The Arizona Daily Sun reports on the conflict between the full timers and the badge carrying rangers in the National Forest Service.
Darrell and Rose found a camper, a van to pull it, and some solar panels for power. Now married, the Eddlemans live out of their recreational vehicle in forests around the Southwest with their dog, Freeway, and have seen a lot of the country.
They now hike and visit with other campers.
“I like this lifestyle a lot,” Rose said.
Just one problem, in their view: The Kaibab National Forest doesn’t want them around and is recently stating as much.
Actually, living in the forest is illegal, say Forest Service officials, pointing to federal law.
One of the surprises was that the ranger didn’t cite staying past the 14 day limit by a day or two, he saw the Quartzite BLM LTVA sticker and decided on a residency use ticket. “Federal law prohibits building or “occupying or using a residence” on national forest land.” The ranger decided their MoHo was a residence. The implication is that any RV could be similarly categorized at any time on NFS lands.
This treatment is unfair and a form of discrimination, they say, particularly when other presumably wealthier campers with homes come and go from campers that sit for months and face no penalties.
“We’re normal people,” Dallas said. “We just live in the woods.”
Another aspect of this is the MVUM or motor vehicle use maps that the NFS publishes. You need to consult those maps to make sure that you don’t take your vehicle to where it is not allowed (anymore). It also brings to mind the land management companies comments about volunteer hosts and ‘badge and gun’ rangers in their attitude towards problems with campers.
This starts to get one thinking about Robin Hood and the Sherwood forest.