There’s a special kind of excitement about packing up to go camping. No television, no telephone ringing…just the sound of birds in the morning and the clean smell of the woods. That feeling can come to a screeching halt if when you arrive at your site you see remnants of the last city dweller who ventured out to the wild. Dirty cups, refuse, and other garbage can really put a damper on your camping vacation. Worse yet, the impact of this attitude can be deadly to animals and flora around you.
Green camping is an extension of your everyday commitment to living in an ecologically friendly way with the environment. Here are some steps you can take to camp the “Green Way.”
♦There is a popular mantra among campers… “Pack it in, pack it out.” Take out any litter that you find on your campsite and plan to leave the site cleaner than you found it. Leave nothing behind. When choosing a campsite, use an existing one to prevent impacting new areas. If there is a meadow in your vicinity don’t choose to set your tent up in that area—that’s a fragile environment.
♦Build campfires in designated rings only. You should never burn plastics or other toxic materials in campfires or leave campfires to burn out on their own unattended.
♦Be aware of anything you introduce to the outdoors that is not natural. Pack as many bio-degradable products as possible. Don’t use harsh detergents around your campground. Use Earth friendly dish detergent for dish washing. Don’t put any soap in streams, creeks or lakes – even biodegradable soaps are not good for fish downstream.
♦Aluminum foil is often found in fire pits because it won’t melt in the temperatures that are achieved in most camp fires. Avoid using foil paper and you’ll help to eliminate the harmful waste in the environment that is created by discarded aluminum foil. The same applies to beer cans – they don’t melt and are an ugly and harmful remnant to leave behind.
♦Don’t leave cars idling to charge cell phones and iPods. Bring solar chargers for these items and solar powered lights would be better than kerosene lamps too.
♦If you use disposable diapers for your children remember that they are not biodegradable and if they escape your camp area by accident they can be another harmful element for the environment and animals. Cloth diapers would be the best solution but if that isn’t an option please dispose of your child’s diapers carefully in an appropriate waste receptacle.
♦There is a misconception that chicken bones and other food remnants like corn cobbs will disappear quickly and safely into the environment. Some items like chicken bones can actually splinter and harm local wildlife. Again please discard all food items in appropriate receptacles.
Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your family in a simple, uncomplicated way. Green camping helps to ensure that we’ll have wonderful, clean camp grounds to enjoy for generations to come.
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