Minimize Your Impact When Camping
Each summer, nature lovers set out for the quintessential, all-American vacation: camping. As harmless as it sounds, camping can have a noticeable environmental impact if done carelessly. By observing the principles below, you help protect our backcountry resources for future generations:
Use designated roads and trails. Leave No Trace Inc., recommends traveling on durable surfaces such as rock or gravel. If hiking in a group, walk single file to avoid widening the trail. Hikers traveling off-trail cause damage to trailside vegetation, which leads to soil erosion.
Respect the Rights of Others
Select a campsite that has already been used to eliminate further expansion and leave it in its natural state. Do not build structures or dig trenches. Follow the Golden Rule of camping and hiking – “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.”
Avoid Sensitive Areas
Follow all signs and respect barriers. Meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams may be off- limits at certain times because wildlife are mating, nesting and raising their young. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in designated wilderness areas of the United States.
Do Your Part
Pack out what you pack in (trash and leftover food). For cooking, use a camp stove. They are preferable to a campfire in terms of impact on the land. If you do have a campfire, observe all fire restrictions and make sure your fire is completely extinguished. In areas without toilets, bury human waste in holes 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water sources. Pack out your toilet paper. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet from streams or lakes and after use, scatter it to filter through the soil. Detergents, soaps and toothpaste harm aquatic ecosystems.
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