Lower San Juan River Left Camping - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-09-2015   #1
 
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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Lower San Juan River Left Camping

Has anyone had any experience with the Navajo rangers checking camp permits below Mexican Hat?

The permits are difficult to obtain because it is 4 weeks turn around by mail, or a M-F 8-5 run to Cameron from Flagstaff. Thoughts or experiences please?

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Old 03-09-2015   #2
 
Arboles, Colorado
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We haven't had Navajo Rangers check, but 2 years ago a BLM ranger stopped by when we were setting up on river left. We had permit, so no problems, shared an unofficial beverage and he was on the way. Sending your permit application in to the Nation can be a pain as you said. We simply send them in and take along a copy of the Navajo permit application and a copy of the money order payable to Navajo Nation. Then if we are checked and have not yet received the paperwork, we are still covered. I have run this procedure by BLM rangers and the NN, and all parties thought it was fine. Have a great trip!
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Old 03-09-2015   #3
 
BV, CO
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Originally Posted by grin1 View Post
We haven't had Navajo Rangers check, but 2 years ago a BLM ranger stopped by when we were setting up on river left. We had permit, so no problems, shared an unofficial beverage and he was on the way. Sending your permit application in to the Nation can be a pain as you said. We simply send them in and take along a copy of the Navajo permit application and a copy of the money order payable to Navajo Nation. Then if we are checked and have not yet received the paperwork, we are still covered. I have run this procedure by BLM rangers and the NN, and all parties thought it was fine. Have a great trip!
This is a good plan and I have used it myself. The problem with it is when someone else actually does have a permit for where you've already set up camp.That happened to me once. Ended up sharing the camp and making some great new friends. We were lucky. One of the rangers described a couple ugly confrontations over this type of thing.
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Old 03-09-2015   #4
 
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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The problem with it is when someone else actually does have a permit for where you've already set up camp.
So they were "reserving" a camp on Navajo land? I didn't think that was even a possibility.
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Old 03-09-2015   #5
 
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Lardo, Idaho
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To my knowledge the only camps that would be reservable on navajo land are Slickhorn E and Trimble camps. Every camp above government is fare game, on both sides if you have a permit from Navajo Nation. You can obtain permits from the Monument Valley kiosk if you drive out there and pay. You don't have to go into the park or the building if you don't want. But it is cool to view Monument Valley if you've never been. You could get the permit from the entrance gate kiosk and turn around and head back to Mexican Hat if you wanted probably would take like a hour or maybe a little more round trip. This is what I did last year as I got a SJ permit last minute and didn't want to mess with the mail in thing.
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Old 03-09-2015   #6
 
Arboles, Colorado
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You've got in on the money GC Guide! There are NO reserved camps above Slickhorn in the San Juan. If an individual was saying they have a reserved camp, especially on Navajo Nation land, and they are above Slickhorn, I would have to call them on that one. Interestingly, when we did have a ranger check us, it was also because of people sending out apache scouts to snag up a camp. That morning as we were packing up to head out, I was communicating with a couple of trips that went by r.e. where they were staying....we were hoping to get into one of the camps at Honacker, as was the first group that went by. We made arrangements, all was well. Just as we were pulling out, the second group goes by, we communicate, and they saying nothing. Turns out, they split the party to snag a camp so when we got down there......no camps.

This happens, so we had lunch, pulled out and went on down. Turns out the TL of the first group I talked to spoke with the ranger and sent him on down to us to confirm things. Long story about good people doing the right things. We later laid over at Ross and saw the splitter group eat a lot of crap in Ross!
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Old 03-09-2015   #7
 
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Justice!
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Old 03-09-2015   #8
 
Buffalo, New York
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That's a dick move! We were guiding a group of Native American students in a guide training and tried to camp at Johns canyon. These turds blasted ahead of us after we communicated, yet still split there group to take what I remember is the three possible camps.

Only times I've had permits checked on the Navajo side have been by BLM.
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Old 03-09-2015   #9
 
cedar city, Utah
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We normally (pre-rev.gov) picked up permits short notice and gave up on camping river left because of the permit issue. I would think the system described above would be a great "good faith" alternative for just giving up like we had. Rangers ask but I have never seen anyone on the river request the permit.

I do know during the main season there can be tribal raft groups down there but I am not sure if they have the authority to check.

Hopefully they will go to a system like Deso but I know the Navajo have a difficult and tumultuous history with anglos poaching resources and then getting hurt enough to require rescue (that is the reason they banned canyoneering) that affects their motivation for recreational policy. I would love to start camping left and visiting more of the desolate ruins/art but just not worth the effort now and unwilling to trespass.

Phillip
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Old 03-09-2015   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
We normally (pre-rev.gov) picked up permits short notice and gave up on camping river left because of the permit issue. I would think the system described above would be a great "good faith" alternative for just giving up like we had. Rangers ask but I have never seen anyone on the river request the permit.

I do know during the main season there can be tribal raft groups down there but I am not sure if they have the authority to check.

Hopefully they will go to a system like Deso but I know the Navajo have a difficult and tumultuous history with anglos poaching resources and then getting hurt enough to require rescue (that is the reason they banned canyoneering) that affects their motivation for recreational policy. I would love to start camping left and visiting more of the desolate ruins/art but just not worth the effort now and unwilling to trespass.

Phillip
The Navajo patrols are the same as the police for Navajo nation. They most certainly have the authority to check you for your permit to camp on their lands. It is also against tribal law to have alcohol on tribal lands, this is something that I'm sure isn't observed in most cases but never the less could be an issue if the tribal officer decided to make an example of you. I wouldn't want to be the person caught on tribal land without a permit and empty beer cans on display.
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