Saturday, September 30, 2023


Don’t leave a trace…

We’ve all seen it – the “remnants” from someone who camped in the “outback” before we arrived. Trash in fire rings, dog poop on trails, and the other usual suspects. One of the main reasons that RVers like to boondock is to get away from the ugly side of human civilization – and there it is, somebody rubs our nose in it.  Sometimes bad behavior is just that – a person with a nasty attitude. Other times it’s just a matter of education. How’s your campground courtesy knowledge?


Here are some tips that can make fellow campers (and park personnel) a lot happier:

Don’t trash: It may be “biodegradable” but it can take a long time for the bio to degrade. Even paper plates can take four months to disintegrate, but a plastic drinking bottle? Try 500 years – and some say they never go away.


How about burning the trash? Not only does the stuff stink, it doesn’t always burn up. Imagine being the next guy in your site, confronted with a lot of garbage to clean up.

If there aren’t any trash cans, then use the “Pack it in, Pack it out” philosophy.

Got a tenter in your group? Encourage them to put their tent up on a designated tent pad. Putting them on native vegetation can stunt or even kill the stuff.

Don’t invade someone’s personal space

Walking around the campground? Please don’t walk through somebody else’s site. Cutting across a site is nothing but disconcerting – it invades a personal space.

Heading out from your site? Stick to the established trails. “Pioneers” cutting a new path, like tents in the wrong place, kill vegetation.

You have an RV – use the bathroom there, or make the hike to the campground toilet. Whizzing in the woods (or worse) ain’t great in the eyes (and nose) of your next door neighbor.

The same holds true for Rover. Take a poop-collecting bag and follow up on your dog. Put the bag in the trash or tote it home with you.

The ethics of “leave no trace” make for a nicer time for everyone.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


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8 months ago

A few years ago we were in a Corps of Engr campground. A neighbor had a large dog which apparently only ate and – yeah! They left – they also left the mess all over the site! Unbelievable. I reported them to the ranger stn and they were banned from COE parks for, as I recall 5 years.

Also, like cig. butts, a little missed but highly noticed debris are the shells from sunflower seeds! Usually all around the campfire ring and area.

Douglas Sarmiento
8 months ago

Unfortunately there are more Nasties now then ever and you have your people who feel they are entitled, they paid to stay there or this is open land that I pay taxes for, I can do what I want! Let someone else clean it up.

8 months ago

I’ve been a member of a 4 Wheel Drive Club for over 50 years & our motto has been “Haul it in & Haul it out:. When we are on our Jeep Run I have an empty 50 lb. heavy duty mesh bag that oranges came in strapped to my spare tire that usually has more trash that I picked up than my own. Our Jeep Club has educated a lot of campers on how to be kind to our environment!

8 months ago

Love the “Why are you littering?” sign at the top. Probably a pile of garbage right under it.

We have a nice county park we like to camp at. Last Labor Day we went to hike one of the trails. At the start of the trail is a sign asking dog owners to pick up after their pet AND a dispenser full of doggie bags is right on the same post. Well…you guessed it…there’s a huge pile of dog poop right at the base of the sign! Pigs, plain and simple.

I think as a responsible dog owner who does pick up it boils my blood even more to see this bad behavior.

8 months ago

CFS – Can’t Fix Stupid

8 months ago

There is irony here. Most of the people that would read this article are the ones that don’t litter or go through life leaving a trail of %*@# behind them.

8 months ago

I’m a Park Host at a state park and see it all the time. There are a lot of great people that come to our parks and a few nasty ones. The “nasties” are the one’s that complain the most about the trash, dog poops, unclean fire rings, or any and everything. But they expect park personnel to clean up after them. “But that’s their job” they claim. No, it’s not, we have other duties that has to and needs to be done but can’t get to because we have to clean up after the “nasties”! There’s only 7 of us (at this park) we cover over 600 acres and do a great job but could do better it the nasties would do their part. Leave no trace!

Bob p
8 months ago

To many people own pets and refuse to think of picking up after their pet. We live in a resort park in central FL next to an open area not designated as a pet walking area and see irresponsible pet owners walking their dogs and not picking up after them so I can imagine people in areas of wildlife totally ignoring the rules. Some people are just LEACHES on life and will never be a contributor of civilization.

8 months ago

Well said! Leave nothing but footprints.

8 months ago
Reply to  Joeanco

A nice addition to that is. “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories”

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