BLM will require permits for river stretch
The thousands of river enthusiasts who run the Colorado River and camp along its banks between Loma and Westwater, Utah, every year soon will have to apply for permits for both activities, as federal land managers try to gain a handle on the burgeoning use of the area.
The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday it will introduce a camping and day use and motorized use permit system for the Ruby- Horsethief stretch of the river. Permits will be required between May 1 and Sept. 30. Camping permits will be free this year and will cost beginning in 2013. Day- and motorized-use permits will be free.
BLM officials say they’ve seen significant growth in the use of the river over the last decade and worked with private boaters and outfitters over several years to develop the permit system.
“What you had is more people wanting to go down there than there were campsites available. You had no guarantee you had a site, and that doesn’t make for as good of an experience,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “What you also had is people camped wherever they could. There are some sensitive areas there, and we were getting some damage to vegetation.”
Camping will be limited to 35 established sites, with 29 being available for private boaters and the balance available to outfitters.
More than 9,500 Ruby- Horsethief visitors registered at the Loma boat launch, and more than 20,000 nights of camping were recorded along that stretch of river in 2010, according to the BLM.