Of the many attractions the brief summer months offer in Canada, camping definitely tops the list. Many spacious parks and camping sites are already advertising fall fun, whether you plan to drive to camping grounds, or want to soak up the true colors of autumn with backcountry camping via canoeing, ranger cabins, or backpacking. Whatever mode you choose, it is best to remember some camping etiquette to ensure everybody has an equally good time outdoors.
Needless to say, the biggest concern during camping is to build and put out campfires safely. Many camping sites disallow the pre-purchase of firewood as invasive species can threaten the flora of parks and campgrounds. Another no-brainer is to never leave the fire unattended or kids unsupervised. It’s a good idea to have a bucket of water handy in case the fire was not extinguished properly.
An unspoken courtesy to fellow campers is to not stroll through their sites to avoid disrupting their privacy, even though it might save you some time and distance to get to basic facilities like washrooms.
It’s acceptable to listen to the radio if the volume doesn’t disturb your neighbours; as well, if you are awake late into the night to have extended fun around the campfire, keep your voices down. People in your vicinity may be sleeping. Anyway, wasn’t camping meant to savour some peace and quiet by way of a natural connection with nature?
When we load up our backpacks and lock our homes to head to a campsite, it is easy to forget that we are leaving our homes to enter those of the wildlife that lived there much before us. Hence, it is our moral obligation to respect the natural habitat of wild animals while defending our safety and personal security in their midst. It’s common knowledge not to feed wildlife in campsites as it will attract more unwanted visitors besides being detrimental to their health.
Last but not the least, make sure to clean up your campsite completely before departure. There are plenty of garbage and recycling bins to dispose of your trash. Think how you would feel if somebody before you left heaps of refuse for you to clean straight upon arrival. Your experience was good because you felt in the arms of nature the minute you arrived at your campsite. Let the spiritual healing begin for the guests who come after you!
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.