Responsible Camping

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My personal story includes going from a full-fledged city boy to spending my time playing and working in the outdoors. As such, camping has been a huge part of my life over the last decade or so. And as a nature lover, I enjoy camping as being in a tent is as close to nature as you can possibly get. However, from my experiences, there are still many that take these natural spaces for granted. Often times we still see scars left behind from other campers, whether they’re empty beer cans left behind, floating plastic in the ocean, or a smoking fire pit dug out into the beach. As a kayak guide, I’d see evidence of these kind of impacts all of the time. Out in Northern Vancouver Island where I worked, the land and the sea were as wild as you get. Black bears and cougars roamed the forests, while Killer Whales and Humpbacks inhabited the deep ocean. Despite it all, traces of man were still visibly noticeable.

So given camping is all about being out in nature and feeling closely connected to it, how can we camp in a manner that allows us to enjoy nature’s splendor without wrecking it? Well, we have three words for you: Leave. No. Trace.

Leave no trace camping is the philosophy of ensuring that when we camp, the only thing we leave behind are our footprints. It means taking the time to plan ahead and thinking about how you’re going to dispose of waste. It means understanding that the natural spaces we camp in are occupied by other people as well as wild animals. It means purchasing products, such as soaps, that do not pollute the environment. And certainly it means that we keep campsites pristine for future generations.

The leave no trace philosophy to camping is more than just taking out your trash with you when you leave. Leave No Trace Canada, a non-profit dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation offers seven core principles to consider. They are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.

  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

  • Dispose of waste properly.

  • Leave what you find (in regards to artifacts, plants or structures).

  • Minimize campfire impacts.

  • Respect wildlife.

  • Be considerate of others.

I recommend visiting the Leave No Trace Canada website for a more detailed look at their core principles: http://www.leavenotrace.ca/principles

Some of the best experiences I’ve ever had were just steps away from my tent. From the sights of endless mountains to the sounds of Lions roaring through the night, camping truly has the ability to inspire. So go out there and get camping! And as it’s often said: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”