Come on, keep it clean out there when camping

Come on, keep it clean out there when camping

By Dave and Lillian Brummet
Admit it. When the sun is out and you are at your favorite campsite on the lake the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time cooking a meal. Often, when vacationing, the lure to purchase instant foods is strong. Unfortunately, these convenience foods often come over-packaged, usually including some type of plastic.

As we can see when we come across trash in the wilderness, the plastics tend to linger the longest, along with glass and metal. Nothing ruins the feel of a pristine, natural area more than a bunch of garbage. Many studies prove that tourists return to an area primarily for its cleanliness and greenery. In this era where the economy has come to rely more on tourism, cleaning up is truly a benefit for the community.

WE SOON REALIZED that walking by these messes and complaining over such disrespect, we were behaving not much better than the polluters who left it. Now when we hike we pack a supply of plastic bags (grocery bags work well) to clean up as we go. Often we earn up to $10 in returnable bottles and cans in the process. When you take a bit of time to clean up some trash not only do you have a better trail or beach to come back to, you have helped to make it safer and nicer for the next user. This simple measure just might influence others to keep it clean, as well.

When on the water with the canoe we also clean as we go by diving for garbage below the surface using a mask and snorkel. It is amazing the finds we have from these excursions underwater. One of the first times we did this, we found an expensive diving mask in about 30 feet of water – enough incentive to continue this practice! We have found antique bottles, jewelry, and fishing lures and reels.

It feels very good to clear up a beach of shards of broken glass hiding just below the surface before an unwary swimmer splashes into it. It does not, however, feel as good to find a large fish hook by embedding it in the bottom of your foot. Take heart in knowing you have done a good thing as your expletive echoes off the far mountainside. Imagine an innocent child stepping on that hook instead of you and decide if it is worth taking the time.

Dave and Lillian Brummet are the authors of the book “Trash Talk–Book 2: It’s Easy to Be Green” which offers useful solutions for the individual to reduce waste and better manage resources as a guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment.

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11 thoughts on “Come on, keep it clean out there when camping

  1. J

    I’m a camper and not a full time RV-er. I was taught to always leave your campsite cleaner than you got it.

  2. tusonbird

    I can’t believe how many people have a “not my job” attitude. Of course it’s not your or my “job” to pick up after others but there will always be inconsiderate slobs amongst us and I’d rather live with a clean and tidy area rather than complain about the mess. Besides, bending over and picking stuff up is good exercise!

  3. Terry

    Leave your site cleaner than when you arrived, was the campers’ motto from tent days. Kudos to you both for making the effort and trying for treasures.

  4. Cheryl

    While I have been an environmentalist most of my adult life and I do tend to pick up around my RV site when I first arrive, but it does not give me peace. I already pay for a play ground that we never use, a swimming pool we never use, games rooms we never use and showers we never use. So please try & appreciate my feelings when I say that I feel I should NOT have to pick up around an RV park where I am paying stay. I am sure no one would accept paying for a hotel room where you have to sweep the front entrance, or pick up cigarette butts in the area. Nor would anyone accept bottles or cans laying around in the halls. With most park rates running around $30-$65 per night, I would like to have a clean RV site & park when I get there. Maybe more work campers are needed. I know it would make people like me happy and I know plenty of RV folks who love more work camper positions to be available.

  5. nikki harnish

    The mindset of picking up litter has to be one of peacefulness and ‘ain’t nature grand’ -ness. As soon as I start feeling resentful, the whole endeavor turns sour. I love a clean camp, and it’s usually easier to pick up litter than it is to look at it.

  6. Rey Lavallle

    This is B.S. ! I get their point about cleaning up, but don’t put it on the “victims”, namely…us. Put it where it squarely belongs, on the dirtbags who litter, etc. (JMO)

    1. J

      I agree. If people are too lazy to pickup there trash why should I have too pick it up for them?

      1. Bob Julich

        The reasons to beautify a filthy campsite are numerous. Mostly, having to look at it while at the site is beyond hideous. Folks who litter are more likely do so if the site looks like a trash bin.
        We have often left a sign at our campsite which says:
        “Much time was spent cleaning up this site just for you. You can make it better or worse. What is your legacy?”

      2. Terry

        You don’t HAVE to…

  7. Mr. Q

    Let no one say it or say it to your shame—all was beauty here before you came.

  8. Roger

    Spot on. Most just complain and keep on walking. They then nearly sprain an elbow patting themselves on the back noting how they’d never leave stuff behind. You’re actually doing something to improve things. Good job.

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