With the warmer weather sitting in, will Bozeman see an increase in "Urban Campers"? That's the question several locals have and many feel the question is going unanswered.

It's not a secret that the topic of "Urban Camping" is a subject that divides the community. Many feel that those living on the streets in RVs or vehicles have to have someplace to stay, while others feel that it's not only an eyesore, but increases crime in Bozeman and the surrounding areas.

In this case, both may be true.

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Like any sensitive subject, there isn't a black-or-white answer. The truth is that several of these folks are trying to make ends meet the best way they can. Rent is expensive in Bozeman and some of these folks can't afford it even though they have jobs. In other cases, some of these folks are taking advantage of the situation and participating in illegal activities that most residents wouldn't approve of if they knew all the facts.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

While I'm not sure that the warmer weather brings more "campers" to the area, they are popping up at different places around the city.

There are rules in place such as moving after so many days as well as not being allowed to be so many feet from a school or business, however, some feel that's not enough and are demanding that local leaders do more.

Social pages such as the popular "The Real Ask Bozeman" are filled with complaints from people who've had enough of the situation and while those pages can be a place for anonymous folks to leave hateful comments from the safety of their homes, many bring up a valid point.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

Do our city leaders need to do more? If so, what should they do?

Meetings have taken place and folks have shown up to voice their opinions, however, in the end, they feel that nothing has changed. Crime continues to happen, trash continues to pile up, and there are even pictures of buckets of human waste sitting around some of these sites circulating on social media.

I've heard it suggested that the city needs to designate one area where the campers can live with facilities provided, however, that becomes a question of where and at what cost. One thing is for sure, it doesn't seem like the problem is going away anytime soon.

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