10 Eco-Friendly Camping Tips
Ottawa Valley is warming up as we enter the summer months. Soon, campgrounds will be buzzing with families and outdoor enthusiasts connecting with nature.
Before you plan your next adventure, check out our 10 tips for being more environmentally friendly when camping.
Use established campsites
We know the desire to find uncharted or secluded territory may seem exciting, but you should stick to established campsites to help support resilient and flourishing biodiversity in the area.
Avoid open fires
The aftermath of an open fire can range from being an eyesore to burning parts of the surrounding biodiversity. Instead of building your own fireplace, use a firebox or gas stove provided by the campsite. You can still enjoy your late night smores while protecting the plants and animals nearby.
Stickers, Styrofoam, plastic, foil, and other disposable materials can be left behind at the end of a camping trip, some of which take centuries to decompose. Package any foods or drinks into reusable containers you can leave with to ensure campsites and trails are kept clean.
Bury, burn, or package human waste
Many campsites provide thunderboxes for human waste, ensuring you can avoid the hassle of dealing with it yourself. If your campsite doesn’t have one, there are three easy ways to ensuring it’s dealt with while limiting environmental impacts: burying, burning, or packaging! You can bury human waste in a hole about eight inches deep and at least 200 feet from campsites or bodies of water. Toilet paper can be burned and carried out in a container alongside hygiene products.
Keep soaps and sunscreens out of rivers
Staying clean and using sun protection is crucial to any camping trip. However, many sunscreens have ingredients that are hazardous to the environment (even if they’re safe for our skin). Avoid taking a dip when you’ve applied sun protection or using soaps, shampoos, and conditioners in rivers as they can leach into the soil.
Did you know it takes a cigarette butt 10 years to decompose? Avoid smoking on trails near your campsite and never throw cigarette butts into rivers as they contain hazardous microfibres. Pack any cigarette butts and take them with you when you leave.
Wipe down your boats
Invasive species can latch onto boats, canoes, and kayaks. If you’re bringing one of these on your trip, wash them thoroughly with soap and water a couple days before your adventure. Avoid using any made of wood from outside the region as it could contain harmful pests.
Keep your distance from wildlife
Wildlife need space to roam, hunt, sleep, and socialize. Avoid approaching wildlife by observing them from a safe distance, not feeding them, and keeping pets leashed.
Catching fresh fish can make a lovely meal during a camping trip. It’s important to know the rules for fishing, though. Make sure you have the appropriate licenses and follow provincial catch limit guidelines to ensure fish populations can be maintained.
Preserve the past
It’s not uncommon to find historical or cultural structures and artifacts when camping. While it may be tempting to examine or take them, we encourage you to leave them where they were found. This also goes for rocks, plants, or other parts of nature. It’s important we preserve the past and avoid disrupting nature by taking, building, or rearranging what we find.