Responsible Camping in Your Local Parks

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You don’t always have to take a long drive to enjoy a good park. Most decent-sized communities have local parks with site amenities for the local visitors. Those park furnishings, along with some big shade trees, can make for a great day outdoors for the whole family.

Parks range from small and simple to enormous and elaborate. A simple park may have little more than a park bench or two, some picnic tables, and a restroom facility. Parks that are more extravagant may have numerous covered picnic areas, barbecue grills, volleyball pits, tennis courts, swimming pools, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, lakes and ponds.

It’s a beautiful thing to get together with friends and family at these local parks. They are great for any occasion: anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, reunions, weekends and any kind of get together for any reason. These facilities are not available everywhere, so if you are fortunate enough to have one near you, you should use it responsibly and always leave it looking pristine for the next visitors.

Too many times when you go to the park, you see litter everywhere. It takes away from the natural beauty. It’s not that hard for people to pick up after themselves. Every park has trash receptacles, especially near the picnic areas. All anyone has to do is look around before they leave and throw stuff away that doesn’t belong there. If you have ever been a boy scout, you know they teach the scouts to leave the place looking better than it did when they got there. That’s a good idea.

Another thing that you often see is graffiti. You may see it on the walls of the restrooms, on a park bench or on picnic tables. It sure makes an attractive place ugly. Even if you don’t participate in putting it there, you could check with your local Parks and Recreation authorities to learn how to volunteer to help with the cleanup. It will make you feel better, as well as everyone who goes to the park.

Restrooms can be a big problem in local and national parks. For some reason people don’t treat them the same way as they do their own. They tend to throw paper towels on the floor, rather than in the trash receptacles. They tend not to flush the toilets, and they often leave the water running in the sink. You can only hope that’s not the way they treat their own bathrooms.

Even though you didn’t do it, if you see a toilet that needs flushing, flush it so the next guy doesn’t have to look at it. Pick up a few paper towels and throw them in the trash receptacles so other people get a better impression of the facility. Call the number posted on the door or inside the restroom to report things that need cleaning or fixing.

Whether in a local, state, or national park, we all have the responsibility to do our part to keep them clean. Just cleaning after yourself makes a big difference, and if you do a little bit more, it comes back to you someday in one way or another.

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