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Discussion Starter #1
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: [email protected] and put "Salida East' in the subject line.
 

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...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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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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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The one alternative i have thought of, that might work in some situations, is to form a boating club with other local boaters, work with the agency responsible for managing the particular area in question, and take over it's maintenance at no cost to government. If there was a big enough boating community, it could work, each member could spend time maintaining the area, with a handful of member's responsible for MAKING SURE it got taken care of, kind of like an adopt a trail program, but with more hands to share the work.
 

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How about they just add in some boulders and railroad ties like they have at Turtle Rock to keep vehicles in some places and not others? That would help the vegetation to grow back and would designate some camping "sites" somewhat limiting the number of people who can camp there without going to a full on paid camping area.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Salida East

Those responding negatively to this post make valid points. The area sometimes gets overused and no doubt some irresponsible campers leave trash. It is worth noting however, that those anxious to see it change are Salida or BV boaters who do not need a camping area since they live here.

From their perspective it would no doubt be more pleasing to the eye if it was a manicured AHRA campground.

I camped there when I watched my first Fibark in 1971 and again last last year, as well as hundreds of times in the 40 years in between. The changes overall are minimal- yes on a busy weekend all the obvious camping spots are taken and people camp on the meadow or wherever they can find a spot thus trampling the grass- but next rain storm or next spring it is back to its normal state.

The above post about a few more rocks or railroad ties or signs to designate what is OK and not OK to camp are great suggestions.

The salient point however is that there are currently dozens of AHRA and commercial campgrounds all along the river- if that is what you want it is exists for you.

Salida East is to my knowledge the ONLY BLM dispersed camping along the river and near to town. For front range boaters who decide on the spur of the moment to go boating without a camping reservation it is the ONLY place open to them. For RVers, fisherman, families etc traveling Colorado without every day mapped out it is likewise the ONLY option for camping without a reservation.

Could it be managed better with minor changes - no doubt.

Is it in the best interest of the public who actually use the campground to convert it to a daily fee of $23 and reservations required in advance - ABSOLUTELY NOT.

If you are a front range boater who camps at Salida East I urge you to write to the BLM and urge them not to lease this property to AHRA.

Rob Dubin
 

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It's interesting you say its not in the best interest of the person who actually camps there, I would argue this. I personally know of many people who have decided not to return because of the filth and disrespect. I understand you don't like the fact that the government is further regulating this site, but the moves they are suggesting to make the camping sustainable are based on research and science, not personal emotion. If the average camper picked up more trash than he left and had respect for his neighbor this wouldn't even be a question, but that's not the case and overall use does continue to increase every season.... Plus I think it's very important to remember that this is a state park. How many state parks do you know of that you can visit and camp for free?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Salida East

Logan,

I am not trying to persuade you or anyone else to change their minds- so I am not sure we need an endless debate here.

I hope people who feel as I do will contact the BLM with their thoughts and urge the BLM not to lease it to the state.

If you or anyone else does not want to camp there - don't. If you prefer a nice clean manicured campground you have maybe two dozen to pick from between Granite and Parkdale - both State run and private. There must be a thousand camping spots if you add up all the campgrounds so I fail to see how adding a dozen more is going to help the folks who do not like Salida East.

On the other hand if you remove the ONLY place that offers reservation and fee free camping you have certainly harmed the hundreds who use it.

As far as saying it is State land you are incorrect. This is BLM land and the entire issue is that the State wants to lease it so they can charge more in camping fees than the lease costs and make a profit.

BLM has thousands of acres of designated '"dispersed camping" throughout the west. Salida East is comparable to other BLM camping areas- the State only wants to grab this particular piece because it is in a popular area and they can make a profit off of it.

Rob
 

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I don't want a perfectly manicured campground. I want people to show a little respect for the lands and other folks who use them. The few free camping spots available in a long stretch of pay-to-use park attracts folks who by and large do not and will not respect the lands and the other folks who use them. And its not the usual 'the few who wreck it for the many' syndrome, the majority of users at this site really trash the place.

Unfortunate but true.

I do not have a negative attitude about this, just disappointment.
 

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Logan,

I am not trying to persuade you or anyone else to change their minds- so I am not sure we need an endless debate here.

I hope people who feel as I do will contact the BLM with their thoughts and urge the BLM not to lease it to the state.

If you or anyone else does not want to camp there - don't. If you prefer a nice clean manicured campground you have maybe two dozen to pick from between Granite and Parkdale - both State run and private. There must be a thousand camping spots if you add up all the campgrounds so I fail to see how adding a dozen more is going to help the folks who do not like Salida East.

On the other hand if you remove the ONLY place that offers reservation and fee free camping you have certainly harmed the hundreds who use it.

As far as saying it is State land you are incorrect. This is BLM land and the entire issue is that the State wants to lease it so they can charge more in camping fees than the lease costs and make a profit.

BLM has thousands of acres of designated '"dispersed camping" throughout the west. Salida East is comparable to other BLM camping areas- the State only wants to grab this particular piece because it is in a popular area and they can make a profit off of it.

Rob
I love dispersed camping and often do so on a whim but I am sad to say I think the days of finding free campsites in high profile areas is ending. There are just too many of us, especially on summer weekends, for that model to be sustainable along certain corridors, like rivers. Just look to the Payette or the Moab daily if you want to see other agencies moving towards ending dispersed camping. We have seen outright closers around Zion because of poor stewardship of people in our recreational groups (rafters, canyoneers, etc).

Phillip
 

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You are correct Rob, Salida East is owned by the BLM. I didn't mean to insinuate that it was state land, but it is part of the state park. Even though the boundaries include all public lands for 50' off the river bank in both directions from Leadville to Pueblo Reservoir the AHRA owns very little land.
 

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Rob,

It cannot stay as it is, period. I have spoken with BLM Rangers. The feces and trash have become overwhelming for them. It is not a healthy campground any longer. When it rains you have raw sewage flowing straight into the Ark.

It is not the same place it once was. The BLM simply does not have the budget to manage it effectively. Are you suggesting just leave it alone regardless of the unsanitary conditions. It simply isn't the campground you camped at 40 years ago.

No one wants to see them charge for the camping but you must address the unhealthy conditions they cannot be ignored. The BLM simply does not have the funds.

So if you want to see it remain free help solve the real problem. Because it has to be cleaned up
 

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Another Alternative

Hey all,

What do you guys think of turning the campground into a fee site like all the rest, but leaving the boat ramp itself as a fee free ramp?

This would allow the impacts of the camping and homelessness to be addressed while still allowing traditional users from Salida to do a quick trip after work with friends without paying a fee.

Thoughts?
 
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