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Leave No Trace: Camping With A Conscience

The weather is warming up as we come into summer in the southern hemisphere. It's the time of year where most of us are looking to take a little holiday or get out into nature. While traveling overseas isn't really an option at the moment there's plenty of places closer to home and it is the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy our beautiful corner of the planet by going camping with friends or family.

Even in our down time, doing our bit for the environment is important to a lot of us. Here are a few things we can all do to ensure we aren't damaging the beautiful areas which we camp and holiday in.

Before Leaving Home

  • Pack a vessel or bag for rubbish and a separate one for food scraps. To be able to leave the area as we found it, we need to take all of our rubbish with us - this includes any food scraps and organic matter too!
  • Research about the area and find out what Country it's on. Knowing the history and significance of the land to the Traditional Owners is an important step in respectfully enjoying this land where we live, work and play.
  • Check if there is a Total Fire Ban. There's nothing like kicking back around the campfire but when the conditions are dangerous it is important to know when we shouldn't be lighting fires. The local council or fire service website will have that info!
  • Make sure our tent pegs, tent and hiking boots are properly washed before we leave. It is important to wash all of the dirt/mud off your gear to manage the spread of root rot, a pathogen which destroys vegetation. Root rot cannot be removed once it has affected an area and is commonly spread by bushwalkers and campers.

While Camping

  • Camp in designated areas if available. These are usually set aside for use by campers so that they can be maintained and are close to amenities (if there are any). This avoids disturbing the other areas of the park or bush land, especially areas that have been designated revegetation zones. This includes collecting firewood in these areas.
  • Enjoy the sights but do not pick any wildflowers or take anything home. Part of leaving no trace means that we shouldn't be breaking vegetation or taking things like shells from where they belong. Take along a camera so you can enjoy a rare or beautiful flower.
  • Burning rubbish that should be properly disposed of can release harmful chemicals into the air and be detrimental to the nature around you, as well as your own health. Take all of your waste home with you and dispose of it properly.
  • Opt for solar powered-gear! Batteries have a harmful impact on the environment and are a hassle to deal with when they need replacing mid-camping trip. While it is best to pack thoughtfully and keep it simple, a few innovations like solar powered lights and lanterns are incredibly useful and worth the investment. Try one of these out.
  • Respect the wildlife. Do not touch or feed animals. When we're cooking, clean up properly as food scraps can be damaging to the health of native wildlife.

Camping with a conscience can help bring us closer to nature. It is extremely rewarding figuring out ways to connect and experience the outdoors without compromising it for future generations. It has great benefits for us too! "Camping delivers one of our fundamental needs for wellbeing – that of autonomy." according to Camping in the Forest (UK) ambassador Miriam Akhtar, "It gives us the freedom during our time off to be able to wake up and find our own adventures, without limits. This sense of freedom is rarely found in our daily lives, whether through work pressure or the chores at home."

Written by Briana Kennedy

Photo by Rawpixel on Shutterstock

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