Grand County Trails: Too many don’t follow proper camping etiquette |

Grand County Trails: Too many don’t follow proper camping etiquette

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
Being a courtesy camper starts with having respect for your neighbors and following the established campground rules.
Eli Pace /

The monsoon is here and the hoards of people escaping the heat of the cities have descended upon us this summer. Some we welcomed with open arms because they spent their money in our businesses or volunteered to help maintain our trails because they love the trails as much as we do. Some know how to be considerate and some not so much.

Dan Leeth recently wrote a special to the Denver Post entitled “Campground Courtesy” that highlighted a few tips on how being considerate improves the outdoor experience for everyone.

I wish we could spread the word on this important concept because it can make or break a fun weekend. Don’t you be the one that apparently feels civility does not apply to you. To paraphrase his words:

• Set up camp quietly — Use calm indoor voices everyone. No need to shout directions to park the trailer or look for tent stakes. People may be trying to sleep, read, or just enjoy quiet time in the woods.

• Watch the language — Most campgrounds, whether in an established area or dispersed camping, are family-oriented and filled with people of all ages trying to enjoy quality time together. No need for the profanities that make you sound like a bit of a degenerate even if such profanity is becoming somewhat the norm. It is still offensive to many people and not needed in public.

Respect space — A campsite becomes your area while you are there. There is no need to walk thru someone else’s campsite just to get to some place beyond. The favorite scenario is when you have the campsite near the bathroom and someone feels it is OK to walk between your tent and picnic table to get to the bathroom five seconds earlier. Please, just walk around.

Follow the rules — Rules are posted to help everyone get along. Usually, these rules refer to things that are really no-brainers, such as please don’t wash your dishes, clothes or dog in the bathroom sinks. Don’t wash your hair at the potable water pump. Please, keep quiet during quiet hours. Keep food out of your tent and grey water off the lawn.

Minimize generator noise — Industrial-strength generators can wake up the whole campground. Please, check out the quieter units and try to run the unit only during posted generator hours or use solar panels when possible or good old-fashion batteries. The best idea is go to bed when the sun goes down.

Tone down the speakers — How often have you been kept up on Saturday night party night listening to the blaring sounds of rock ‘n’ roll or heavy metal when you were trying to get enough rest for that long hike to the summit in the morning? We each have things to accomplish when we go camping and don’t always agree how to get there. But either invite all of us to the party and supply the beer and treats, or keep your noise on your own campsite.

Tone down the lights — Some people just love the darkness to look at the stars. Many can do with a single lantern or small campfire. Others like fires that throw their light and smoke many sites away or they want to string lights around their trailer or campsite area and feel like they are back in the city, I guess. It’s bad to burn lights all evening, and don’t forget to put out your fire or turn off your lights when you head to bed.

Clean up after yourself — Remember the things you don’t want to find when you arrive – trash in the campfire pit, wrappers or discarded bottles in the showers, rings in the bathroom sinks, a bag of stinky trash that didn’t make it to the dumpster. Don’t leave things like that for the next camper or you are just as bad as the one before.

Leave No Trace helps preserve the forest for the hoards that come out every summer. Please do what you can to preserve our little piece of heaven.

Try to get along with your fellow campers. Remember your space ends where theirs begins. And my pet peeve, take that plastic bag with you that you carefully filled with your dog’s poop and don’t leave it lay on the ground next to some post.

It would be better to kick or otherwise push the poop way off the trail so it can decompose naturally rather than put it in a bag where it might sit for months. The trash man does not do pickups in the wilderness!

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