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Dinosaur National Monument Utah
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 Utah Travel Center NM Dinosaur • Backcountry

Dinosaur National Monument UtahWhen you are in the back country you are on your own, and that requires some skill and thoughtful planning. Backcountry camping requires a permit, which can be obtained at any park ranger station. Much of the terrain in Dinosaur is rugged. Sandstone breaks easily, and the sand grains can act like ball bearings under boots. Watch your step near cliff edges.

SELECT A CAMPSITE: We like to imagine ourselves traveling through virgin country, and the sight of an obviously used camp destroys that vision. Tent trenches, fire scars on boulders, fire circles, and litter are some of the ways a campsite becomes ghetto-like. Don't contribute to the problem. Select a campsite well away from developed areas, at least 1/4 mile from roads or cultural sites. During the summer camping in the inner river canyons is restricted. All of the Cub Creek area, and all of Jones Hole Creek except the established site at Ely Creek, are closed to camping.

WATER: Use biodegradable soap, and use it away from water sources. With the exception of the Green and Yampa rivers, never bathe or wash clothes or dishes in a water source. Carry at least 1 gallon of water per person per day in the summer. Water is scarce in some areas of the park. All untreated water should be considered polluted by the microscopic organism Giardia, which causes diarrhea, cramps, and other unpleasant symptoms. The most certain method to treat water is to boil it for 3 to 5 minutes. Chemical disinfectants are not considered effective. Filtering systems must remove particles as small as one micron in diameter to be effective.

WASTE: If you carry it in, carry it out, including cigarette butts and organic material. Apple cores and orange peels do not add anything to the desert environment, they attract skunks and insects, and make wildlife into pests. Eating and food preparation areas are particular concern. Pick up and properly dispose of all scraps you have dropped. Pack out litter that inconsiderate other visitors have left

Human waste decomposes very slowly in the desert and is a major cause of waterborne diseases. In areas without toilets, bury human waste by digging a 6-inch deep hole at least 300 feet from water and frequently used areas. Carry out your toilet paper in ziploc bags. Animals and erosion soon expose toilet paper, giving some areas a toilet-paper-bloom appearance. Burning toilet paper has started wildfires--Do Not Burn It.

FIRE: The remains of fires last for many years. River campgrounds have received enough abuse to require river runners to use fire pans and carry out charcoal. Indeed, firewood gathering and campfires are restricted in some areas at some times. If you build a fire, collect only down and dead wood. Build a small fire, and locate it away from burnable material. Never leave a fire unattended. Trees grow extremely slowly here, and in some areas use has exceeded the available down wood. Jones Hole and Ely Creek are examples of this. For that reason fires are prohibited at the Ely Creek Campsite. Fire charcoal is unsightly. Carry out the residue of your fire to leave your site as if no one had ever camped there.

PETS: Pets can harass wildlife, bite or disturb other visitors, and contribute to the degradation of the backcountry. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry of Dinosaur.

ATTITUDE: We have reports of well-meaning visitors killing snakes near camp. A look at heavily used sites will disclose branches broken from trees and shrubs for fires. Damage and vandalism to archaeological sites and rock art panels continue. Fish entrails and orange peels are common in some places. Some trails show the mark or erosion from heavy use and short cutting switchbacks. How can we reduce or eliminate such impacts? Proper care of the backcountry starts with attitude. Treat the backcountry with respect. Let us know ways you discover to reduce impacts on the park. Perhaps if we follow these rules we can preserve the backcountry in a pristine manner without undue additional regulation.

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