Camping is like driving on the road. It’s very important to remember to share. Share the road with bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. In like manner, share the wilderness with those who live there all the time: wildlife.
Camping out in the wild is a wonderful experience, but responsible camping is very important. Not encroaching of the habitat of the locals critter is a main rule of friendly camping. Spotting the animals while hiking is a joy, but intruding on their established routines and territories is definitely not what you want.
Prior to making camp, here are five ways of avoiding infringing on the locals:
- Use a map! There are many places, both online and in the real world to obtain detailed maps of the territory you plan to camp in. Oftentimes the habitats of wildlife are indicated on the maps. While this is no substitute for real world, real time observations, it can help you plan where to look for campsites.
- Look for existing shelters. Many creatures prefer to sleep in a place with a natural shield from the weather, the wind, the sun, and other animals.
- Be aware of underground living. Little mammals like to dig out burrows where they can dig in and be safe and warm. Usually found near good-sized trees, look for entrance holes and if you see one, move on to another group of trees. In addition to protecting the wildlife, avoiding camping near burrow openings may help protect your supplies from being shared with the locals.
- Animal trails. While using paths and trails is the way to move about the woods, try to determine if the path was created for you by other humans, or if looks like a wildlife freeway. Tell-tale signs includes hoof and paw prints, disturbed bushes, droppings and chewed up vegetation.
- Don’t block access to animal watering holes. Camping near a stream can be convenient, but try to ascertain that it’s not being used by wildlife as their watering hole. Interfering with their ability to use fresh water is environmentally damaging.
Campers are rightly considered some of the most environmentally aware kinds of folks out there. Please work to continue that tradition and share the woods with the wildlife. Everyone will enjoy themselves more if you do.