Friday, March 7, 2014
Camping New Mexico
"Land of Enchantment" Campers, Hikers, Bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts that have visited New Mexico certainly know why New Mexico is called the "Land of Enchantment"
Panoramic mountain vistas, pristine mountain streams truly do enchant visitors, compelling them to return year after year for outdoor recreation and vacation.
Federal and state lands offer an abundance of public hiking trails and campgrounds, and several Indian reservations permit camping, hiking, hunting and fishing. While regulations differ from one agency or tribe to another, day hiking is free in many areas, with some facilities charging for vehicle entry. Campgrounds on tribal lands and on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, New Mexico State Parks, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers generally require a fee. Campsite reservations are not accepted at national parks, but the New Mexico State Parks Division is beginning a seasonal, pilot reservation program in the summer of 2000. Several U.S. Forest Service recreation sites currently take advance reservations.
Most backcountry hiking and camping is free, although permits are required. As in most western states, the U.S. Forest Service and BLM land holdings are extensive in New Mexico and offer opportunities for isolated camping. Generally, you can drive on roads and pitch a tent in most areas of national forests and BLM property. Be sure your campsite is more than one-quarter mile from shores, streambeds, trails, or roads and you're bound to be in compliance with the various agencies' rules. Campers and hikers should always check for fire restrictions within each region before their arrival. There are numerous privately owned campgrounds in New Mexico, and information about those can be obtained from local chambers of commerce. RV facilities are limited on federally managed public lands, but nearly all of New Mexico's state parks can accommodate them.
The New Mexico Public Lands Information Center is an all-encompassing source for current information on the more than 35 million acres of public lands in the state.
Started in 1996 as a non-profit partnership between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Public Lands Interpretive Association, the center offers a myriad of maps, books, informational brochures, videos and even licenses and permits. The friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer most of your outdoor recreation questions and get you started on your adventure.
You can call, write, email or visit either of the two New Mexico Public Lands Information centers, located in Santa Fe and Roswell. Information is also available online at www.publiclands.org. This impressive and user-friendly website is the virtual equivalent of the walk-in centers, offering books, maps, gifts and other items for purchase online.
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