EXPLAINER: Unlawful tenting in Jackson


JACKSON, Wyo – Over a ten-day period from July 11-22, the Jackson Police Department (JPD) filed 27 illegal camping charges, according to JPD press logs.

In the summer, police raise more calls than usual about illegal camping on city streets and in local parks, as it can be a more viable housing option for temporary summer residents.

However, the Jackson Municipal Code 09.52.090 is not so kind to those wishing to spend the night in their car within the city limits.

In fact, this code prohibits camping on city streets, city parking lots, and public parking garages within city limits. It also levies a hefty $350 fine on those found violating the code.

The section of the Code entitled Camping on Public Property states the following:

A. It is unlawful for any person to camp on public land within the city

B. It is unlawful for any person to camp on public land within the city

C. Individuals may camp or camp on public property under the following circumstances:

  1. With special permission for events
  2. With the approval of the municipal council
  3. With a permit issued under the City’s Land Development Ordinance.

According to the City of Jackson’s website, “Visitors are encouraged to make reservations well in advance of their trip at private campgrounds or to camp at a designated campground on public lands outside of city limits (e.g., Forest Service, national parks, BLM, etc.).”

“For those who make a living from their vehicles, the good news is that about 97% of Teton County is considered public land, which offers an abundance of space for camping,” the city says.

In these areas, individuals can enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing they won’t be greeted in the morning with an unwanted subpoena or worse, an unwanted fine.