Colorado Forrest and BLM Ranger Issues

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ldmccain

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I have been approached and interrogated three times this year by Rangers.

First was a BLM ranger just north of Grand Junction. I did complain at the BLM office as he kept standing within a foot of me to insist I leave. Even with the bike out and a brand new CO OHV sticker on it. Had been there 3 days, and this was his first drive through.

Second, a Ranger near Delta approached and stated he had a call about a camper having been parked for over two weeks, we had been there 4 days, but had noticed several locals driving up to the spot. (I’m guessing to see if it was empty) This ranger was nicer but still started the interaction as if I was guilty. He was filling in for the local ranger who was sick.

Third, a Forrest ranger in the San Isabel Forrest drove by twice then parked up the road and tried to sneak up to the door of my RV through the woods. He then launched into it is illegal to live in the national forest rant, including lots of personal questions about where I lived and what I owned there. I had only been at this camping site 2 days. It didn’t mater what I said he still tried to get me to leave when I had 12 more days to camp legally.

The sites were clean, I had my motorcycle out, trailer still attached to by RV, didn’t even have chairs outside yet. Not sure what policy they are following to harass campers with out of state plates, but it has become very irritating.

I would recommend, if you can, avoid spending any money in Colorado until the rangers are brought under control.
Also be ready to record any interactions with them.  I have my camera ready for the next one.

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vanman2300

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Yesterday I had 2 forestry trucks go by my site seemingly in a hurry. About 20 minutes later they came back. They slowed as they passed then stopped for a minute then moved on. This was in the chalk cliffs area. I figured maybe they saw or heard of a campfire was going.

Anyhow, this brings up some good questions like how can you prove when you got there? Or are there any questions they ask in order to trap you in a violation or eviction from the forest?
 

ldmccain

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Entrapment questions. lots and over and over.

Where do you live?
What do you own there?
Do you live in your RV?
Where do you work?
Where are you going?
Where did you come from?

The last one asked for my ID, then he took a picture of it.
I will be watching my credit reports for identity theft....
 

cyndi

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Jeez, Larry! I'm speechless. How long are you planning on staying in CO?
 

vanman2300

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Sounds like the questioning I got when I unknowingly drove into a CIA facility parking lot. Surrounded by 6 guards all with their hands on the guns. All in black tactical gear mirrored glasses and utility belts Batman would be jealous about. Finally told me to move on and not come back or they'd find something on me to cause a big problem.

But boy those were about the same exact questions. It must be in the federal employees training handbook.
 

QinReno

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Wow, sounds excessive. I can see they would be sensitive due to the first of July being when the temperatures sky-rocket in the west, and the wild fire season gets intense. As mentioned on another thread, there has already been one large fire down in the San Juan range in s.w. CO. If I were traveling right now, I think I would monitor possible closures in the area.
https://www.google.com/search?&q=national+forest+closures

And also download current information off the websites for the particular NF and BLM areas I am visiting. Eg, NM is already sealing shut,
https://www.abqjournal.com/1189137/...ational-forest-being-closed-by-fire-risk.html

Also, check this post I made about how to track fire locations online, July to Sept are the bad months for fires.
https://vanlivingforum.com/showthread.php?tid=31116&pid=386859#pid386859

As a 3rd measure in regards hassling, you might keep a paper trail of receipts from purchases. If you had shopped say in Moab 3 days earlier, you could show them the receipts. Might help shut them up. I typically buy something in most every town I visit so I have a paper trail, just in case. "And where were you on the night of the 25th, Mr QinReno? You look like the bad sort!". I can tell you from a lifetime of experience, the FooBird always seems to find me.

As a 4th measure, of course different people are different, but my manner of dealing with anyone who might be carrying a weapon is to be as polite as possible, no matter what it takes, and then get out of bullet range as soon as possible.
 

Goshawk

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Start taking names. Look up and get district head ranger names and contact information. Get work email addresses of these folks. Once you send a reasonable non-rant work email to a few, you will get instant respect and a break. You can email your GPS location to the district managers. They enforce the law, and also need to be kind of helpful to people who patronize local business.

Still think there should be an online permit requirement, and printed paper.


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Goshawk

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Also reading YouTube comments about shutting down some free camping spots in the eastern USA due to slob campers. Likely national regional executive ranger notice about checking and enforcing free camping area limits.

It’s July 4th weekend time. Start enforcing free camping limits and restrictions, cause some fool is going to start a forest fire. Or get someone hurt in your district.


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frater secessus

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vanman2300 said:
Anyhow,  this brings up some good questions like how can you prove when you got there? Or are there any questions they ask in order to trap you in a violation or eviction from the forest?

I was thinking maybe mark the arrival and departure dates on a visible side window with a grease pencil.
Or email coordinates and arrival/departure to the field office (or whatever they're called).

Those rangers sound like bullies.   IMO they should be named/shamed.
 

ldmccain

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Cyndi
Depends on where the next job appears, and yes will stay in a RV park while working.

QinReno
I have a paper trail and Spot tracking for my family. They don't want to see anything.

DLTooley
Grand Junction was back in May
Escalante Canyon Road. up on top of the first hill where you can see the highway.
 

vanman2300

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Good idea on the Spot tracking. I use a Spot 3 to let family know where I am and that I'm ok. Doesn't matter if the rangers don't want to see it because it still changes things in your favor and they know it. At that point they're going to back off, maybe throw a empty threat or 2 at you and then go away.
 

DLTooley

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ldmccain said:
DLTooley
    Grand Junction was back in May
    Escalante Canyon Road. up on top of the first hill where you can see the highway.

The shooting was May 27.

https://www.gjsentinel.com/breaking...cle_2e05f2d2-6215-11e8-987a-3be98dae1be6.html

I can never keep each of the several access points straight in that stretch between Delta and Grand Junction, but I've definitely seen the walkers.  That area has a lot of potential - it would be great to see a developed trail and some slightly improved camping areas.  There are also some pretty good spots across the River towards the Uncompahgre Plateau in the Delta/Montrose area, just to the South. It may well be that the increased enforcement you were seeing was a misdirected overreaction to the GJ incident - or a contributing cause.
 

vanman2300

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QinReno

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Do they still have that large uranium facility on top the north end of the Uncompahgre Plateau? Extra security in the area?
 

vanman2300

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QinReno said:
Do they still have that large uranium facility on top the north end of the Uncompahgre Plateau? Extra security in the area?

Possibly a reason. But I would think they wouldn't let anyone near it at all.
 

Weight

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I have not had such interactions with any ranger, state or federal. I found them mostly polite and not threatening.
 

Van-Tramp

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Weight said:
I have not had such interactions with any ranger, state or federal. I found them mostly polite and not threatening.

Yep, me too. Lots of Ranger interactions in many states, including CO, and never had a problem with them. 

As mentioned above, there are some questions that they ask specifically to see if you are "residing" in public land (which is illegal). You may be there only a single night, but if you do not have a permanent address (aka "home address") then by law you are *residing* in the public land. Not only can you get a citation, they absolutely WILL cite you on the spot.. and should IMO. Colorado has had a mad rush of vagrants living on public land in recent years, so I can't blame them for trying to fix that. In fact, I've been begging them to do exactly that.

However, if they start in with the interrogations, you can stop it dead in its tracks this by doing one simple thing; keep your trap shut! You are not required to answer his questions, so shake hands, wish good days, and tell your stories to them, but politely inform him that you do not feel comfortable answering questions without a lawyer present and whamo, you are golden (also in CO). \\

Personally I enjoy talking to the Rangers. I always get a ton of insight out of them, as well as great places to go see or camp.When they pull over to talk, I always approach them with my hand out ready to shake hands (since I'm always visibly armed I figure that starts things off on the right foot). Never had the interrogation though. I understand why they may ask... doesn't mean I would answer, even though I have a "home address" (in CO too by the way)
 

vanman2300

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In most instances I've had encounters with authorities it's been civil. I always say yes sir, no sir, etc and refer to them as officer. HOWEVER, as polite and cooperative as I am, I've run across some real tools. I wonder if Larry ran across a tool and now black balled so others will hassle him. Snapping a photo of his ID is over the top and simply an intimidation tactic.
 
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