In my blogs and seminars I often make references to boondocking on land controlled by the USFS (United States Forest Service). For those new to boondocking, you will want to be aware that the forest service refers to boondocking as “dispersed camping”. You will find a good description of dispersed camping along with the typical rules and other valuable tips on the Fishlake Forest (central Utah) recreation page.
For those of you that are already avid boondockers and enjoy camping on USFS, you will be excited to learn that the USFS has adopted a dispersed camping symbol for use on their maps (see photo). I discovered this symbol while planning an upcoming RV adventure revealing several camp locations I may not have located via my normal methods. It also saves several steps that I would normally go through in regards to determining land boundaries and jurisdiction. My hope is that it will begin to appear on more and more forest service district maps across the country allowing me to find boondocking locations that are conveniently located along my intended route. Now some may say making it easy for Joe Blow RVer to find solitude boondocking locations will ruin it for the rest of us who boondock on a regular basis, but with the USFS overseeing more than 192 million acres of land, I think there is enough to go around for all of us.
“X” marks the boondocking spot, making it that much easier to enjoy my next adventure in RVing!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
chuck Preston says
I have heard of campers being issued tickets for living in the forest, even though they were not over the 14 day limit. what is required to prove you are not living in the forest ? Is this something we have to do now offer proof?
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
Not sure where you heard this. If there were tickets issues, I suspect rules other than the 14 day limit were being violated. Possibly dumping garbage, campfires during a burn ban, etc. I have only spoken to one ranger during my many years of boondocking. He saw the ATV in my truck and he just wanted to remind me that ATVs were not legal on the forest roads where I was camped, which I knew. If you are in doubt of the rules do an online search for “dispersed camping” along with the name of the national forest you wish to camp in.