In our last post, we were camped with friends at North Carlson Lake near Ryder, North Dakota. We were camped in a free county-operated campground nestled between three lakes. Campground amenities include BBQ grills, a boat ramp, fire rings, beach access, picnic tables, restrooms (suitable for tornado shelter) and trash cans/dumpsters.
Noticed I bolded the last amenity, trash cans/dumpsters, as recent users of the park/campground seem to have not been aware of their existence or they are super lazy. Sadly, I believe it is the latter of the two, as the campground and fire rings were littered with garbage and food waste while very visible dumpsters sit empty just a short walk from any of the campsites.
While I have written about taking your garbage with you previously and I am probably preaching to the choir, I feel compelled to do so again as if I can just influence a few campers, it may make a difference.
Why should you leave your campsite or an entire park better than you found it? Here are several reasons:
- Leaving a campsite (especially a free one) littered means the agency overseeing the campground has to clean up after you, which costs money. If cleanup costs from unappreciative campers continue month after month, exceeding revenue or the assigned budget, the overseeing agency has no choice but to raise prices or close the campground. Read this article for an example.
- Litter such as broken glass, bottle caps, pop tops and aluminum cans shredded by lawn mowers can be a hazard to little ones (adults too) headed barefoot to enjoy the beach.
- Food scraps such as chicken bones and rancid food can be dangerous to the pets of other campers that arrive after you. Not only that, but food waste can attract yellowjackets and other insects that others may have allergies to.
If you enjoy free campgrounds for overnight stays along your route (like I do), please show your appreciation by taking care of them and picking up the trash of less thoughtful campers before you.
If we each learn to do our part, we can keep campgrounds along with other recreational lands open, and hopefully save a pet or little one from injury in the process.
Leaving a campsite better than you found it, just another adventure in RVing!
If you would like to stay at the campground you will find it just under 10 miles east of Ryder, North Dakota at the intersection of 114th St SW and 303rd Ave SW (aka Road 22). Rather than navigate by street names I suggest you let your onboard navigation direct you to N47° 55.275 W101° 28.240
Read more: Campground Littered With Garbage, Causes Facilities To Close
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Pete Miller says
I like the “leave nothing but your footprints” approach that was advocated while camping during my Boy Scout years!
Stephen Monteith Albers says
My rule is that I never hike or even walk without a trash bag. When the bag is full, I’ve done my cleanup bit for the day.
Prospector 1950 says
I agree with your latter statement pertaining to “Laziness”. Thanks to Society, People are now just plain Lazy, Yes, they are now getting so lazy they can’t even get up and walk a few feet or yards to the nearest trash receptacle. Not to mention that they are also now-a-days copting the “I Don’t Freaking Care, It’s Not My Problem” attitude, as well. It’s called the “Lack of Parenting” syndrome because the parents don’t want to take the time out of their personal lifestyle’s to properly educate their children in proper manners, and etiquette, not that the children now-a-days would even take the time out of their video games for even a couple of minutes to listen to them in the first place. It’s getting worse, and worse, every year.
Kim Fenske says
Being a Gold Palm Eagle Scout, I have always believed in “pack it in; pack it out”. I have always wondered why campers feel the need to build campfires in the backcountry or leave a mess in developed campgrounds. I have spent decades as both a volunteer and Forest Service FPO/Wilderness Ranger cleaning-up rock rings and trash in wilderness areas where campfires are illegal I once shoveled five gallons of broken glass and five hundred pounds of rock out of a single bonfire site. I have never had a bear in one of my dispersed campsites, but frequently have experienced trash bears in developed campgrounds where visitors leave messes so regularly that the sites become part of the daily rounds of local bears and rodents. That is one reason that I prefer dispersed camping over developed campgrounds.
As boondockers, we always clean up the area we are in before we use it. We also double check to make sure we have not made any impact on the environment when we leave.
Many people burn their trash, including cans, condoms and aerosols etc. in the fire pit and think they have done their share. We carry pickers and use them.
Our biggest problem is finding a legal place to dispose of our/their trash.
Thank you for your post. I had the honor of experiencing a trip of a lifetime when I was 13 years old. Our amazing grade school principal, his wife and 3 other adult chaperones piled into an old school bus and traveled 6 weeks across the US and back home to MA across the Canadian Provinces. We left each place we camped better than we found it included picking up all cigarette butts. I am so grateful for that experience.
It is unfortunate that so many are inconsiderate and downright lazy. Sadly, if you can’t even be bothered to return your shopping cart to the cart corral, you are likely not going to go out of your way to throw trash in a dumpster. The child that watches you leave that cart between tow cars is not likely to care either.
We will be leaving soon for a few years on the road across this great country and I look forward to leaving each place we visit cleaner that when I arrived.
Well… your not reaching the right people… as most of the normal campers that I have seen do take their stuff to the trash cans etc… Its the low lifes that seem to ignore any form of consurn for the others… these being the “HOMELESS” ones…. to which we were camping at a BLM spot… a GROUP of these low lifes showed up in a old broken down motorhome….
I have always wondered why they are homeless and pennyless but they seem to have several dogs to feed.. etc…
The adults sent the kids out to beg for food… while the adults seemed to root around in the trash cans and pick out the plastic or alu cans… leaving the rest of the garbage on the ground that was in the trash can…
When several of us made it a point to inform them to pick up the trash they were throwing out of the can… we got a ear full of nasty verbage from them…. One of the campers then got into a confertation with them and demanded they clean up their mess they made… Of course the dogs shit all over and ran unchecked in the campground… but it didn’t stop their… they were into drugs and smoked pot all hours of the night… hooping and holl’ern.. at the moon like a bunch of ….$%# … all night long…
Then came the sheriff…. and boy did he get a ear full from the other campers about this group… which didn’t seem to care if the sheriff was their or not…
When the Sheriff went to talk to them… they were belergerent and defied his demands… saying that the littering was not theirs… (true others put it in the trash can) and refused to pick up their mess… They kept saying … they don’t have too….
Nothing could be done and the Sheriff said that they didn’t want to get involved… as it was fed land… and so while agreeing with the others .. he had to leave without any results…
Next morning the low life group got their camper started… and left.. blowing their horn, moon’n (butt showing) and flipping everyone off as they left…
When we went over with the rest of the campers .. what was left was dispickable… they appeared to have drained their black water tank along with the gray… and all the dog doo along with trash were left right where they were… (one could only imagine what the inside of the camper must have been like… )
So when one says leave no trace…. this is a image that comes to mind.. now….
I can see how the RV camping places have increased their rates to keep these kinds of low lifes out of the parks… Now they are moving into roadside rest, wallyworld parking lots.. and even now parked on city streets…
Its easy to see .. they are the ones with the big pile of trash and garbage piled at the sidewalk… yes their are laws.. but so far they are ignored… because their is no economic gain to be had…
These low lifes .. don’t want to work… they had everything done for them.. when they were younger.. and were taken care and supported by their parents till they died… and at that point these low lifes became homeless…
WHAT TO DO….
I have a solution to the problem… if the low lifes break the law.. they should be arrested… judged.. and if found guilty… what they had is hauled off to the junk pile…
they are sentenced to a NEW KIND OF CAMP GROUND… one that looks like a interment camp.. of old… some place miles out on the desert…. where they are gotten up in the morning … (none of this sleeping all day… ) have jobs to do… such as picking up trash along the highway… and/ or campgrounds….etc…earning their keep by service to the nations lands…. and then taken back to the internment camp…bedded down at sundown… just like the military… (after all the mayor here… wants to spend 20 mil of our tax dollars just to have housing for them) and then when they are finished with their sentence… walked to the gate and left to walk home…. Warned that if they get arrested again… it would be a longer sentence next time…
THIS THEN WOULD SOLVE SEVERAL PROBLEMS (Why they don’t start the CCC camps again?) this then… get them off the streets… give ’em a job… they are fed and taken care of (place to sleep) and cleans up the mess the others left. (just like a military campment)
This way we get a clean camp site… well taken care of land… and the taxpayer gets some return for the cost of taking care of them… and some good reason to take care of the campsite… leaving it clean… because if the kids refuse.. you can then point to the camp labor and say.. you want to end up like them??? yep bet that brings up a attitude adjustment… for leaving it better than you found it…
Charlie Daubitz says
I even do that on every Walmart parking lot we may stop at for overnight on the road. Carrying a Walmart bag to fill on your morning walk is easy and rewarding, where ever you are.
Charlie Daubitz says
I do that at rest stops too.
Tim Goode says
You should run for Legislator/Congress.
There are a lot of pigs out in the world. Just like using a rest stop bathroom and leaving it filthy. I have seen them with poop and pee all over so bad you could not use them. The pig person got to use it so leave it clean for the next person. I always pick up after us and others when I see trash that should be picked up.
Rock hound says
don’t get me started
i made the mistake of inviting some new be!! camper’s to our camp sight to camp with us they burned all there plastic’s ,can’s bottles yup glass, styrofoam, and, as that was not enough they brought motor oil to start a bigger fire.. so i dont like camping with these people any more…
they brought a 8HP gen with no muffler loud it was a joke. they didn’t think any thing of it at all…
I all ways put my gen in the brush or down a bank around back of my trailer. iv even parked my truck to bounce the sound or dead-in- the sound, theres to many people camping now and some times it’s depressing… one yr they had there hole family came baby included they left 2 bags off crappy baby dypers behind…
this is a free place to camp,,,
and they leave there crap behind….
my wife and i started staying after every one left and picked up all there crap!!!!!!!
we have camped out for over 35 yr’s
WE WE stride in bear essentials we have every thing we need and PACK – IT – IN – PACK – IT – OUT
every thing from the work force to play time attitude is it’s not my job, not my mess, or I DONT KNOW IDIDENT DO IT OR IF YOU LISSEN VERY CLOSLY YOU WILL HERE THEM CONTRADICT THEM SELF’S ..
AND THEY BELEVE WHAT THEY SAID IS RIGHT…….
HERES A CLUE if they spell there name out over there garage steer away …..
it’s the look at me me me generation
The entitled generation. Theyre ruining it all for us…we’ve seen so much of it, it makes me sick. The saving grace is that I’m old and won’t see the total destruction.
Its not only the campgrounds that people are trashing…. this morning at the stoplight… a low rider loud stereo playing car… opened their riders side door and dumped all their trash, paper wrappers and all right their on the road… when the guy next to them said …. something to ’em they called them some racest white trash names… and got pissie throwing a beer can at the guys car as they left…. I guess society is going to the dogs… Picking up after these people.. is frutile…. and I refuse to pick up others trash.. as then they get the idea that someone else will wipe their butts for ’em… I know when I talked to one of the people who used to volenteer …. to help clean up a local campground… they said no more… as people saw them picking up others junk… and made the comment … our tax dollars at work…
Reuben Funk says
We clean up our little corner of the world, where ever we find ourselves. If it’s someone else’s trash well we can feel good that we have done our part. Getting confrontational with those who don’t care about their immediate little part of the earth will not change them. We just do our little part.
It is always a shame when people don’t care or are too lazy to take care of their own trash I always wonder who they think is going to pick up their mess?? Same applies to the people who toss trash out their car windows. I don’t understand. We learned to walk around our campsite and pick up all the trash that might be there ours or from others.