By Harold BaldwinCamping can have a high impact on the environment if not done responsibly. Think of hundreds or thousand of campers descending on an area, trampling the plants, camping everywhere, leaving human waste, garbage, visible campfire remains everywhere, and more. Unfortunately it happens.
Camping can and should be done responsible, minimizing the effects on the environment. Here are a few tips to help.
Obviously planning is important. This includes where you'll be camping, what you'll be bringing, how it will be packaged, and more.
Although it's neat to make your own trail and pick your own campsite, and it is appropriate at some times and in some places, in general it's not. You want to reuse premade or already used campsites and use trails that are already there. Obviously you want to carry out anything you carry in. Cleaning supplies, if any, like soap, must be biodegradable. Many appropriate products are available.
Campfires are great, but do cause damage, including possible wildfires. Be careful. Make sure fires are allowable and in general use established fire spots. Make sure your campfire is totally out before leaving!
Leave wildlife wild. Do not feed any wildlife, including birds and small rodents and certainly not bears or anything else. Do not molest the wildlife. Chasing deer or other animals is simply not appropriate. Enjoy the wildlife - from a distance!
Also remember you may not be alone. You may be sharing the environment with other humans. They may not appreciate your group drinking Tequila until 4AM and hooting and hollering, although in some locations that may be OK.
Camping should have a low impact on the environment and with a little effort it is. It doesn't matter if you are a city slicker out for your first night, or a seasoned cowboy or cowgirl, camp responsibly.
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