On April 26, the Bureau of Land Management issued a press release announcing the agency has completed a new campground near the North Klondike Bluffs trailhead. There are also new official rules limiting camping to designated areas; requiring visitors to either use an established toilet or pack out all human waste; and prohibiting wood cutting and collecting within the “Klondike Bluffs Mountain Bike Focus Area” and a nearby isolated 160-acre BLM parcel. The rules go into effect on May 23.
Klondike Bluffs has over 50 miles of popular single-track bike trails as well as impressive dinosaur track sites.
“On busy weekends in Moab, hundreds of visitors are camped on the side of the road to the Klondike Bluffs trails with many more trying to gain access to the trails and dinosaur track sites,” says the press release.
A 2019 environmental assessment for the project outlines observed impacts: “The almost constant use of public lands for dispersed camping in the Focus Area is damaging soils, woodland resources, vegetation, wildlife habitat, cultural resources, paleontological resources, recreation opportunities, scenic values and reduction of forage,” it reads.
The popularity of the area prompted the BLM to come up with impact management strategies.
“These changes will improve visitor experiences and recreation opportunities in the Klondike Bluffs area while protecting the natural and cultural resources that make it an exciting place to visit,” said BLM Moab Field Manager Nicollee Gaddis-Wyatt in the press release.
The BLM received 14 responses during the public comment window in April of 2019; most were in support of the proposal.
There are 25 individual campsites, each with parking for two vehicles, a picnic table, fire ring, shade shelter and close proximity to a vault toilet and trash receptacle. There are also two group sites that can accommodate up to six vehicles; these sites can be reserved in advance at recreation.gov, while the individual sites are first come, first served. Group site fees are $5 per person, and individual campsites are $20 per site. The campsite posts have QR codes that users can scan to be able to pay using a smartphone if they don’t have cash with them.
The press release notes that 91% of the area managed by the BLM’s Moab Field Office—about 1,662,581 acres—is available for dispersed camping.
The BLM acknowledged its partners in the project, including the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation and Grand County. To learn more about the planning process and the project, and for maps of the areas affected, visit bit.ly/2UVhDCc.