When you want to ensure that your outdoor camping experience will not have a negative impact on your surroundings, pay attention to the facility you choose. Not every campground can institute fancy green initiatives, but you can choose one that will provide the best all-around experience.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability involves efforts to reduce negative environmental, economic, cultural, and social impact. You will be able to assess a facility’s advances toward sustainability by exploring its activities, regulations, and exchanges with the surrounding community. While it might be impressive to see a certificate or another award showing an earned certification, this isn’t the only indicator of a green initiative.
Assessing the Venue
A careful look around will give you important clues about environmental friendliness. Speak with management to learn about rules and regulations.
You might encounter rules about the maximum number of people allowed at sites, which are set to minimize impact on the environment. In general, all sites should be located at a minimum of 200 feet away from natural sources of water, and fires should be allowed in official fire rings only.
Look for evidence of waste reduction regulations. This typically includes “Leave No Trace” policies such as “Pack it in, pack it out.” These guidelines can be remarkably simple. Whatever items people bring to the site will need to be taken with them when they leave. The facility will likely be utilizing systems to properly dispose of other types of waste. This waste includes sewage and gray water.
Consumption management is also a crucial factor. Research how the venue manages power, food, firewood, and water provided to patrons. Find out how people can access power, and look to see whether alternative energy sources are available. Does the campground encourage usage of sustainable energy? Look for water-harvesting and water-saving strategies in place by the management.
Examine the construction of the facility. Check to see if outhouses or other structures are made out of recycled materials or environmentally-friendly materials such as structural fiberboard, and roofing materials made out of a plastic/rubber composite.
Giving back to the community is an important indication of sustainability. Find out if a facility contributes to the surrounding community with outreach, sponsorships, and donations. Perhaps they contribute to a local wildlife fund or forest fire prevention fund.