- Changes Coming to the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area - 05/02/2021
- Dore Bietz - 01/27/2021
- Allyson Gunsallus - 11/02/2020
No More Unlimited Camping in the Alabama Hills
The Bishop Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office has been working to create a management plan since March of 2019 when the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act designated 18,745 acres of the Alabama Hills as a National Scenic Area.
The Alabama Hills, approximately 250 miles north of Los Angeles, is positioned in Owens Valley between the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west and the White and Inyo Mountains to the east. They are considered the gateway to Mt. Whitney (Too-man-i-goo-yah).
Payahuunadü, meaning land of flowing water, is the original Paiute name for what’s known today as the Owens Valley. Payahuunadü is home to the Paiute (Nüümü) and Shoshone (Newe) people.
The Nüümü lived in the region for thousands of years by stewarding the land and natural resources until they were forcefully removed. European settlers moved into the region: miners, ranchers and farmers with cattle. The City of Los Angeles began buying up massive swaths of land and water rights in the early 1900s.
BLM has stepped in with a comprehensive management plan for this area within Payahuunadü currently known for rock climbing, hiking, dispersed camping, hiking, off-roading, RVing and movie making.
“The Alabama Hills management plan is the culmination of focused work by dedicated BLM Bishop Field Office resource management professionals, built on wide-ranging and passionate public participation that included highly engaged local stakeholders from the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Inyo County and the Lone Pine community,” said Bishop Field Manager Steve Nelson.
Some important changes include:
- Camping will remain free, but permits will be required.
- There will be 50 designated campsites selected from the current 126 “disturbed areas” that campers use.
- Camping will be allowed for up to seven days in a 28-day period, and will be limited to 14 total days in a calendar year.
- There will only be five group camping sites where groups of three or more vehicles can set up.
- Permits will be needed for campfires.
- Campers will have to use restrooms or pack out all trash, human waste and toilet paper.
BLM will undertake an extensive, ongoing monitoring and inventory effort to determine the overall impacts of camping and other visitor uses. Traffic counters and on-site patrols will be implemented. In addition to recreation, the plan includes targeted actions designed to maintain and enhance the other resources and values of the Alabama Hills, including fuels treatments to help reduce the risk and spread of catastrophic wildland fires.
Further reading about the area:
- The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, https://thealabamahills.org/
- Friends of the Inyo, https://friendsoftheinyo.org/pf/alabama-hills/
- Bureau of Land Management, https://www.blm.gov/visit/alabama-hills-national-scenic-area