August 14, 2022

BLM campgrounds need friends like YOU!

I just returned from a family Perseid meteor shower viewing campout in Northern California at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campground far from civilization and far from light pollution.  Mother nature's lightshow was stunning.  We enjoyed breathtaking views of The Milkyway, a full Moon, and meteors streaking across the sky all night.

Meteor Shower

We knew the location would be a great for meteor viewing since we had stayed there many times over the years.  It is a dry camp with clean pit toilets and a well-maintained road, and a half-dozen treed camp sites each with fire rings, covered picnic tables, and plenty of space between the sites.  As a basic campground, it was just perfect for our needs.  The campground doesn’t get much use (or trash) since it far from crowds and is mostly frequented by sportsmen who tend to be respectful caretakers of natural resources.

While breakfast was being prepared, we walked our campsite picking up the odd bits of trash such as bottle caps, pull tabs, rusty nails, unidentifiable metal bits, aluminum foil, cigarette butts, plastic wire ties, wrappers, plastic detritus, broken glass, etc. 

Our family practice is to make our campsites better than we found them.  This is easy to do and only takes a few minutes at the end of every outing after packing up.  All the trash goes straight into the garbage bag which we pack out.  A clean campsite helps others enjoy the site, and we believe this tends to promote a mindset of keeping the camp clean.  Clean tends to attract clean and trash tends attract trash.

Our camp breakfast preparation took a little longer than expected, so we made good use of the wait time by extending our cleanup to include the other unoccupied campsites.  This was also easy to do as it only took a few more minutes to pick up trash in each site.  This particular BLM campground was free of charge, and a cleanup was our way of expressing gratitude and paying it forward to the next happy campers who will come after us. 

Make your campsite better than you found it

BLM campgrounds need more friends to help keep them clean and beautiful.  Each of us can make a meaningful difference.  Bring a garbage bag (or two) whenever you go to BLM properties and take a few minutes during your trip to make it better than you found it and then haul the trash away with you when you leave.  If more of us adopt this habit just imagine how much more pleasurable our collective camping experiences would be.  It starts with shifting mindset and behaving like a steward of our County's beautiful public lands.  Do your part.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

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