The BLM 14-day rule for camping refers to the maximum number of days for camping on BLM land. It’s a common rule found on most BLM lands. However, it’s also confusing and a source for much discussion. Here is the full clarification of this rule…
The BLM 14-Day Rule for Camping
You can stay a maximum of 14-days in a 28-day period within a 25-mile radius…
- The 28-day period begins once you set up camp.
- You can stay a maximum of 14-days.
- The 14-day maximum does not have to be spent consecutively. If you set up camp for only 7 days, then pack up and leave, that 14-day maximum does not reset.
- If you choose to move your camp to a different site, and your new site is still within 25-miles from your original site, the 14-day maximum does not reset.
- Once you have exhausted 14-days of camping, you must pack up camp and leave. If you wish to continue camping, it has to be at least 25-miles away.
- Once the 28-day period has completed, you can resume camping in the same area with a fresh 14-day maximum.
Where Does the 14-Day Rule Apply?
It applies on most BLM Public Lands. Public Lands are what the BLM refers to as lands with no other special uses or designations. The lands have no signage, no kiosks, and no improvements of any kind. These are the lands that most boondockers think of when camping on BLM areas.
Even though each BLM State Office and each BLM Field Office is free to adopt its own camping limits, most still use the 14-Day Rule.
Developed Recreation Areas – Most BLM developed areas, such as campgrounds and OHV areas, will post their maximum camping limits on a kiosk located at entrances. Quite often, they will use the same 14-Day rule.
Conservation Lands– Most BLM national monuments use the 14-Day rule for dispersed camping. All BLM Wilderness Areas that we’ve visited to date use the same 14-Day rule.
Leaving Personal Property Unattended
You do not have to be in-attendance with your personal property while camping on BLM public lands. You are allowed to set up camp and then leave your personal property unattended up to 10-days (or 12-months in the State of Alaska). This is in accordance to CFR Title 43 § 8365.1-2 Occupancy and use.
The above rules applies only to BLM public lands. It does not apply to BLM developed recreation areas or BLM conservation lands.
How Strictly Does the BLM Enforce the 14-Day Rule?
Hardly ever. In our years of boondocking on BLM lands, we have never witnessed a BLM officer citing us or another boondocker about exceeding maximum length of stay. We have never heard of a BLM officer even reminding campers of what the maximum length of stay is.
This is not to say that campers should feel encouraged to stay as long they want. If enough boondockers make a habit of abusing camping rules, then you can expect the BLM to start enforcing them. However, if you are in a situation where you need to stay longer, you can do so and know the BLM will not have a problem with it.
The worst that could happen if you stayed longer than the rules allow is that a BLM officer will knock on your camper door and remind you it’s time to leave. The only time when you may be cited with a fine is if you were already asked to leave but refused to comply.