Journal of Forestry
National forest law enforcement officers regularly encounter "nonrecreational"campers whose tenure exceeds established stay limits (generally 2 weeks). Some long-term occupants are homeless and seek use of the forest as a temporary or long-term residence. Long-term nonrecreational campers present myriad concerns for forest officials, who seek to balance public access and resource conservation. In addition to biophysical impacts because of waste, disposal of chemicals, soil compaction, and damage to vegetation, nonrecreational campers can alter the social environment being shared with other forest visitors. For this exploratory study, US Forest Service law enforcement officers (n = 290) were surveyed to assess officer perceptions of the frequency of encounters, trends, and types of nonrecreational campers. We provide a descriptive summary of major findings and point out regional variations and trends. Officers perceive regional variations in the frequency of encounters with nonrecreational or homeless campers as well as types of campers encountered.
U.S. Forest Service
Public Health and Recreation
Lee K. Cerveny and Joshua W.R. Baur. "Homelessness and nonrecreational camping on national forests and grasslands in the United States: Law enforcement perspectives and regional trends" Journal of Forestry (2020): 139-153. https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvz065