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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Camping Goes 'Green' at Pennsylvania State Parks

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 8 -- The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has developed guidelines and a demonstration campsite that can help campers reduce their impact on the environment, Bureau of State Parks Director John Norbeck said today.

"Normally we think of tent camping as a fairly natural activity, but there are things that campers can do differently to limit the impact they have on their outdoor surroundings," Norbeck said. "Using a 'green' approach to camping is not only good for the environment; it also can reduce your costs and make camping more enjoyable."

The demonstration "green" campsite is being set up at state parks across the state this summer as a weekend program for visitors. It features a tent and sleeping bag made from recycled materials; fuel efficient cooking stove; an LED flashlight; solar charger and reusable batteries; reusable cook set; solar camp shower; non-toxic bug repellant; bear-proof food container; a clothes line; and reusable marshmallow sticks.

Park staff will also provide outdoor recreational, amphitheater, and family and children's programs that tie in with the "green" theme.

"We hope that after seeing the demonstration, visitors to our campgrounds will practice at least one of the techniques during their stay and share their experience with others," Norbeck said.

Some tips for green camping include:

  • Look for a campsite that is already established, more than 200 feet from a water source, and stay off plants as much as possible.
  • Use re-usable plates instead of paper. Store them with your camp gear so you always remember them.
  • Take along re-usable water bottles. If you use commercial bottled water, make sure to recycle the bottles.
  • Use biodegradable camp suds for dishes and your body.
  • Avoid dumping soapy water on plants because the soap could kill them.
  • Recycle aluminum cans because burning them in a campfire will release chemicals that pollute the air.
  • Leave in place any plants, fossils, flowers or other things that you find.
  • Keep campfires in rings or use a cook stove instead.
  • Use local firewood instead of carrying it with you as some unwanted invasive pests might hitch a ride.
  • Tie a clothes line from tree to tree; bring along hot dog sticks instead of breaking off tree branches; set your lantern on the table instead of putting a nail in a tree to hang it.
  • Do not feed wildlife.
  • Dispose of trash properly or take it with you when you leave and recycle it when you get home.
  • Be considerate of other campers with music, cell phones and other noise.

The demonstration locations for the rest of the summer are:

  • July 17-20: Cowans Gap State Park, Fulton County
  • July 24-27: Ohiopyle State Park, Fayette County
  • July 30 - Aug. 3: Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset County
  • Aug. 7- 10: Parker Dam State Park, Clearfield County
  • Aug. 14- 17: Worlds End State Park, Sullivan County
  • Aug. 21-24: Hickory Run State Park, Carbon County

For more information about Pennsylvania's 117 state parks, visit the DCNR Web site at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

    CONTACT: Christina Novak
(717) 772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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