Saturday, September 30, 2023


Letter to the editor: Children’s chalk art is ruining the campground!

We received this email from reader JXS and thought we’d share it with you. Read it, then please let us know your thoughts. Thanks!

Every once in a while you just scratch your head and say to yourself “WHY?”

Such was the case when we stayed at a very nice RV park with concrete pads and recently re-paved driveways. This was indeed a 10-star RV park with extra-clean bathrooms and laundry facility.

Enter two out-of-state RVers from hell. They were parked side by side with small children. It seems the parents saw nothing wrong with handing their kids colored chalk and letting them mark up the street and site with the game of Hopscotch and other designs. They even marked up the tree at their site!

ChalkWhen they left, they did nothing to clean up their kids’ mess. They just left it for the park management to clean up.

These are obviously parents that are teaching their kids to leave their mark wherever they go. Just imagine what they must mark up in national landmarks or state and federal parks?

These are the type of families that only care about themselves and what their needs may be. They couldn’t care less about those around them or the property they deface. So sad to see this behavior.

What do you think about this? Do you think chalk should be allowed in campgrounds and/or RV parks? If so, do you think the children and/or parents have a responsibility to clean it up? Please vote in the poll below then leave a comment.


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


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1 year ago

Chalk no problem, dog poop NO!

1 year ago

I love looking at children’s chalk drawings. It makes us smile. I agree that they should have hosed them off before leaving the site. That is the neat thing about chalk, it isn’t permanent.

Mark B
1 year ago

I have absolutely no problem with chalk. However, I DO feel that it should be cleaned up before they leave. I have never had a problem with it until I pulled into a spot after it had been covered with chalk. The entire spot, covered in chalk. After walking through it and getting it inside our motorhome, I had to hose it down. Since then, we’ve pulled into a couple of more spots that had a lot of chalk. So prior to pulling in, get out the hose and rinse it off. Then it’s time to set up in a wet spot. It’s just common courtesy. I’ve always taught my kids, and even made games out of picking up trash before we leave. Leave it cleaner than we found it, ALWAYS.

1 year ago

I have no problem with kids drawing with chalk. It actually makes me smile. I thank the parents for not sticking electronics in the kids face instead sending them outside to play. It doesn’t take long to wash/wear off.

What I do have a problem with is them drawing on or putting stuff on trees. No reason for that.

1 year ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

Right on RVGrandma – My sidewalk has some of the greatest drawings I have seen. My granddaughters are great artists. I even spray them ( the drawings) with sealer to keep them intact longer. Some people would complain if hung with a new rope. Folks, give the kids a break. Maybe they see you as grumpy old people!

Jesse Crouse
1 year ago

Why don’t they know how to not do something? Look at their “so called” parents. Lead by example.

1 year ago

Chalk doesn’t bother washes away. What does bother me is oil spots from leaky vehicles that NOBODY cleans up, and it never goes away. And it’s often more than just a few spots. A site near me looks like somebody lost half a crankcase full of oil. It’s disgusting.
If your rig leaks put something under it!

Last edited 1 year ago by chris
1 year ago
Reply to  chris

I agree – adults leave worse messes than children. The other is not cleaning up after their dog. Or dumping cat litter on the ground next to the dumpster.

Barry T
1 year ago

There is a need for more 55 plus, upscale, campgrounds!!!

Vanessa Simmons
1 year ago

Isn’t camping about being with the family and making memories?

Ages ago the museum near our house in MT had evening art events for the kids in the summer. One night was chalk art. I outlined my youngest son on the sidewalk and then he proceeded to add clothing and features. A photo of me drawing him was in the local paper and he still has that article. Today he and his wife, an outstanding artist, do chalk art with their kids. However, since they only camp in remote sites doing that at campgrounds won’t be a problem.

If it entertains the kids and gets them outside, I have no problem with it.

DL Jenson
1 year ago

I have enjoyed seeing kids artwork and it is gone after a rainstorm or sprinkler hits it. Now the tree that is shown in the photo is littering, that is not cool! Just teach the kids not to litter, do the artwork by their camping spot it is cool & fun!

Andy Prescott
1 year ago

We are Volunteer Hosts in our State Parks, and chalk in the campground is common. We usually leave it until the artists are gone, then use water to wash it off. It cleans up pretty easily. I would rather have them drawing on the road where we can clean it, then on the rocks and trees where we can’t. If you want to ban something from campgrounds, lets start with water balloons!

1 year ago

Chalk will easily wash off, but Ohhhh, what they did to the tree! These kids will grow up to be the ones who write over petroglyphs or carve their names in the rocks at places like Zion NP. Destroy and destruct and then move on because that’s what their parents are teaching them.

1 year ago

Well, the first good rain will wash the chalk away…but it is a note of caution, as they could have been using less soluble materials!!

Carson Axtell
1 year ago

I don’t have a problem with this kind of behavior in private campgrounds and resorts (I tend to avoid them, anyway) since the management has the option to implement a “clean-up deposit” policy to hold perpetrators responsible for their misbehavior. Nothing gets people’s attention quicker than the threat to make them pay cash for their actions. I definitely DO NOT condone that kind of behavior on public lands such as national parks and USFS and BLM lands, however. It seems to me that a fundamental problem with today’s society is that no one is held accountable for their misbehavior anymore, whether that is politicians, businesses or individuals. Too many people strut around with this “I know MY rights” attitude while not giving a darn about the rights of others or the broader society. Irresponsible “individualism” has been allowed to run rampant in this narcissistic “me first” culture.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carson Axtell
1 year ago
Reply to  Carson Axtell


Edward Wullschleger
1 year ago
Reply to  Rica


1 year ago

Don’t mind the kids having fun, even with chalk, in fact, I enjoy it. What I don’t like is when they leave a mess for others. When they leave, the delightful childhood fun becomes an annoying mess. If the parents didn’t have a hose, I’m sure they could have borrowed one.

Terri R
1 year ago

when COVID first hit my entire neighborhood took to leaving chalk messages on the street, sidewalks & driveways with words of encouragement to all around us. It was wonderful to see & went away after the first rain (so I got to leave new messages along with everyone else)
In the pictures above I have zero issue with the chalk but the tree should not have been left like that. Anyone with kids / grandkids / bored husband 🙂 knows the pain & need for quiet release & joining in a bit of hopscotch is good for all of us!!!!

1 year ago

I find the results of the survey to be indicative of the changes in society. “Me first” raises its ugly head. My generation was taught to be considerate of others.

1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie

Mine also, Debbie! I don’t mind the chalk but I do think it should be cleaned up before exiting just in case the next camper DIDN’T appreciate it! Definitely, the tree should not have been messed with at all!

Marie Beschen
1 year ago

Like everything else, one should clean up when you leave though. “Leave no trace” has always been the camper’s motto, and should apply to this as well.

Lynn Paige
1 year ago

I thought this article was a joke at first until realizing someone actually wrote this. I do not travel with children. In our full time RV life I have been at locations where children have left their chalk marks. It makes me smile and more especially when we are there while they are creating. It’s a marvel to watch and I feel privileged to witness. I pray I never get so crotchety and rigid to not enjoy the wonder of children at play.

1 year ago
Reply to  Lynn Paige

I agree with you 100% on the chalk art. However, I wish they would not have modified the tree and left it. Chalk washes away with the rain; our grandkids use it a lot.

1 year ago

Have people never heard of rain? There are so many other, REAL problems to worry about. This one is just silly.

Dennis G.
1 year ago

Made chalk art with my stepson years ago, His is a teen now, and will not acknowledge he ever did such things now. With that said, once you are ready to vacate a site, be it a NP, camp ground or RV park,….leave it as nice, or better than you found it. That would, “Be Kind”.

1 year ago
Reply to  Dennis G.

I would say the chalk art and tree decoration are an improvement over a bland characterless site. If you don’t want to see others having fun or evidence thereof, stay home.

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