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Old 09-24-2015   #1
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 11
Arkansas River Camping Access

We are in danger of losing a unique resource in Salida and need your help to write a brief email to the BLM.
Salida East camping is the ONLY BLM dispersed camping area along the river where anyone can pull in without a reservation and camp for free. It is used by hundreds of boaters. It is now in danger of being leased to Parks and Wildlife and AHRA- if that happens it will be reservation only, paved campsites at $16 per night like the many other Arkansas Headwaters Rec Area campsites along the river.
For users there is no advantage to making it a fee campground requiring advance reservations.
Please send an email to the BLM urging them NOT to lease Salida East to Parks and Wildlife.
Send your email to: and put "Salida East' in the subject line.

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Old 09-24-2015   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
Originally Posted by ventana View Post
...Salida East camping is the ONLY BLM dispersed camping area along the river where anyone can pull in without a reservation and camp for free. It is used by hundreds of boaters....
And yes, it is being thrashed by not only hundreds of boaters, many using it residentially (homeless or otherwise), the beer fest crowd and other gatherings, and the list goes on.

Ya there is a bathroom down by the boat ramp, but you won't know that until you go down to the parking lot, so some folks never see it and thus can't use it. I have seen some real shit shows there, both literally and figuratively, and it's not a rarity, it goes on all summer and even through the winter to a lesser extent.

I don't want to see the free camping go away either, I prefer that the land at least gets treated right, but with the current policies it is not. So I'm open to suggestions on how to clean up that area without taking away it's free status. But status quo is not the best option, there are just too many people coming through here these days.

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Old 09-24-2015   #3
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Salida East is disgusting. Have you inspected the campsites recently? BLM has to go in weekly and remove feces and garbage. It has continued to be abused worse every year, even though pit toilets were installed. I am 100% in favor of making this site (and a couple others) official AHRA access points. I also fully support CPW in the awesome job they do managing our increasingly over crowded resource.

By the way, its used by THOUSANDS of boaters and if you haven't been paying attention Salida East to Valley Bridge is consistently over used by management plan standards and by far the most likely stretch of the Ark to see some kind of permit system.... So, in my opinion making it a pay site will distribute some of that use to other sections and help us delay further regulation to the river a little longer.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 09-24-2015   #4
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 130
While I'm generally against increasing government involvement in our lives, I've pretty much gotten to the point where I think most people have lost the right of "free" camping. Collectively, campers are disrespecting the environment and fellow users. Off the top of my head, below are some trashed areas. Excepting true backbacking trips, I'm in favor of the follow regulations for "dispersed" or "free" camping.

If you don't have a toilet (groover, wag bags, other) and a garbage bag. You have to go to a self service station where you pay money to get a wag bag and a garbage bag.

Seriously, fuck these people. We can't just have a 100 people a weekend shitting where ever they want.
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Old 09-24-2015   #5
morrison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 22
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Our family and friends no longer camp at Salida East due to the way it has been abused. Due to user pressures we are going to see more management of our public spaces. Fees are appropriate to clean up after those who do not know how to 'leave no trace'. There are many places such as Browns Creek where campers can go (for now) but for the same reasons, I expect these to eventually be 'managed' as well.

Due to over-use of S.E. we now reserve AHRA sites. I am aware that changes will harm those who use this area, but I support AHRA taking over management.

AHRA would install more toilets and would reduce impacts from vehicles. I would like to see AHRA install many more small sites, no fire-pit sites, walk in tent-only sites and group sites. To reduce space and impact on the area, fire pits could also be shared between small sites. To accommodate affordability for users, they could even have a sliding scale, with lower rate or 'budget' sites and higher fee 'premium' sites. AHRA could mange this as overflow, last minute fee-camping. This area would continue to be well used. Close in camping is needed near Salida.
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Old 09-24-2015   #6
thinksnow's Avatar
Salida, 81201
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 143
ventana get over it... buy a annual parks pass and forget about it. That place is getting trashed. People park where ever they want. The habitat is destroyed! It is a beautiful part of the canyon and it looks like shit NOW! I'm 100% in favor of making this site a "pay site"
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Old 09-24-2015   #7
goldcamp's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 337
I'm not familiar with this particular area. Can anyone post a lat/long so I can check it out?
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Old 09-24-2015   #8
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 135
Logan I agree wholeheartedly with you
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Old 09-24-2015   #9
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,046
Unfortunately the responces to this thread are right, there are just to many people that have no respect for campsites and other resources, i wish we could have more free camping, but the general public just does not know how to clean up after it's self, and unfortunately they camp. If it is easily reached, it get's destroyed, with out protection.
It's sad to see human being's act like a heard of cattle, instead of human being's.
" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 09-25-2015   #10
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
I have used Salida East as both a put in and overnight camp.

My camping there has been 100 percent of the time getting there late, leaving early and just parking my truck usually just off the access road there at the entrance. Sleeping in the back of the truck or a few times in a cot by the side of the truck under the stars. I really hate to see it go to fee base but understand fully the reasons why.

while I do not trash this area, it is abused by others big time. Once again, the few who do not care about others, leaving trash instead of picking up trash for proper disposal. Have made life a bit more difficult for the rest of us who do take care of the places we visit.

Where will it stop, probably never or until all these spots are pay for access and even then policed daily at least.

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