Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Campground Litter and Pollution
Most campers make a good effort
not to litter, but pollution is a major problem! Many people do pollute
- not realizing that they are doing so. Please be aware that anything unnatural
that you introduce to the outdoors will have some impact.
Soap This includes dish soap, shampoo, and any other cleaner you may
use. Many people use Comet or other powdered cleansers around their campsite
to keep the ants away. These compounds contain bleach. When it rains, your
campsite vegetation will get a bath in bleach. This is not healthy for
your camping environment!
Water spigots are polluted regularly. these areas are for filling up
your water containers. These areas areas are not for dish washing, hair
rinsing, or dumping. Vegetation seeks out any source of water. Would you
water your own plants with a healthy dose of Dawn dish detergent?
Dirty dish water can contain all kinds of bacteria. Anything you dump
from your dish drainer can contaminate the surrounding area. Please dump
your dish water into a drain or a pit toilet!
Other Chemicals Chemical toilets and RV's use special chemicals to dissolve the waste. These chemicals are not meant to prepare your sludge for public toilets! Gray water and black water should be dumped in the appropriate
places - at a dumping facility! These wastes will clog most public bathrooms
and actually erode pumping equipment used to empty pit toilets. If you
put the toilets out of order in your camping area you may make a lot of
people angry - as well as finding yourself with a large fine. Please use
the camping facilities wisely!
Be kind to the environment and select an Earth friendly dish detergent
especially when camping if you can.
Everyone knows that litter is
a bad thing, but it doesn't seem to help much in some areas!
When you go camping please keep
in mind that the following items do not bio-degrade easily!
Cigarette Butts These are found everywhere. I don't dislike smokers -
despite the terrible smells that emanate from their campsites, but please
dispose of your butts correctly. Cigarette buttts are made of fiberglass
- and they will not decompose. Make sure your cigarette is completely out
- if you cause a forest fire, you get the bill for putting it out! Many
fires are caused by cigarettes added to a dumpster. Please dispose
of your cigarette butts - but do it with care!
Styrofoam This is another chemical compound that will not decompose.
Please do not try to burn styrofoam in your camp fire. Styrofoam is toxic
when inhaled and could cause damage to your lungs. People have died while
melting styrofoam in an inclosed space. If it can kill you under certain
circumstances - it should be left alone and not burned. Better yet, don't
buy styrofoam products at all. They are not good for the environment.
Aluminum Foil this is an item you will find in almost every fire pit
you see. This stuff doesn't burn or melt at the temperatures you will achieve
with your camp fire. This includes aluminum cans - beer cans do not burn.
(This may seem obvious - but after shoveling out hundreds of fire pits
- I sure hope that there a lot of people who are not aware of this fact)
Aluminum foil can be recycled at many recycling centers. Leaving it in
your fire pit is the same as throwing away money.
Another thing you may not know about aluminum cans is that they have a
serial number on the bottom of the can. The serial numbers are sequential.
If you toss a beer can outside of your vehicle or in your campsite - you can be caught! All a park ranger has to do is match the serial number from the beer in your hand or car to a can found on the roadway or campsite. If the serial numbers match - you'll get one heck of a big ticket!
Diapers Diapers are not biodegradable and nobody but you should have
to touch them. You may feel comfortable handling dirty diapers - but why
should your campground hosts or fellow campers have to handle this waste? Please dispose of dirty diapers on your own in an appropriate waste receptacle. (This is not a fire pit or a toilet - use a trash can please!) Also, dirty diapers attract wasps and bees - if you don't want to be stung, pitch 'em immediately!
Food Although you may not find leaving food items in your campsite 'litter'
- others may. Corn cobbs do not disappear overnight and neither do chicken
bones. Some food items left behind can actually cause damage to the local
wildlife. Chicken bones will splinter and can cause distress or death in
local wildlife. Food left behind attracts insects - stinging ones. When
I was a park employee, we would often be forced to douse a fire pit full
of garbage with gasoline and light it. This was the only way to clear the
fire pits of wasps so we could remove the debre people had left behind.
Paper is a terrible litter problem found in most parks. Many people decide
to clean out their glove box or purse while camping (I can't guess why).
About one quarter of the paper I picked up while working in the parks had
either a credit card number on it or a name. A creative person wouldn't have much trouble shopping at your expense! If a ranger walks up to you
with a handful of litter with your name on it - you could have an expensive problem! Be smart and leave your parks clean.
Most people know the basic rule
of camping. Leave your site cleaner than you found it.
I understand that camping fees have gotten out of hand in many
places - but I assure you that the employees who will clean your campsite
are not benefiting from these cost increases. If you don't like the fees, contact your local Congress person or write a letter to the park - don't take it out in trade!
Please help keep our parks clean!