It’s Time to Comment
The BLM is charged with protecting our public lands for free access and use. This is to make it possible for all American citizens to visit all BLM-administered land free of charge, so that access is not restricted only to those who can afford to pay for it.
The BLM is asking for public comment on its plan to allow the state of Colorado a long-term lease on its Salida East dispersed campground area, so that the state will be able to charge fees and use them to supposedly upgrade the grounds and enforce policies. The BLM lacks the ability to carry out enforcement on its own, and claims that some vegetation has been damaged, that some campers have overshot the 14-day stay limit, and that the area is noted for some drug and alcohol abuse.
That is unfortunate, but I feel that allowing Colorado to effectively commercialize access to BLM land goes directly against its mission. Leasing Salida East is one more domino that can eventually lead to any and all BLM (our) land requiring fees to park on, hike on, and camp on. “They can’t do that” means little when they take action to do it, and we stay silent.
You can read the details at: http://tinyurl.com/oga2hfl
I have plagiarized the following from an email sent to me from Escapees:
“Note that the state charges fees in areas like this not only for
camping, but also for day use parking and walking to the river. BLM
seems to find it easier to get money from leases to states for such
land (which the states pay for by collecting fees from the public that
BLM is not themselves allowed to charge), than to do the job they are
commissioned to do to protect our public lands for free public access
“Probably the last line of the article is the most important: ‘BLM will
accept public comment on the proposed lease until Nov. 2. Comments can
be submitted to Melissa Garcia at 719-269-8724 or by emailing
email@example.com with “Salida East” in the subject line.’
Especially if you have enjoyed this free camping area in the past, or
if you have been thinking about doing so in the future, please let
your thoughts be known by email to the address above. Remember –
polite, thoughtful comments are most likely to be seriously
considered. Also please spread the word to other RVing friends who are
not Day’s End Directory subscribers.”
Lazy and apathetic as I am, I have actually taken the five minutes necessary to send an email with my feelings on the matter and a request that they not lease that land. I think such matters go beyond whether we have stayed there or ever plan to. It’s about stopping a “next phase” of an encroachment of our free access to public lands that will spread further until large sections are gone. As the BLM is required to ask for public comment and take it into consideration for such decisions, it pays to voice up now, rather than hunker down in some defeatist or cynical silence, which merely helps these errors succeed. I urge you to consider taking a few minutes not to email a rant, but to thoughtfully and politely remind them of their primary reason for being. They have asked for your comment, and without it, they will make their decision and carry out their plan. It’s your choice whether to participate in governing our land, or allowing someone else to make the decisions for us! If you ever hope to one day get in a rig and see this land of ours without going broke, this is your time to have your say.