The Most Shameful Campers of 2021
Camping on public lands is a great way to save a buck and enjoy nature. However, there are a few shameful campers who are ruining these spots for future generations. Too many are brushing off these actions, but they have real repercussions for the rest of us. Let’s take a look at the most shameful campers of 2021.
These Campers Ruin Free Camping for Everybody
Not everyone is a happy camper, but some are ruining it for the rest of us. Here are a handful of campers who aren’t following the rules or behaving themselves.
Campers Who Overstay Stay Limits
While public lands are open for anyone to use, there are some restrictions. For example, many of these public lands impose stay limits. Some of these restrictions will state how long a camper can stay and how far they must move once they reach the limit.
These limits exist to help avoid permanent campers setting up shop on public lands. Public lands become rundown and unsanitary when overused. The agencies managing these lands want to prevent seedy behavior and allow other campers the opportunity to enjoy the land.
But some campers are completely ignoring the stay limits. Instead, they’re setting up camp for an extended period and destroying the land. In April 2021, two Nevada counties, Washoe and Lyon, closed public lands to overnight camping. The closure was due to individuals violating the stay limit.
Campers Who Trash Our Public Lands
It seems like common sense to pick up after yourself while camping. It also seems reasonable to leave a campsite cleaner and in better condition than you found it. However, not everyone practices or respects public lands this way.
Mann Creek Campground in Idaho is typically open from mid-April to mid-September. However, the campground is closed for the foreseeable future as a result of vandalism and other damages. It seems some shameful campers used campground signage for target practice and left piles of trash. These have harmed the public lands and left the local authorities no choice but to close the park until they can clean up the area and develop a plan for the future.
Campers Who Abandon Vehicles and RVs
Not only are some campers trashing these lands, but they’re also abandoning vehicles and RVs there. Some of these vehicles may have broken down while camping, and it would cost more to tow them than the car is worth. These abandoned vehicles are often targets for arson, and other vandalism, which can cause massive forest fires that damage and destroy the land.
The Bureau of Land Management near Carson City, Nev., closed camping in Sun Valley and Mound House for this very reason. In addition, officials have to properly dispose of abandoned vehicles to protect the land from leaking fluids and potential fires.
Campers Who Party and Gather Illegally
There are proper procedures to host a party on public land. These procedures are there to ensure all attendees’ safety and the well-being of the land itself. In April 2021, a massive group of partiers took over a section of public land in Tonto National Forest. Authorities arrived to sort out the mess, but ultimately, the group left behind massive amounts of trash, damage, even raw sewage.
The Consequences We All Face Thanks to These Shameful Campers
It can be frustrating to read about campers abusing these precious lands. Unfortunately, when campers behave inappropriately, they’re not the only ones punished for their behavior. We all bear the brunt of the consequences of these shameful campers’ actions.
When public land gets abused, it’s only a matter of time before restrictions come down. These areas are protected and preserved. They provide opportunities for individuals and families to enjoy the wilderness. Unfortunately, the more common these occurrences become, the more restrictions and closures we’ll see in the future.
What You Can Do
We can’t control the actions of others, but we can control our actions. While others may leave trash behind, it doesn’t mean we will. Responsible campers can help right the wrongs of other campers. If you see trash on the ground, even if it doesn’t belong to you, pick it up.
Obey stay limits and be mindful of any restrictions that are unique to wherever you’re camping. Stay on the trails and out of any restricted or off-limits areas. Be aware of the stay limit and how far you should move once you’ve reached it. Doing your part can help ensure public lands remain open for years to come.
It seems like every week, we’re reading of another park (or parks) closing their gates or adding restrictions. These restrictions help protect the land and other campers. Many of these closures don’t have an end date because officials need to repair the damage done to the land. Have you ever encountered a closure like the ones we described here?
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