Big Horn County residents speak-up on dispersed camping

 

Big Horn County residents who attended the Bighorn Mountain Coalition’s public discussion last week do not want the U.S. Forest Service telling them where they can camp in the Big Horn Mountains.

Approximately 40 people attended the March 16 discussion.

According to the coalition, the purpose of the discussion was to “collect and compile questions, comments and recommendations into a report that will be given to the U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Forestry Division and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. “

Attendees participated in a workshop during the first portion and discussed and answered questions at their tables. One person from each table was then asked to stand up and speak for the group.

When asked if they would want the US Forest Service designated areas for dispersed camping, every table said “No,” “Absolutely Not” or “No, Never.”

“There are plenty of places to camp; we have a big mountain,” said resident Stacy Briscow.

The group also discussed crowding on the mountain and the issues with the closure of certain camping areas.

“We love our mountain,” said resident Josh Tippets. “The more the merrier. But every time you go up there, it seems another place has closed.”

They discussed if campers, ATVs and other vehicles were an eyesore when camping in the Big Horns and whether the length of time a person can camp should be adjusted. Most residents agreed a 14- or 16-day camping period is an appropriate amount of time to camp at one location before moving to a new one.

“If there is grass growing up around that camper, you know it has been there more than 14 days,” said resident Richard Burton. He added that fines should be better enforced for those who leave their camper up on the mountain past the time limit.

Residents also recommended more storage parking areas for residents to leave their campers parked up on the mountain instead of hauling them up and down ever few weeks.

There are no current plans to change polices on camping in the Big Horns at this time, according to the coalition.

For those who were not able to attend the public discussion, a survey can be completed at bighornmountain.org. According to the coalition, there have been about 370 responses so far. The online survey, which asks the same questions as the ones residents answered in the meeting, is open until April 15. The coalition will present the public comments and recommendations to the US Forest Service, Wyoming Forestry Division and the BLM on April 28.