas including changes such as zones with extended and shorter stay limits, fees and permits, and opening additional areas to dispersed camping are being considered,” the release said.

For more information, contact Paul Schilke, Acting Forest Recreation Staff Officer, at 307-674-2600.

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