Free camping 101: 3 ways to get free camping at Ivy League institutions

May 25, 2018

If you are anything like me then you are getting ready to amp up your camping game for the season and are already airing your military surplus Army tent for endless endeavors. If you're also like me then you are miserable at the aspect of having to go to a crowded over priced public camping ground in which to partake of these endeavors.

In the past we have discussed ways to camp for free at certain public grounds, (at horseman's camps for instance), but there are other places of camping bliss that involve solitude within the wilderness; something that's hard to come by unless you are independently wealthy and able to secure your own land, or are able to travel to remote and exotic places.

However, the good news is that there is a place that is both private and remote, and it is available in every single state in the Union as well as in most foreign countries. I'm talking about research areas available to local universities.

Ecology research is valuable to all institutions of higher education, and almost all universities have donated and privately owned wilderness areas where natural sciences can be studied and observed by students. These areas are generally untapped wilderness refuges that are only frequented while school is in session and experiments are being conducted. Here then are three ways to get permission to camp in these areas.

1. Contribute to research. As I stated before, there are lots of experiments going on at ecology research centers at all times. Volunteering to help build fence, clear brush, etc... will go a long way towards gaining access.

2. Conduct research yourself.One of the ways I got permission to go onto an ERC from a local university was to undertake a project documenting crows. Not only did I film and journal the habits of crows, I also got lots of footages of local wildlife that I shared with the curator. Independent research is still research, and most institutions will support it.

3. Offer a needed service. One way I got permission at an ERC once was to offer to document pest damage while I was camping. Being able to video the local deer population destroying time consuming experiments resulted in being able to make a viable argument to the local Department of Natural Resources to secure nuisance permits for removal.

Please Wait... processing