MOST OF YOU KNOW about the 14-day dispersed camping regulations in areas managed by the US Forest Service and by the Bureau of Land Management. (The limit is a little longer in some areas and a little shorter in a few others.) And most of you know about the Long Term Visitor Areas operated by the BLM where you can stay months at a time, usually from September to March.

There’s another option that allows you to camp longer than the 14-day limit at campgrounds along the magnificent Eastern Sierras. Here’s the BLM explanation (my emphasis added):

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved a long-term camping permit program for developed campgrounds in the Eastern Sierra. Under the program, visitors may purchase recreation use permits, which allow camping beyond the established 14 day stay limit for campgrounds managed by the Bishop Field Office. Long-term permits are now available for camping within the Tuttle Creek, Goodale Creek, Horton Creek, and Pleasant Valley Pit campgrounds in Inyo County, and the Crowley Lake Campground in Mono County.

According to BLM outdoor recreation planner Sara Manley, “Area visitors have several options for camping in these campgrounds. Daily permits continue to be available to short-term visitors. Those interested in long-term camping have the option of purchasing either a 30-day or 90-day permit.”

Under the approved permit program visitors can camp for up to 180 days per year within BLM campgrounds in the Eastern Sierra. Long-term permit holders may camp in any campsite designated as available for long-term camping in these campgrounds. A long-term permit also allows visitors to camp for up to 30 consecutive days in any of these campgrounds.

…Permits may be purchased Mondays between 8 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., at the Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop. You can pay with a credit card, check or cash (exact change only). The fee for a 30-day permit is $120. Interagency Senior Pass and Interagency Access Pass holders will receive a discount on 30-day permits. For further information regarding camping opportunities on public lands in the Eastern Sierra, please contact the Bishop Field Office at (760) 872-5000.

To reiterate, the permits are for the five campgrounds listed, which are in the area between Lone Pine and Mammoth Lakes, California, between US-395 and the mountains. Dispersed camping, which is available many places along the Eastern Sierras, is not part of this permit plan, and the usual 14-day limit applies there. Furthermore, although some people have called this a summer LTVA program, it’s not just for summer, and it’s not like an LTVA.

The Eastern Sierras are beautiful and dramatic with lots of recreation opportunities. Camping is a high-demand commodity in the area, so there might not always be open sites at these campgrounds—unlike at an LTVA where you can usually find someplace to squeeze in. The information above doesn’t say whether campsites are reservable. The Bishop Field Office would be able to answer that question and any others.