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Like a bear, you can camp in the woods

It's finally camping season again! I have been looking at all the campgrounds in the Southern Oregon area and there are some good options, but they seem to be pretty busy. I would like a little bit more of a secluded camping experience, is it legal to pitch my tent anywhere in the forest?

— Holly V., Ashland

As native Oregonians, which we are 99 percent certain you are not, we are a little baffled by your question, Holly. The answer is a resounding, "Yes, it is legal to camp outside of campgrounds!"

Of course, you can't just camp anywhere trees grow en masse.

Before you pitch your tent, make sure that the land you're on is not privately owned. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service own millions of acres of forestlands in Oregon, and the vast majority is open to the public for recreational pleasures, including camping.

There are National Forest and BLM-owned areas that are off-limits to camping and public use, but those areas will be marked, either with signs or on a map.

Also, make certain you don't leave waste behind and obey current fire regulations.

With miles of logging roads and trails winding through Southern Oregon's backcountry, we are certain you can find a spot to call your own.

Oh, take a map.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.