Proper Care of Campsites & Natural Areas

Campsites and Natural Areas

To minimize environmental impact on campsites and natural areas, the following procedures must be followed on all away-from-camp trips:

·         DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY: This involves routine inspections of your campsite for any trash or food items left behind.

·         LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND: This mainly pertains to nature hikes or the exploration of areas outside of the campsite. Do your best to stay on the pre-constructed hiking trails in order to minimize the disturbance of the surrounding wilderness. Do not collect rocks, plants or other natural objects while hiking as this will disturb the natural setting of the area.

·         MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS: The light and smoke pollution generated by campfires can have a drastic effect on the surrounding area as well as the campers around you. When using a campfire, make sure that it is contained in a fire ring to reduce the risk of the fire spreading. Keep your fires small by utilizing only smaller sticks and branches that can easily be broken with your hands. And lastly, once the fire has burned out, allow the ashes to cool and then spread them out to minimize the effect of the fire on the area floor. This must be done before leaving the campsite.

·         RESPECT WILDLIFE: Although it can be exciting to see wildlife on your trip, it is important that the animals are treated with respect. Never approach an animal that you come across while camping — keep a safe distance and allow the animal to carry on their normal activities. Along this same note, you should never feed animals, either by hand or by leaving food out for them to eat. This will change their natural behaviors of foraging for food and can create health problems for the animals.

·         BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER VISITORS: Especially when camping around others, keep noises and voices at an appropriate level, and be courteous at all times. When hiking, always yield to other hikers by giving them the right of way and make sure that when you stop to rest, you do it in designated areas so not to disrupt hikers who may be passing through.

·         PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE: Always prepare for inclement weather and any other situations that might manifest while hiking outside of the designated camping areas. Be knowledgeable of your surroundings and always pack enough water to anticipate any potential problems.

·         TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES: Utilize existing hiking trails when exploring the area, to minimize damage done by foot traffic through the woods. Keep your campsite small — less is more when setting up a campsite and there is no need to sprawl your gear across a large area.