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Camp Life Journal is where we share travel experiences, camp hacks, and new gear discoveries. We also discuss outdoor issues like public lands conservation, sustainable living, and reducing our impact on people and places.
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Dispersed Camping for RV and VanLifers - A Guide
Protecting the places we love vs Encouraging a great outdoor experience. This is the struggle for land managers who've witnessed a massive uptick in campers, glampers, and vanlifers visiting their areas.
“People were going out and parking anywhere,” says Lara Kaylor, communications director for Mammoth Lakes Tourism. “A lot of them were first-time campers, not necessarily aware of the things you’re supposed to do. We saw a lot of trash, as well as human and pet waste. It was disturbing to the community.”
As many have asked since March 2020, "is this the new normal?" I argue, no, we cannot let this become normal. We need to balance our experience outdoors with preserving that same experience for the next camper. Sensitive lands are protected to minimize or organize impacts. National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management land use plans direct users to certain areas to control and limit the impacts.
Dispersed camping is allowed in certain places for a reason (access to waste and water facilities, access for emergency services, trash receptacles, etc). Further, we must also respect the "neighbors", be they human or animal. "In Mammoth, complaints came in about noise, litter, toilet paper and dog poop left behind, and the risk of wildfire from campfires."
“These are public lands, and they’re for everyone to explore, but we need to do so responsibly. It’s not a lecture. It’s about preserving these beautiful spaces and not leaving an impact on the environment.”