Some people like to spend their vacations in a luxurious spa with the AC blasting, a never ending buffet, and a chlorinated pool they never step into but instead just lie around. That’s good and fine, but many of us prefer a more back to nature approach to vacation, like camping. The experience of a good camping trip is incomparable. Going to sleep under the stars and waking up to birds chirping and fresh air makes you really appreciate nature.
But appreciating nature doesn’t give campers a free pass to disrespect it. A lot of times when people go camping they forget that they are not the only things living there. When camping, it is important to be sustainable and limit your impact. We need to respect nature if we want future generations to be able to experience it.
Here are some suggestions for limiting your impact while camping:
– Do Not Feed the Bears, or any other wildlife for that matter. Follow the campgrounds/campsites guidelines for safe food storage. Not only can feeding wild animals bring danger to humans but animals stomachs are not designed for a bag of extra spicy cheetos or cool ranch Doritos.
– Bring refillable water bottles. Instead of bringing dozens of plastic single serving bottles opt for reusable bottles and a large container of water to refill your bottles with.
– Use Reusable Utensils. Don’t rely on paper plates and plastic solo cups, bring your plates from home and wash them with biodegradable soap. Most campsites have “take out what you take in” policies, so bringing reusable supplies won’t require extra work.
– Stick to the Paths. Not only is it safer for your ankles to stick to the pre-designated paths but walking off the path can cause erosion. There is nothing lame about bringing a map!
– Use a Tent Made From More Sustainable Materials. Purchase a tent that is less toxic and made PVC and Solvent Free with poles made from recyclable aluminum. When buying accessories look for products with a low carbon footprint.
– Be Thoughtful About Where You Poop. If you are staying at a campsite/campground without bathrooms, choose a ‘business’ site at least 200 feet from your campsite and water sources. Dig a 6 inch cat hole. When done, cover it.
– Do Not Take Souvenirs. Leave the flowers to pollinate and the berries for the birds.
– Let It Burn, Controlled. Minimize campfire impacts by avoiding bonfires. Use pre existing fires pits when available, or create a low impact fire mount. Remember that “only you can prevent forest fires, so make sure your fire is out before you leave.