To adapt to changing demands from visitors, Bighorn National Forest officials have modified the dates that require the 14-day stay limit. The new dates are from June 1 through September 30.
According to a Forest Service news release, due to public comments and concern with current dispersed camping regulations and management, the Big Horn Mountain Coalition, a multi-county Economic Development District, initiated a public discussion of dispersed camping in March of 2016. This 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 this 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.
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. It will not be legal for visitors to leave their camp equipment for more than 14-days during the last few weeks of August and beginning of September.
The change in the camping length of stay is just the beginning; the Task Force had other recommendations for Bighorn National Forest officials. More will come as Forest officials work through the recommendations with the Task Force. 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.
For more information, contact Paul Schilke, Acting Forest Recreation Staff Officer, at 307-674-2600.