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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was getting ready to send in my certified check to the Navajo Nation for permission to camp and hike on river left during my April 29 San Juan trip when I heard from the BLM office that they are not issuing permits?? Has anyone been down that can give some beta?
Hard to believe everyone is skipping all of the camps and hiking on Navajo land...
Thanks
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I assumed it was due to COVID, but it's hard for me to believe that no one has set foot on the left side of the river in the last how ever many months. I was hoping to hear from someone who has been down the river as to what people have been doing; or how difficult has it been to select camps with everyone jammed on the right side
 

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I have heard the Navajo Nation intends to open, or at least will start issuing permits, at the beginning of April. We just did an Upper San Juan. Lots of people (big groups) and with no camping on the Navajo side it got crowded.
 

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Not sure if you're doing the upper or lower. There are plenty of camps on the right. It's really just the upper canyon that has some of the camps on the left and competition can be tough coming out of the canyon below Ledges rapid. As far as the rest of the river goes once your below Mexican Hat all the good camps are on the right side anyway.
 

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...it's hard for me to believe that no one has set foot on the left side of the river in the last how ever many months. I was hoping to hear from someone who has been down the river as to what people have been doing...
Anyone that's "set foot on the left side of the river in the last how ever many months," on closed Navajo lands, has done so illegally and could be prosecuted. If you're asking folks to tell how they accessed Navajo lands during the closure, then you're basically asking them to publicly admit to breaking the law and open themselves to prosecution by the Navajo Nation. Managing agencies and law enforcement staff have access to everything that's ever been posted on MB. Posts and threads from MB have been presented in court by prosecutors before as part of their cases against people who broke the law and then boasted or ranted about it here.

So it's pretty simple. If the Navajo land is closed, then you should treat it the same way you would if a landowner has posted "No Trespassing" signs all along their riverside property and has the local sheriff's number on speed dial. Even if you have to float past some nice campsites and spectacular hikes, and spend another couple of hours on the river floating to a crappy campsite or mediocre hike that's on the right side of the river.
 
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I have heard the Navajo Nation intends to open, or at least will start issuing permits, at the beginning of April. We just did an Upper San Juan. Lots of people (big groups) and with no camping on the Navajo side it got crowded.
Thanks for the intel. I emailed Navajo Nation Parks to see if they had an estimate, but haven't heard anything back. We have a trip coming up in the second week of April, so am guessing we'll need to drop by an entry kiosk to pick up permits if they do indeed open. I've heard it can take a while to get the permits by mail, so that probably isn't an option. We're going all the way to Clay Hills, but are hoping to do 3 nights above Mexican Hat potentially with a layover. If the left side remains closed, hopefully we can still find some decent options on the right side!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was able to get through to the Navajo Nation folks on the phone and they did indeed lessen their alert status from "red" to "orange" a few days ago with those changes taking effect today. Perhaps that's where the hopeful rumor might have arisen. The lady said that the next decision point would be in three weeks, or right about April first. Let's hope that their COVID situation continues to improve and that they do indeed open up recreation on the reservation.
 

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I am with a permitted party headed down lower San Juan next Thursday and called about camping/hiking river left, and spoke with staff at Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation (agency that administers permits for hiking/camping river left on the San Juan - 928-871-6647) and he said they were extending the closure on the left side through at least July bc of Covid. A member of our party spoke to the BLM river ranger the other day who said that around mile 56/57 when entering Glen Canyon Nat'lRecreation Area the Navajo Nation and the GCNRA have an agreement that people can camp river left (below high water line) but you can't hike without a permit (which now you can't bc Covid). BLM phone: (435) 587-1544. FWIW, but by all means call for yourself and double check!
 

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I am with a permitted party headed down lower San Juan next Thursday and called about camping/hiking river left, and spoke with staff at Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation (agency that administers permits for hiking/camping river left on the San Juan - 928-871-6647) and he said they were extending the closure on the left side through at least July bc of Covid. A member of our party spoke to the BLM river ranger the other day who said that around mile 56/57 when entering Glen Canyon Nat'lRecreation Area the Navajo Nation and the GCNRA have an agreement that people can camp river left (below high water line) but you can't hike without a permit (which now you can't bc Covid). BLM phone: (435) 587-1544. FWIW, but by all means call for yourself and double check!
Thank you for the info! Sounds like left side is a no go for our mid April trip.
 

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Just an update for those interested. I just called the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department (928-871-6647) today (May 19th ) and the lady there confirmed that the Navajo Nation permits are still not being issued due to the pandemic. She said to check back maybe towards July just in case they start to open but there are no promises yet.

My trip is for launching on June 16th, so I guess I will just have to plan on all hiking and camping on river right.

Does anybody know, what about just pulling over for lunch or to scout Government Rapid - can you set foot on river left for scouting a rapid without the permit? I guess I should have asked the lady while I was on the phone...
 
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