The Dark Side of Camping

Camping goes hand in hand with 4X4ing right? And we all support leave no trace? We like to think we do (and most of us try pretty hard), but the hard truth from an environmental …

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Sep 23 2021
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Camping goes hand in hand with 4X4ing right? And we all support leave no trace? We like to think we do (and most of us try pretty hard), but the hard truth from an environmental perspective is that humans are messy creatures.

Right now a lot of us are in Lockdown, and that is taking a mental toll for sure. But what happens when we open up? With most of the country unable to enjoy a decent amount of time outdoors in the last few years, my prediction is that Camping in most places is going to a difficult experience over Christmas and beyond, as every man and their dog hitches up and heads away.

I reckon we’ll see places at or over capacity for a decent period of time, and I’m not sure that it will lead to good things. With the influx of people to Cape York this year, the place has been struggling. At many popular places, bins are overflowing with rubbish, the bush is littered with human excrement and others are just leaving rubbish behind.

I’m not sure what the solution is here because every time I head into the bush I see evidence of dumping and rubbish left behind. And you can’t blame every person that has been cooped up for months on end for wanting to get out into the bush can you?

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We Love getting out and Camping!

National Parks new online booking system may help alleviate pressure on Campgrounds by saving the rush and fight for a site given you now pre-book most places, but I think the way to solve the problem may in fact be much simpler.

Maybe we all need to take responsibility for ourselves, and be willing to make an effort for those that don’t see the value. Earlier this year I supported a local cleanup with a bunch of misunderstood blokes from a 4WD group called Western Sydney Patrols, where we spent the day cleaning up out at Lithgow. Even at the Campsite where the cleanup started, the amount of rubbish we picked up was staggering, and made a big difference. So here are my thoughts:

Don’t be part of the problem

This one is easy. I think of 3 things that will help ease the pressure here:

  • Consider whether you need to go camping at peak periods. If you can go during the week or outside key holidays, you’ll enjoy it more and have less people around you.
  • Learn how to manage a bush poo. Yep, it sounds very basic, but you need to know how to manage a bush poo so that animals don’t dig it up and that you don’t end up with toilet paper strewn across the place or landmines everywhere. There are plenty of videos and articles on this so educate yourself.
  • Leave no trace. This is really easy. Make sure you have Rubbish Bags and can double bag everything you use and take it away with you. Make sure you don’t leave rubbish on the ground where the native animal population can get to it. This includes taking your cans or bottles too.

Give 15 minutes of your time

When you are out and about, take a heavy duty rubbish bag and spend 15 minutes walking around the area picking up any rubbish you see. You didn’t drop it there – who cares? All of us talk about wanting to do better, but it remains talk unless we take action. Imagine if everyone out there picked up an extra bag of rubbish on each trip? We’d clean up the bush in no time!

Call out poor behaviour

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Don’t be afraid to ask someone (politely) to pick up their rubbish. The worst they can do is tell you where to go, but the best outcome is they might actually pickup their game. And if they don’t you can capture the details and pass them on to the relevant authorities.

Sometimes just calling someone out can be all they need to adjust their behaviour.

These are my thoughts on how we avoid nightmare scenarios across the country as we open up. Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Am I seeing it wrong? I’d love your thoughts!


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