Arizona snowbirds, rejoice! Roadpass Pro Member Benefits now include a map overlay for identifying Arizona State Trust Lands.
Trust Lands are managed for the benefit of public groups or entities, usually for K-12 education and universities, in a given state. They are most commonly found in the American West. Trust Lands often allow dispersed camping, but their rules and regulations differ from other types of “public land.”
In Arizona, for example, accessing Trust Lands for day use or overnight stays requires the purchase of a yearly permit, which allows you to camp up to 15 nights each calendar year. Popular Arizona Trust Land camping areas include The Steps in Lake Havasu City, Wellton Canal near Yuma, and East 96 Ranch Road in Florence.
Knowing when you’re on Trust Lands has been a murky area, even for experienced boondockers, and getting caught without a permit in hand can get you in some trouble. Campendium’s new map overlay for Roadpass Pro Members makes finding Trust Lands a breeze—simply navigate the search map to anywhere in Arizona, click the “Land Type” icon, and check “AZ Trust.” Voila!
Here’s a bit more about Arizona’s Trust Lands, why you need a permit, and how to get one.
Why Do I Need a Permit?
For those of us who are used to accessing public lands without a permit (for example, most land managed by the BLM or the Forest Service), Trust Lands can be a bit of a mystery. What are they, and how do they differ from public lands?
For the answer, let’s turn to the Arizona State Land Department’s explanation:
Arizona State Trust lands are different than “public lands” which are common within State Parks and Federal lands. State Parks and Federal lands are managed for the benefit and use of the public, while Arizona State Trust lands are managed for the benefit of the 13 Trust beneficiaries. The Land Department’s Trust management responsibilities include requiring a permit or lease and charging a fee for the use of Trust land.
In other words, while public lands are managed for the benefit and use of the public, trust lands are managed for beneficiaries. In Arizona, those beneficiaries are K-12 public education, universities, and six other smaller groups, who were granted Trust Lands before Arizona became a state in 1912. For the most part, though, it benefits education. Buy your permit for the kids!
How to Get a Permit
Permits are available for four different user types: individuals, families, small groups, and large groups. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide which permit is right for you:
Individual Permits: These permits are for one person and are valid for a full year. The permit allows for unlimited day use on Trust Land and 14 cumulative days of camping in a calendar year. Buy yours here for $15.
Family Permits: These permits are for two adults and any children under the age of 18 in your household. Like the Individual Permit, they allow for unlimited day use on Trust Land and 14 cumulative days of camping in a calendar year. Buy yours here for $15.
Small Group Permits: These permits are for groups of 19 people or less and expire 5 days after the date of the small group’s gathering. Note that these permits require an application and recording of all the individuals’ names in the group. Apply here; the permit is $15.
Large Group Permits: These permits are for groups of 20 or more and require an application. The process is complex, and it may take up to 90 days for the state to approve or deny the permit. Applications require a non-refundable fee of $300. Learn more and apply here.
Thinking about skipping the permit? According to the Arizona State Land Department, failure to obtain a valid permit before entering Trust Land may result in criminal misdemeanor charges for trespassing. Note that not all Trust Land is open for recreation and/or camping, so be sure to follow any posted signs or notices.
Want to know more about Arizona State Trust Land permits? Head to the Arizona State Land Department’s list of FAQs.