The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette® ran a fun and poignant article today, by Don Hopey, about a Pennsylvania state program to educate campers about some of the common mistakes that have a negative impact on the environment. It’s a timely reminder, given that visits to our parks are up this year and we have a lot of new and inexperienced campers who may not realize that it’s not okay to cut limbs off a tree for firewood or roasting sticks and foil doesn’t burn in the campfire.
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources should be commended for a creative program that places an example “demonstration campsite” at the entrance to one of the state campgrounds. There is no better way to get the attention of outdoor-minded folks than a hands-on demonstration of cool gear and the DCNR doesn’t disappoint, with a tent and sleeping bag made from recycled material, solar battery chargers, non-toxic bug repellent and other low-impact gear.
“We hope that after seeing the demonstration, visitors to our campgrounds will practice at least one of the techniques during their stay and share their experiences with others,” said Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck.
That’s the real beauty behind this program. Even if someone has no interest in leave no trace principles, they’ll still come to see the cool gear and it’s likely that while they’re experiencing the cool gear a bit of the larger message might just stick with them. Call it low-impact education.
Green all the way, if more companys and people all kicked in and follwed the same pratices this could turn around a lot quicker
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VDF – thanks much and campingforums.com is looking great, too!
VE – sometimes I feel like CSI when I’m picking up bottle caps around the campsite 🙂
Jenn – that’s awesome! I think demonstrations and examples are a great way to educate people.
Great post Roy. Thanks! I sent it to the Naturalist at the school I work at…he was excited about the demonstration green campsite. We have a lower school camp-out on campus on Oct 2 and are going to call an Outdoor oriented business that is close by and ask if they would come set up a similar demo site and talk to our young campers and families about these new products. It is a well attended event and a good educational opportunity.
Of course the original group to aspire to the principals of “leave no trace” were….criminals!
I’m really digging all the great info that you’re putting out on the web helping the new camper as well as the experienced remember the important things about camping! This is a great site and your are doing a fab job! Thanks for letting me share.