“New rules announced for the use of motorized vehicles in the forest.”
That’s the statement written on the website for the Coconino National Forest. Ken, a fellow camper here at Willard Springs, Arizona, dispersed camping area, alerts me to the new rules that went into effect May 1st.
“You know, you’re supposed to camp within 300 feet of the road.”
“What?” I respond with surprise.
(I’m definitely farther out than 300 feet.)
“I’m in an established campsite. There’s a fire ring here and a flattened area.”
“Doesn’t matter, ” Ken continues.
“New rules. Gail looked it up on the internet. There’s a map which shows what kind of vehicles can go on different forest roads, and what side of the road you can camp on. It says you gotta be within 300 feet of the road.”
“How are people supposed to know? What if they’re just passing through?”
“Doesn’t matter,” Ken says again, with finality. “You’re supposed to find it on the internet or get one of their maps.” Ken sees this as just another way people are hassled.
Of course, as soon as Ken leaves, I get online.
I find an article dated April 30, 2012, at www.azdailysun.com.
“Restrictions on where drivers can and cannot legally travel on the Coconino National Forest begin tomorrow, as part of a national directive to limit off-road driving.
Driving across the forest at large will become illegal, and the forest will be closing a little more than half of its roads – mainly lesser-used routes heading to similar destinations . . . . Car camping is allowed within 30 feet of roads in most of the forest, and within 300 feet in designated areas along another 300 miles of roads.
Paper maps of the new rules are available for free at Coconino National Forest offices.”
I’m a bit confused by this.
I don’t think I’m “car camping.” Or is this a term used to differentiate it from “tent camping?” I’m going to have to do more research. I’ve mulled this over and searched the National Forest website. At this point I’ve decided to stay in this campsite. If a ranger pays me a visit, I’ll beg to be grandfathered in.
Of course, I have to leave by next Tuesday, May 8th, anyway.
That will be the end of the fourteen days permitted for a camp in the National Forest. Geesh. The simple life isn’t always so simple.