By Greg Illes
We’ve all rolled into a campsite and found trash lying around. Cans and bottles and candy wrappers are the usual offenses, but we’ve seen others as well. A short walk usually produces more, some plastic bags maybe, or a pile of cigarette filters where someone emptied an ashtray. Bottles and cans in the fire ring are a common sight. Like they’re going to burn?
Out in the woods, the offending items are almost always toilet paper. The wind and rain take care of human waste reasonably quickly, but the TP seems to last forever.
After years of such visual abuse, my wife and I started an impromptu ritual — when we first walk the camp, we do it with a plastic bag and disposable gloves. It never takes us more than five to ten minutes to pick up after our thoughtless predecessors. When we finish, we have a neat, tidy camp and a couple of bags of trash to either take to the camp trash bin, or carry out back to civilization.
We don’t particularly like the janitorial duty, but we really enjoy having a clean campsite. We also believe that a little bit of trash begets more. Maybe the dunderheads who leave their trash lying about will be less inclined to litter when there’s no litter there in the first place.
The net result is that we often leave a campsite cleaner than when we entered it. If we all jump on this bandwagon, there will be a LOT of clean campsites out there. And that will make for a better experience for us all.
photo: public domain