The immediate answer is “no” you cannot live on BLM land. However, technically, you actually can live on BLM land for an indefinite period. It just involves being mobile, moving from one place to another. In that sense, you could very well live on BLM land indefinitely.
Can You Live on BLM Land?
The BLM doesn’t really want squatters taking up permanent residence on its public lands. They will not tolerate people residing permanently in the same spot forever and ever. Eventually they will make you move. How long you are able to remain camped in the same spot depends on the BLM Field Office in charge of that area. Read our other article, “How Many Days Can You Camp on BLM Land?”
But, if you can move to a new location every two or three weeks, and that location is at least ten or twenty miles away, and still on BLM land, then you could perhaps get away with living on BLM land for an indefinite period.
You’d want to find at least four camping locations on BLM land, each of which being 10-20 miles away from the other locations. If you don’t mind picking up your camp, and moving to each location every 2 to 3 weeks, then you can certainly live permanently on BLM land…
- You won’t be able to put up any kind of permanent structures, like buildings, fencing, a mailbox.
- You won’t be able to plant shade trees
- You won’t be able to keep chickens or other animals.
You will have to remain temporary at each location.
Moreover, you will want to respect the land you’re camped on, taking great care to make sure you don’t leave trash, you don’t damage plants nor animal habitats, you don’t make excessive noise, and you don’t bother other campers. The reason is that you don’t want to give BLM officials any reason to kick you out permanently.
Contact the Local BLM Field Office
Find out which BLM Field Office has jurisdiction over where you are hoping to remain camped. (Directory of BLM field offices)
Contact them and ask what is the maximum length of stay you are allowed to remain camped in the same place. Also ask them how far away you have to move camp, and for how many days you must be away, before you can come back again.
Some field offices establish these rules, though others do not.