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Back Roads permits

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Offline abcnkc

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Back Roads permits
« on: February 20, 2008, 04:53:26 PM »
 Two friends and I are planning to be in BiBe from February 29- March 8, 2008. It's been 12 years away for me and I can hardly wait! With only a few days to go, the rapid answers here are greatly appreciated.

 One of these buddies and I have been to Big Bend around 4 to 6 or so times together. But we had always done river trips (Topado Canyon to Mikes Fish Camp at Dreyden over the years). But this time we are more or less camping by a rented cargo van (short day hikes and sightseeing). And the camps will only be where a new 3/4 ton Chevy van can dependably get back from. Maybe even just sedan roads. We don't plan to use the main campgrounds except to shower and buy ice.

I think I understand the common sense safety and sanitation rules. But I have some other questions:

1.)  Once we have our Back Country permit can we just find an approved designated and unoccupied spot and stay there for several nights? Do we need a permit for every zone we might camp in? Do you get the same price for any amount of permits you pull? Or is there a separate price for each permit? Are there nightly fees besides the cost of the permits?

  Then- do we just clean up that camp and move on another campsite in a Zone we have a permit for? Or do we have to give the Rangers a day to day plan before we even get our bearings? The way I think I understand it, there are no reservations required and you just register the Zones you plan on staying in and for how long in each. And if the Zone is not full or off limits you find a campsite. Can you get several permits for differnt Zones for the same days?

  Then- do we just clean up that camp and move on to another campsite? Do we have to give the Rangers a day to day plan before we even get our bearings?

2.)  Will a new galvanized car oil collection pan count as a fire pan? We are taking a gas stove and a BBQ grill. But a controlled mesquite fire is the best.

  I am sure there will be more better questions later.

Thanks
ABCNKC

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 06:43:24 PM »
We don't plan to use the main campgrounds except to shower and buy ice.

Only shower is at Rio Grande Village store.

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1.)  Once we have our Back Country permit can we just find an approved designated and unoccupied spot and stay there for several nights?

You must have a permit to stay at a designated backcountry campsite. If you are zone camping -- 1/2 mile from the road, 300 yards from a water source or archaeological site, etc. -- then you can camp anywhere within the zone which meets those criteria.

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Do we need a permit for every zone we might camp in?

You would be designated one zone per night and expected to camp in the zone you chose. Same for backcountry campsites -- one site per night, and expected to stay in that site that night.

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Do you get the same price for any amount of permits you pull? Or is there a separate price for each permit? Are there nightly fees besides the cost of the permits?

Single charge for a backcountry permit, regardless of the number of nights. No separate fees for staying at a backcountry campsite versus a zone.

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Then- do we just clean up that camp and move on another campsite in a Zone we have a permit for?

Depends on what your permit is for. You could spend every night in the same place if you wanted to.

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Or do we have to give the Rangers a day to day plan before we even get our bearings?

If I follow you, you may do this, but you will get charged a backcountry permit fee for each new permit you request.

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The way I think I understand it, there are no reservations required and you just register the Zones you plan on staying in and for how long in each. And if the Zone is not full or off limits you find a campsite.

Correct. Remember: zone camping is not car camping. If you camp in a zone, you must camp at least 1/2 mile from any road.

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Can you get several permits for different Zones for the same days?

You can only be in one place at a time -- law of physics.  :icon_biggrin:  Where you go in the daytime does not require a permit, only where you stay the night.

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Then- do we just clean up that camp and move on to another campsite? Do we have to give the Rangers a day to day plan before we even get our bearings?

Same as above -- in terms of additional permits mean additional charges.

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2.)  Will a new galvanized car oil collection pan count as a fire pan? We are taking a gas stove and a BBQ grill. But a controlled mesquite fire is the best.

Agree, but no open fires in the park. The rangers can tell you what you're permitted to do. Whatever you do, do not gather anything from the park for use in a fire.

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I am sure there will be more better questions later.

We're always open for business.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 06:46:20 PM by jeffblaylock »
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Al

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 06:55:35 PM »
On the fire thing, no wood fires and no ground fires.  So technically if you raise the pan off the ground by some means, it will be alright, but technically even if you bring your own wood to burn you are not supposed to do so.  Charcoal is OK.  One thing that works well is to line the fire pan with a couple of layers of heavy duty aluminum foil with plenty of extra hanging over the side.  This allows you to bank the coals and contain it when you are finished for the evening and makes it neater to stow. 

Al

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Offline jr ranger

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 06:56:24 PM »
Jeff, I'm assuming Chisos was asleep when you took the time to post this? :icon_wink:

All excellent advice, and if I may add no wood fires, which would of course include mesquite.
  :ranger:
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."

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SHANEA

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 07:06:27 PM »
So technically if you raise the pan off the ground by some means, it will be alright, but technically even if you bring your own wood to burn you are not supposed to do so.
Al

Yea, and if you do decide to do that, please post pictures of it.  Your citation will be in the mail.  :icon_eek: and if your fire should get out of hand, you'd better hide well, lot's of people will be calling for a rope.  :icon_wink:

There is a great Link that explains many of the things - hey, the BIBE Webmaster even called it FAQ's...   :icon_lol:

You know, all this free advice, NPS should be paying us!  Heck, I'm sure all the rangers just sit around all day with nothing to do since most know what to do / not to do and have it all explained in advance..  I'm sure this will get a chuckle around the PJ water cooler...  :rolling:



 
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 07:08:09 PM by SHANEA »

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Offline Al

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 07:10:35 PM »
I can't help but wonder what the statute of limitations is on a permit violation . . .

Al

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SHANEA

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 07:20:58 PM »
I can't help but wonder what the statute of limitations is on a permit violation . . .

Al

and I bet somewhere within either the NPS rules or the Federal Register you could find it, good luck.   :icon_wink:

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Offline abcnkc

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 01:57:03 PM »
  Only about 8 days until we are back inside Adventureland again! We have never camped in any BiBe roadside campsites, we were always shooting for river trips. So we  still have questions.

  After reading some of the posts, it appears that you can get in permit trouble pretty easily- whether you want to or not.

  I found this at the NPS Big Bend site-  "Please camp within the “footprint” of the campsite itself."

  I know each site is different, but are the “footprint” edges marked in some way?

  For instance-  Can you tie a tarp to a ridge 100 feet or even a 1/4 mile from where the van is legally parked?

  Most of the time the tarp/ camp will be tied to the van. But for any other tarp/camps we'll only be moving some rocks to stake the corners; rocks that can be put back afterwards.

  We know most of the big rules because of this great forum. But from all my reading about "night vision goggles" and "paying for the park through fines" in some of the treads, I just don't want to get in trouble and still have to move camp in the middle of the night.

  We've been camping a long time and every day I become more sensitive of the impact of my actions. I love this park.

Can You tell I'm getting excited?
Allen

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Offline bdann

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 02:17:21 PM »
You just need to realize there's a difference between zone camping and car camping in a roadside campsite. 

If you zone camp, then you are camping somewhere in a zone, away from your vehicle, not in a designated site.  You've got to be x distance from the road, x distance from any trail, and x distance from any water source (the rangers will fill you in, or you can read the specific regulations on the BIBE website), otherwise you can setup camp wherever you want.

If you're camping at a roadside site, you are camping in a designated campsite, with your vehicle.  The campsite boundaries will be obvious. 
WATER, It does a body good.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 02:20:55 PM »
The campsite boundaries will be obvious. 
They're usually bounded by rocks, railroad ties, etc.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 02:25:55 PM »
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I know each site is different, but are the “footprint” edges marked in some way?

The footprints are all obvious and usually fairly large. The desert grows and decays slowly -- manmade things can be seen for many, many years before they fade away.

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Can You tell I'm getting excited?

 :eusa_dance:

Jeff, I'm assuming Chisos was asleep when you took the time to post this? :icon_wink:  :ranger:

No, she was outside.  :icon_biggrin:
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline okiehiker

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Zone Camping vs. roadside sites
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 02:51:32 PM »
There are four basic types of camping in BIBE, permit-wise.  Two are car camping and two are back-country (read backpacking)

Car camping options are: type 1: at the three main developed campgrounds, Rio Grande Village, Cottonwood and Chisos Basin.  You will be camping in a designated site side by side with anywhere from a few to a several hundred other people depending upon location and season.   type 2:  roadside sites.  They more remote locations which typically will accommodate 1 to 4 vehicles and 2 to 12 people.  You may be in a site that is relatively isolated from other sites (and people) or relatively close.  Your conditions will be much more primitive than the developed sites.  Usually you have good neighbors, and always relatively few nieghbors.  The permissable camping area is larger than at the developed sites, but still limited and fairly easy to distinguish.

Back-country options:  these are basically backpacking options as you must by law be a minimum of a half mile from any vehicle, thus you must carry EVERYTHING.  It does present to occassional opportunity for the car-camper when all of the roadside sites are full and you simply must camp for a day.  You carry all your stuff out to where you camp and then carry it back.  It is a pain, but sometimes necessary in busy seasons. 
Type 1: designated campsites.  All high Chisos sites are designated.  As with the roadside sites you have a clear "footprint" within which to camp.  These again accommodate anywhere from two to fifteen or more people.  They also may be isolated, or near several other designated sites.  Type 2: zone camping.  The BIBE backcountry is divided into numerous "zones."  Zones are relatively small, contiguous geographic areas with a limitation on the number of total campers who can camp in them on any given night.  They range from really small (Wright Spring) with small capacity (12) to rather large say in the Sierra del Carmen with large capacity (up to 60)

Getting a permit.  Your best bet is to have a plan for your stay and apply for everything at one time.  Your trip could involve all four types of camping fairly easily.  Say 2 nights at RGV, 1 night at Paint Gap Hills, 3 nights on the Mesa de Anguila and a night at the South Rim.  All of these sites require permits, it is just that each location has different regulations governing its use.  (That sounds like a rather nice week actually...)

Regarding fires... the regs are crystal clear.  NO WOOD FIRES.  If you violate this rule and cause a fire it will be difficult to explain.  As noted previously, charcoal is fine (there are probably times of extreme fire danger that even charcoal is restricted, but I don't usually use it so I am not sure.)  Use stoves for cooking.

Plan your trip well.  If you are coming at a busy time be flexible and have more than one itinerary planned.  At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break plan high Chisos sites and areas like Mule Ears late in your stay and you can probably get a permit.  If you plan to arrive in the park on March 16, camp at Mule Ears and the 17th and camp at the South Rim on the 18th it ain't happening.  Plan those sites later and you will probably get to do what you want.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline abcnkc

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 09:28:37 PM »
 You all are great- with your help I know how to ask the right questions at the Rangers Station. Thanks for sticking with me. Now I can start getting my stuff together here in KCMO.

Thanks Again:
Allen

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SHANEA

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 05:06:56 PM »
Gotta have a fire at a campsite?  As far as I know these are allowed...  It's not quite the same as a roaring fire, but it does work and does put out some heat.

Kozy Time
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Kozy Times portable fireplace is the first and only open flame UL (underwriters laboratory) approved appliance in the United States. This allows it to meet fire ban restrictions exemptions and also allows you to burn it in most State and National Parks.

Little Red Portable Campfire

Campfire in a Can


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Offline abcnkc

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Re: Back Roads permits
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2008, 10:53:56 AM »
  How safe is it to leave your camp unoccupied for several hours when road camping in the desert back country? Food will be in the van with us and the tents will be knocked flat. Everything else will be under tarps. Specifically at Chimneys and Ernst Tinaja.

Thanks
Allen Cessna

 


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