Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BLM reveals fees for Quartzsite LTVA camping

As autumn begins to roll around, the beating hearts of snowbirds begin to take on a faster rhythm. If your travel plans mean pointing your nose toward the great Southwest, you may wonder: What's the scoop on camping in Quartzsite?

Years back, when we first started staying on the LTVAs (Long Term Visitor Areas) near Quartzsite, the permit fees for staying on over the season were just $50. But then that dreadful thing happens – the too much of a good thing syndrome. Prices started jumping, and pretty soon, it cost almost that much just to stay for a couple of weeks.

Happily, for the 2013 – 2014 season, the BLM has no plans to crank up permit fees. This year a season permit, good from September 15 through April 15 runs $180; a two-week permit will set you back $40. If you're not familiar with the "benefits" that come with the permit fees, here they are:

The LTVAs near Quartzsite are four large patches of desert land. Two of them, LaPosa West and LaPosa East are close to town, in fact, in walking distance of some of the most popular shows. Farther out, and filled with quiet, LaPosa South and Tyson Wash. All four areas have garbage dumpsters. Regardless of your choice of area, your permit also provides you with a place to take on fresh water and rid yourself of waste water.

The dump station is located a couple of miles "in" to the LaPosa South LTVA. You'll definitely need your permit; volunteers make sure only those with the sticker on their windshield get near the station. At high season (mid-December through the end of January) there can be long lines at the dump station. Best to come late in the afternoon if you don't want to stand in line. There is a "blue boy" dump station near the entrance of LaPosa South – lines there are a rarity, but there's no fresh water to rinse hoses and the smell can be, well, smelly.

Mechanics aside, what else does your permit buy you? Your choice of an RV site in the wide-open cactus-studded spaces. If you like rubbing elbows with other folks and get a kick out of watching what kind of rigs people travel in, by all means, park up front near any one of the entrance stations. If you're more of a solitary, wildlife viewing, peace and quiet loving sort, head way back in the area of your choice. We've found going "way back" in LaPosa South provides some of the most spectacular views and the least amount of "bugging." 

Permits go on sale, opening day, September 15. You can buy yours at any "open" entrance station (the flag will be run up the pole) and permits are good for any of the seven LTVAs in the Yuma region.