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  1. #1
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    Fruita Camping Anarchy

    I was in Fruita from Thursday PM to Sunday afternoon and I have never seen the camping sprawl like I saw this weekend. Typically, if all the 18 RD campsites are occupied, I would see cars motoring back to town to check out the River or Highline campgrounds. This time, people appeared to drive and put up a tent wherever the he!! they wanted. I saw one tent staked 10 yards from the bottom of Prime Cut and another set up in the 18 Rd trailhead parking lot!

    Here's a shot looking south from the bottom of Prime Cut at around 7:30 AM on Sunday.

    What's the general consensus on camping in this area?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    It's about to get lots worse..........

  3. #3
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    It's unfortunate for sure. Please let people know this is not okay if you see them. I'm sure a couple people started doing it and many followed - mob mentality style. I've heard there was a BLM ranger threatening tickets on Sunday.

    Please camp only at designated spots within the bicycle emphasis area.
    NOAH SEARS
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  4. #4
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    Yes, this was a wild weekend. Came in Friday afternoon and Road 18 was already full. Is this normal?

    Lucky us a friendly group of bikers allowed us to join them. So we camped legal and in great company.

    Probably a good idea to advertise the other campgrounds at Road 18. Probably not a whole lot would even know were else to go.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahColorado
    I've heard there was a BLM ranger threatening tickets on Sunday.
    I sincerely hope they were actually writing tickets and not just threatening! We counted 14 seperate groups in this gully camping illegally and the trend continued further south along 18 Rd. I'd hate to think people left from this weekend thinking that was an acceptable area to set up basecamp.

    Here's an exert from the "Over The Edge" bike shop "Area Info" page. Sorry for quoting their material without permission but this needs to get out there before it gets worse.

    http://otefruita.com/area_info/?PHPS...911c7808931cd7

    Where to Camp

    * Colorado River State Park at Fruita - close, nice, showers, reservations - 858-9188
    * Highline Lake State Park - close to Kokopelli's Trailhead, nice, showers, reservations - 858-7208
    * Fruita Monument RV Park - right here in Fruita - RV, tents and cabins - 970-858-3155

    Free Camping

    What's the deal? There really is no free camping in most cases. It's either cash expense or environmental expense. Please! If free camping means chopping down our trees for your camp fire, or driving your car onto our fragile desert, or making another stupid connector trail from your campsite to the kessel run... Please don't free camp!
    Think and learn to camp ”low impact” or just head on down I-70.
    Thanks, now... on to free camping...

    Rabbit Valley - I-70 exit #2 almost on the Utah border, trails a many, camping in fragile desert environment. No facilities, use existing sites only.

    Bookcliffs - very few sites, very fragile! Camp only in existing sites and while your chillin in the evening, without a fire because they are forbidden, help us remove some of the awful bike tracks that are connecting from the camp sites to the trails. The trailheads are only a 1/4 mile away and the tracks are making a once beautiful meadow into a sad destroyed mess. Please, you come here because it's cool, remember it's not disposable, leave it as good or better than you found it. Thanks!

    (Bookcliffs directions? Stop in the shop and yes, you'll get the same speech again. Venting is less embarrassing for me than weeping openly)"

  6. #6
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    it sucks

    the situation sucks..

    my biggest issue.. the people who put a camp chair in a campsite to save for their buddies.. 1/2 the time it seems like they don't show up anyhow.. or they are taking 2 giant campgrounds for 4 people..

    oh well.. people are inconsiderate unfortunately..
    BBZ

    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy - Benjamin Franklin

  7. #7
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    I spent five years working for the Forest Service as an OHV Ranger. Yes, the guy in the uniform on the dirtbike.
    This sort of campground expansion is what the BLM will consider "Resource Damage" new roads will start and get extended, new tent sites will get pounded in where cryptobiotic soil used to be, and the rangers will start by writing tickets. Next they will make the campgrounds $14/night/car, and then it will also become a day use area where you have to pay to park your car for the afternoon.
    To all the people who don't care or aren't hip to the ways of the campgrounds:
    Don't camp outside existing sites at 18 road or anywhere else. By doing this you are ruining a FREE campground for everyone else. 18 Road is a rare place where you can camp for free with toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings! All of this infrastructure requires maintenance. Be thankful when you show up and are lucky enough to get a free site if you don't go somewhere else. We can only hope that this great resource can stay free and open in the future, its up to everyone who uses the place!
    CruisenSurly

  8. #8
    contains quinine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lactic
    Rabbit Valley - I-70 exit #2 almost on the Utah border, trails a many, camping in fragile desert environment. No facilities, use existing sites only.
    Don't count on Rabbit Valley anymore. I was out there at the begining of the month and the dispersed campsites are gone/illegal. The first camping area is cramped and the second camping area is big enough for only one group.
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  9. #9
    WWJR
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    sadly, theres probably not much that can be done other than either constant monitoring of the surrounding areas by officials, or closure!

  10. #10
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    18 Road Camping - Undeveloped Campsites

    This is an interesting dilemma...

    I experienced the madness last weekend and expect it to be even worse this weekend. The designated campsite were full and overflowing by Friday late afternoon. Several (10-15) groups pitched tents or car camped along the dirt road starting from 18 road and heading toward the cow-pond/prime cut trailhead (See photo from above post).

    If these spots are indeed off limits for camping, there are a couple issues that should be addressed. First, a few "no-camping" signs would probably help with most of the confusion. I did not see a single sign suggesting camping was off limits for the area in question.

    Furthermore, based on the BLM website: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo/...ookcliffs.html
    It does not appear that camping in these areas is strictly prohibited (see link for "using undeveloped campsites). This needs clarification.

    In terms of environmental sensitivity, the areas in question have already seen their fair share of heavy-use. For example, the 200+ head of cattle that were released on Saturday to range in the very undeveloped area where people were camping. Certainly people driving and camping on these areas isn't helping matters.

    I am as concerned about protecting this resource as anyone. But before the finger pointing goes any further, it seems that many of these issues could be resolved through the distribution information. Specifically, the BLM and other local trail managers should clarify the policy on undeveloped camping and put up a few signs so that there is no doubt...

    just my $0.02

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I noticed the lack of signage as well. I did see several of the plywood sign posts that last season had the "No Camping" signs were stripped bare. Not sure if that was deliberate, the wind/weather, or hungry cows.

  12. #12
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    There were and will be signs, but they get torn down as fast as we can put them up. They will be backup this Thursday. If they don't get town down before the weekend is out things will be easily understandable.
    The website is obviously hurtin' for an update....

    We will be out there the entire weekend, feel to flag us down in the truck or on the bike if you have any questions or concerns.

    -Your friendly neighborhood BLM Park Ranger

    Quote Originally Posted by CLAW
    If these spots are indeed off limits for camping, there are a couple issues that should be addressed. First, a few "no-camping" signs would probably help with most of the confusion. I did not see a single sign suggesting camping was off limits for the area in question.

    Furthermore, based on the BLM website: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo/...ookcliffs.html
    It does not appear that camping in these areas is strictly prohibited (see link for "using undeveloped campsites). This needs clarification.



    just my $0.02

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your hard work out there!


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scary Mc
    We will be out there the entire weekend, feel to flag us down in the truck or on the bike if you have any questions or concerns.

    -Your friendly neighborhood BLM Park Ranger
    Thanks for the reply. We do appreciate your efforts!!!

  15. #15
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    Just bring some stuff that looks like a Gas/Oil drilling rig and the BLM will stamp it's approval for you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scary Mc
    There were and will be signs, but they get torn down as fast as we can put them up. They will be backup this Thursday. If they don't get town down before the weekend is out things will be easily understandable.
    The website is obviously hurtin' for an update....

    We will be out there the entire weekend, feel to flag us down in the truck or on the bike if you have any questions or concerns.

    -Your friendly neighborhood BLM Park Ranger
    Hi there mr scary man... i will be coming down to the junk this weekend to do some MTB riding/business stuff. We should try to hook up for a ride. Will you be out and about? And you say the firewood will be re-posted by thursday???

  17. #17
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    Is there an option for More Campsites ? The riding in Fruita is great, but the secret is out (waayy out) and the number of spring visitors crushes the number of campsites. I would be more than happy to PAY to camp at 18rd if I thought I might have the slightest chance to find a spot when I got there.

    There's a little humor in driving out there, watching ATV's blow donuts in the dust at the OHV areas or seeing 200 cows pound postholes in the muck, but a fella can't find 20 sq feet to set a tent down.

    Maybe more camping is not a BLM option, but it seems like there is ample public land available.

    P.S.
    I don't camp illegally, but I do find the Free Camping/Public Land lecture from Federal Employees to be a bit irratating. But I'm just a TAXPAYER.

  18. #18
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    FFTF just isn't fun anymore. Too many people, and too many irresponsible people to boot.

    I no longer attend. I do love fruita but tend to go when it's a bit calmer.

  19. #19
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    The Monument Camping could help

    I don't know if BLM can get involved with regulations at the Monument or not, but if the Monument campgrounds somehow got fire rings and started allowing fires I would go there first, and they have tons of spots to accomodate a large amount of bikers. I mainly avoid it because you cannot have fires up there and without fires on the plateau, it is cold camping up there. If I am coming after noon on a Friday to the bookcliffs, I know there is a good chance I will drive out there and come away with nothing. I think if the fire ban at the monument was lifted or modified somehow it might alleviate the pressure on the bookcliffs area, plus it's really close to great hiking, road riding, and the lunch loops.

  20. #20
    GJDinoBiker
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    The BLM should have anticipated higher traffic associated with FFTF and stationed a few rangers at 18 Rd to control the situation, but instead they sent their mt bike ranger to the Tabeguache in GJ to close a few insignificant illegal lines that have been there for close to a year now. Meanwhile, the desert @ 18 Rd was being damaged by vehicles because no BLMers were around to supervise. Good job BLM, nice to know you've got your priorities straight...

  21. #21
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinobiker
    The BLM should have anticipated higher traffic associated with FFTF and stationed a few rangers at 18 Rd to control the situation, but instead they sent their mt bike ranger to the Tabeguache in GJ to close a few insignificant illegal lines that have been there for close to a year now. Meanwhile, the desert @ 18 Rd was being damaged by vehicles because no BLMers were around to supervise. Good job BLM, nice to know you've got your priorities straight...
    Ummm why not blame the people who are actually doing the damage? Rather than blame the BLM, why not ask if the organizers of the FFTF had a plan to deal with the influx of visitors? Not that I don't think the BLM doesn't deserve some s**t on a lot of their management policies and practices, but who is doing the damage? Why don't WE do a better job of taking care of OUR land?

    Seems much easier to point the finger at a government agency like the BLM than to point it squarely at yourself. Just my opinion of course.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinobiker
    The BLM should have anticipated higher traffic associated with FFTF and stationed a few rangers at 18 Rd to control the situation, but instead they sent their mt bike ranger to the Tabeguache in GJ to close a few insignificant illegal lines that have been there for close to a year now. Meanwhile, the desert @ 18 Rd was being damaged by vehicles because no BLMers were around to supervise. Good job BLM, nice to know you've got your priorities straight...
    Actually, Josh, there was one Ranger at the Lunch loops, at least one and sometimes up to three at 18 Road, and one in the Kokopelli area during the FFTF.
    Last edited by Scary Mc; 04-30-2008 at 09:16 PM.

  23. #23
    GJDinoBiker
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    This isn't meant to criticize ScaryMac for having to follow orders and do his job, it is meant to criticize whoever in the BLM told him to go close those lines while the madness continued on out at 18 Rd. Another good question is, if all those rangers WERE out at 18 Rd - then why were vehicles allowed to drive off-road and campers allowed to camp anywhere in the first place??? It seems a lack of priorities on the BLMs behalf that they would send a ranger to close some insignificant line out at the Lunch Loops (that very few people even knew about, or where it is) while vehicles are driving all over the desert at 18 Rd- apparently in front of BLM rangers?!?

    ZRM, I never "blamed" the BLM for tracking up the desert, just for not stopping it. You do know it's part of their job to stop things like this, right? If the cops in your town were alerted to an ongoing crime scene, but instead sent officers out to do impertinent tasks while the crime scene persisted, you might feel like placing some responsibility on the cops for not stopping the crime - right? I have to give kudos to the local BLM for all their mt bike advocacy incl trailbuilding, but I just sometimes wonder if they're letting personal feelings affect their professional decision-making? Point is, the Tabeguache trail closure could have waited and the ranger could have been at 18 Rd making people follow the rules there instead - thereby preventing many new tracks and campsites from being created while waiting another few days to close the hidden, insignificant Tabeguache track.

    Is the BLM is starting to take it personal from the Freeriders?

    ZRM - as for blaming myself, I can't really identify with you here - I didn't drive off-road or camp in an undesignated site out at 18 Rd, I pay my taxes (some of which go to the BLM), and I'm not about to go and tell folks I've never met what they can and can't do! So point the finger "squarely" at yourself if you like, but I won't take responsibility for the ignorance and inconsideration of others. Nice try at the "feel-good, take responsibility" sentiment though

    PS ZRM, if you ever do go and try to police some mt biking/camping area on your own, out of your zeal for personal responsibility and civic duty no doubt, please let me know when and where - I want to see it!

  24. #24
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    Small detail: The photo at the top of the thread was taken the week before the FTF.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeanMan
    Just bring some stuff that looks like a Gas/Oil drilling rig and the BLM will stamp it's approval for you.
    ain't that the truth.

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