Respect the Great Outdoors
Each summer, scores of families, friends and nature lovers embark on the quintessential, all-American vacation: camping. But as harmless as it sounds, camping can still have a noticeable environmental impact if it is done carelessly. When you set out to enjoy the great outdoors, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Stay on the right paths. Get good, established trail maps from the visitor center before you embark on your trip. Cutting switchbacks tramples vegetation and leads to soil erosion.
- Minimize your impact on your campsite. Select a site that has already been used, to eliminate further expansion of the camp. And leave the campsite in as natural a state as possible.
- Follow the Golden Rule for camping and hiking. "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints."
- Choose the right equipment.
Heavy, lug-soled boots can destroy fragile terrain. Consider wearing a
pair of light boots or well-cushioned running shoes whenever it is safe
and conditions permit.
- Don't litter. Pick up litter as you encounter it. Carry out or burn all of your own garbage.
- Wash yourself, your dishes and your clothes at least 100 feet away from rivers, streams, lakes or ponds. When using any soap to wash yourself or your dishes, use it well away from natural water sources and pour it into highly absorbent ground. That goes for tooth brushing, too.
During your camping trip, first check to make sure fires are permitted. Then, if you must build a fire, keep it small. Use only dead wood you find already on the ground and at the end of the evening, make sure your ashes are cool. Seek a park ranger's advice if you have any concerns or problems with building your fire.
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