Are You a Good Camping Neighbor?
There are a number of unwritten rules in the camping and hiking world that a lot of people don't know about until they get a little bit of experience under their belt. While spending time in the great outdoors is a great way to experience freedom or get close to nature, it's also important to be responsible and respectful of the environment and others. Let's take a look at some basic things that we should all be mindful of whenever we head out and set up camp.
Clean Your Site
A good general rule of thumb to follow is to leave your site in better shape than it was when you arrived. Remove trash, properly dispose of waste, don't intentionally damage the surrounding environment and make sure that power, water or gas hookups are secure before driving off. It's also important to keep your site clean while you're there as well. This will help to minimize attracting unwanted pests or critters as well as reducing the risk of animals getting eating or getting snared in things like wrappers and other small objects. It's also the courteous thing to do out of respect for your camping neighbors.
Keep Noise Down
Things like loud music or drunken, late-night parties can be incredibly-disruptive to those who are looking for some peace and quiet. Most people don't go camping or hiking to listen to others, they want to hear and be surrounded by nature in all of its glory. Be respectful of neighbors, and try to tone things down as others settle in for the night.
Put Out Fires
Far too many people leave their site before making sure that fires have been fully-extinguished. It's really easy to wait until the last minute to pack up and head out, and unfortunately, many fires end up left unattended as they continue to smolder. Break up hot embers, spread them out, cover with dirt and water and repeat until all of the hotspots are gone. Never assume that a fire will go out on its own, and always remember that many wildfires are caused by a spark from the remnants of an unattended campfire.
Try to avoid encroaching onto other peoples sites, and don't cut through them on the way to your own. Keep your pets on a leash and don't allow them to wander free. Respect other people's privacy and space, and don't be shy to ask others to extend you the same courtesy. Being a good neighbor helps everyone to have an enjoyable time, especially when sites are crowded, and chances are that you'll make some friends along the way as a result.
Leave Extra Wood Behind
If you don't use all of your wood, and you don't need it for your next stop, leave it behind so others can have something to start with. If you've ever arrived at a site that had some wood left behind, then you already know how this little gesture can be a pleasant surprise, and it's always nice when we can pay it forward.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a good place to start. Be a good neighbor, follow the golden rule, and this will help everyone to be able to enjoy their time in nature to the fullest.