Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Find Boondock Locations using LandForms

Boondock Information:  Finding Boondocking locations

This picture is of the Enchaments Basin of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in eastern Washington state.  Just by looking at the picture you can tell that boondocking locations are missing up there.  It is a great backpacking destination and is highly recommended to anyone that can crawl up Assgard Pass.

Here is a another picture of Monday's boondock destination in Montana.  Now that's more like it.  Notice the semi's parked above the firefighters tents.

These are two different landforms.  Now Landforms are defined as "A specific geomorphic feature on the surface of the earth, ranging from large-scale features such as plains and mountain to minor features such as hills and valley.

Boondocking or dispersed camping in an RV requires paying attention to landforms in different parts of the country.  Some landforms lend themselves really well to boondocking in an RV.  Other landforms make it difficult to find enjoyable camping spots. 

Boondocking or dispersed camping locations are usually found on ridgetops or valley bottoms.  They are hardly ever found mid-slope.  When working for various federal agencies I classified and looked at boondock campsites.  Closed a few and created a few.  Mid-slope sites were only used by hunters in the fall.  The most popular sites were along water down in the bottoms.   Some of the best sites were up high on wide open ridges with great view, great radio and TV reception and of course cell and internet access.  They were also much less crowded.

Here is a picture of common landforms found out west.  I know the picture is a wonderful graphic, but it works to convey the information.

The first landform is poorly suited for dispersed camping.  This is typical of many National Forests in Idaho.  The Clearwater National Forest is typical of this landform.  When I worked there in 1972 one fall on the slope would find you sliding down a couple of hundred feet!  As you can see there are very few areas for boondocking.  The slopes are steep and the roads tend to be narrow with few areas to go off the road a short distance to camp.  On these areas you want to know where you are going before you get there!!
The next landform has broad ridges and broad valley bottoms.  This is a great area for boondocking.  Except, since these are glacial valley's in many cases getting from the ridge top to the valley bottom can be difficult due to steep slopes.  Usually there are few roads that connect the ridgetops to the valley bottoms.  Parts of the Bitterroot and Gallentin National Forest have these landforms.

The last landform is fairly flat ground.  There are many National Forests that have this landform.  The Deschutes, Winema, and Fremont National Forests in eastern Oregon came immediately to mind.  The Modoc National Forest in California has flat ground.  On these lands roads tend to be wider and there is plenty of room to park a large rig.  

Here is a typical desert camping site.  This one is in eastern Washington, but there are similar sites on the Deschutes, Winema, and Fremont National Forests.  Of course, their campsites come complete with trees.

This is one reason for learning how to read topographic maps.  The computer mapping programs such as BackRoads Topo! and Delorme are perfect for getting an initial read on the probability of finding that perfect campsite.  Learn to recognize Landforms using these mapping programs.  Close topographic lines mean limited or poor boondocking locations.  Look for widely spaced lines either on the ridgetops or valley bottoms.  Learn to "read" topographic maps.  It is much quicker and easier than Google or any other information source.  See this link for these programs:  Computer Mapping Programs.

Think landforms.  Learn to recognize them using topographic maps.   In just a short time you will be able to find boondocking locations like this one.  Instead of a tent, this site can fit just about any length RV.  It is in the Little Belt mountains of central Montana. 

Next we will talk about using Forest Service and BLM maps to find YOUR PERSONAL BOONDOCK location.  It does help being a professional Forester in finding boondock locations, but in the next several postings I will share information with you that will make you just as expert!

1 comment:

dogsivu said...

Thanks for all your effort. I am new to all this and really appreciate your site. -mike owens, dallas. TX