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Considerate Campersí Guidelines


Bob (Ram) Muessig


     Weíve all experienced, at one time or another, the disadvantages of camping next to an inconsiderate camper, havenít we? Oh, yeah...the guy who figures that the speed limit in the park is unreasonably slow; the lady who lets her pet do its duty on the grass just outside the door of her RV; the guy who leaves his pet tied outside while heís gone on a day trip (of course, the pet gets lonely, bored or whatever, and spends its time barking, whining and, in general, being a nuisance to everyone around); the couple that drops their candy wrappers wherever they happen to be (on the road, in the laundry, on the playground); the folks who stub their cigarettes on the patio at the family center or adult lodge; the ones who play their music (loud) during quiet hours; the parents (or grandparents) who allow their small children to run through othersí campsites...oh, the list goes on and on.

     Letís take a look at some of these folks (who really MEAN well but just donít get it) and see if we can set down a few simple guidelines to help them become considerate campers, shall we? One of the most common complaints from campers & park owners/managers alike is about the guy who ignores the parkís speed rules. Perhaps he is unaware that the speed limit in the camping sections is only 5 MPH, even though the speed limit is posted at the main gate on a 4í x 8í piece of plywood. Maybe he is myopic and just didnít see it. Sure...right! Why do think the park wants you to go slow? Probably because the roads are graveled and higher speed would create a "dust" problem, or maybe that there are little children playing near the roads. You know how little kids are...they never seem to watch where theyíre going.

     If youíre going to camp somewhere, be a good neighbor by observing the speed rules. Slow down. Many of us are retired and thereís really no good reason to be in such a big hurry. Take your time. Iíve had folks tell me that their car just doesnít go that slow. All you gotta do is stick that thing in "LOW" gear and let the engine idle. Such a simple thing. Your vehicle DOES have a low gear, you know. Itís the one marked with an "L" on an automatic - same with a stick shift.

     OK, pet owners, itís your turn. Please take your pet to the "Pet Walk" area. Most RV parks or campgrounds have them, and then pick up after your pet when it has done what it was supposed to do. If you allow your pet to "make a pit stop" on the grass outside your RV, even if you do pick it up afterward, there is still a bit of residue that will attract flies or other insects. Children like to play on the grass, too, and I donít think that you would want your kids to be rolling around where someoneís pet has gone to the bathroom. Havenít you ever stepped in something? Remember how disgusting that was? Yechhh! And if the park has a "Pet Leash Rule", donít just let your pet wander around dragging the leash behind it. Hold on to the leash. This rule is as much for your petís protection as anything else. If your pet meets a skunk, it will investigate, and when it does, itís going to be sleeping outside for quite a while. It wonít have any friends for a time, either, not even you. For the record, tomato juice, warm water, and lots of shampoo does work, but youíll still smell that odor for 2 or 3 weeks even so.

     You went somewhere for awhile and left little "Buffy" tied to a tree outside while you were gone? Shame on you. Poor little Buffy got tangled up around the tree, couldnít get to the water dish, and started barking, much to the annoyance of everyone in the campground. During the summer in Arizona, poor little Buffy could be dead by the time you got back. If you must go, take your pet with you. Itís your companion, right? If you just canít take your pet with you, leave it with someone who can watch it while youíre gone. Make arrangements to have someone check up on it often while itís inside your RV with the air conditioning running, but NEVER leave it unattended, especially outside. There are some critters around which could easily turn your pet into lunch, and I donít think youíd want to see little Buffy become part of natureís food chain.

     If you have gone to the store to get some candy, chips, a cup of coffee, or whatever, donít throw your trash out by the side of the road. It may take hundreds or thousands of years for one of those styrofoam cups to get "assimilated" by nature. You see soda and beer cans, plastic bags and bottles, and all sorts of other stuff simply thrown out the window by inconsiderate people and you quite likely complain about how "trashy" things look, so why contribute to it yourself? Carry your trash with you and dispose of it properly to protect our fragile ecosystem.

     Smokers, be careful with your smokes. NEVER throw a lighted smoke out the window of your vehicle. Too many acres of irreplaceable forest land have been burned to cinders already. And donít just crush them out on the campgrounds. To other campers (and park owners/managers), these grounds are their "living space". You donít crush your smokes out on the floor at home, do you? Many campgrounds provide receptacles for the disposal of smokes, so use Ďem. Either that, or take those dead butts with you and dispose of them at your own campsite in your own trash.

     Quiet hours, in most parks, are from 10PM until 8AM. People traveling like to get some rest, but if your stereo is blasting out the latest hits from Metallica, theyíre most likely not going to get it. You may love a certain type of music, and thatís all well and good, but others may not. If you respect the rights of others, theyíll respect yours. So, once again, be considerate and turn your stereo down so that only you can hear it during these quiet hours.

     Kids...we all love Ďem. I love Ďem, especially when they belong to someone else. But kids can be a real nuisance if they are not supervised. Theyíre just being kids, having a good time, making noise, running around and playing. However, they will annoy the dickens out of folks if you donít keep an eye on them. Donít let them run through other peopleís campsites, yelling and screaming. Keep them under adult supervision at all times, especially near the swimming pools, lakes, streams, or rivers.

     I suppose that all Iíve been saying is: Observe and obey the parkís rules. Itís easy enough to do, and it makes for a more enjoyable experience for everyone. Donít expect to have "exceptions" made just for you, even though you think youíre right. If exceptions are made, then the same will have to be done for everyone else. Pretty soon, chaos takes over and the enjoyable experience turns into a nightmare. If we all follow these simple guidelines, weíll all be "considerate campers".

With that in mind, happy traveliní, and Iíll see yaí down the road...

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