There are many reasons why we are responsible care takers of our lands. For this post, I’ll focus us on what we’ve experienced firsthand. As a road tripping traveler, we have seen much abuse of public lands. The lack of care and personal responsibility shows up everywhere.
We appreciate the variety of terrain and scenery we are able to travel to and through. The below gallery is a small sampling of various landscapes. Since we’ve retired, exploring and enjoying the outdoors has become a way of life. Our everchanging landscapes provides us the opportunity to learn about our lands and appreciate the geological wonders all around us.
Unfortunately, no matter where you go in the outdoors, you’re bound to find trash. It’s heartbreaking to find it flung about and tainting an otherwise scenic view and camp areas.
We’ve seen many things I wish I could unsee.
- Broken camp chairs
- An ironing board
- Food wrappers
- Beer cans
- Broken glass
- Tent poles
- TP butterflies
The list goes on. In the past few years, I’ve learned to avoid stopping over on any BLM land that is within an hour of a large, populated area. These areas tend to get overrun by locals who have no care or perhaps no means to take care of themselves and their surroundings. It becomes overrun by people who are not seeking recreation but are more interested in a free homestead. In addition to poorly dealing with their human waste, they end up collecting “things” and then abandon it all when it’s time to move on. There’s been little enforcement in most areas we’ve been through where this has been a huge problem.
Camping Review Posts of Neglected Places:
Camping in Oregon’s Whitman NF
Finding Free Camping near the I-84 in Oregon in Whitman National Forest. Read more
Camping and exploring near Mammoth Lake, CA
Just south of Mammoth and close to highway 395 is a dispersed camp area, Laurel Creek dispersed. This is our review of the camp and surrounding area including a jeep trail and hot springs. Read more
Cleaning is What We Do
Leave No Trace
Fortunately for RV’ers who land in a spot we’ve recently occupied; is you will be greeted with a cleaned-up location. Although I have to qualify that as we will always bag up trash on the ground and if we have room, even haul our bigger items, sometimes there’s just too much or too many big items for even us to handle well.
On beaches the trash becomes more diverse. Daily the waves fling back trash from the ocean onto the beach. When we stayed down in South Padre Island, we turned our twice daily walks into beach trash combing. The park had a big dumpster at the entrance making it easy to collect daily and just deposit trash in the bins. Some trash may have been from campers, but the majority was coming in from the gulf. Here’s Steve doing a run with our collection to the dumpster.
A dangerous no-no is using pallets as firewood. This leaves behind a pile of dangerous nails. We’ve run into pallet burning leftovers more than once. Usually, the leftover nails will be centralized to the fire pit area, which may seem acceptable. It isn’t acceptable at all. Even when burned in one spot, the nails can be scattered further out just waiting for your tire to drive over it.
The most recent and worst collection was when we needed to escape the heat and headed up to Ketchum, Idaho area.
We found a quiet spot to stay for a few days. The spot was somewhat secluded which is always nice. This secluded spot also attracted partiers; probably high schoolers wanting a bonfire. The spot was a bonfire party area and the partiers left behind a small stack of pallets PLUS 843 nails. All the nails were left behind not in the fire pit area but actually on the road where they burned numerous pallets.
We located a magnet in the camper and Steve spent a couple of hours combing the pile and then counting the pile of nails. Before we left the area, we stopped at the Forest Service office. The Ranger was appreciative of the report and took the bag of nails off our hands.
Whenever earth day comes around, I realize how fortunate these last few years have been.
We have seen so many beautiful places and geographical wonders. One of my recent firsts was getting to drive through the coastal redwoods. If you didn’t see any of these posts, I’m including them here.
Trees are a big part of our earth purifying our air and absorbing pollutants. A benefit, I believe everyone can agree on, is how well trees cool our streets and cities blocking the sun and providing shade. The shade of a tree offers a cool retreat and we have personal experience with how much less power is consumed by having a huge shade tree over a home…both a real stick and brick as well as the camper, Maximus!
The most recent tree picture I have on my phone is from a nice spa weekend in Avon, CO with my Sister. What is your most recent tree picture? Share in the comments below.
What Can We Do?
Collectively I believe it’ll come down to awareness and education. Until the attitude of there’s someone else who will clean up after me gets saturated into the next generation, we will continue to follow our own Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly and Leave it Cleaner than we Found it mantras. We hope you will join us!
About the Photo Challenge
A weekly themed photo challenge hosted by Terri. Check out her Blog and come back and visit for more SundayStills and traveling posts!
More Sunday Still Posts
Thanks for visiting our travel blog and I hope you enjoyed finding the #SundayStills Challenge. You can join the weekly challenge by visiting our hosts blog Second Wind Leisure. and checking out Terri’s post for this week, Adoration of the #Earth.
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Great photo choices. It’s sad the things we see.
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First of all, your gallery is glorious, Cheryl! I just love everything you shared about Earth Day and how easy it is to clean up trash and abandoned items. I’ve participated in a few Sacramento delta cleanups and it is amazing what the river leaves on the rocky shores. So much trash, old tires, and human waste! I would like to believe that RVers, hikers and campers do their best to pack out their garbage or clean up their campsites, at least that’s how I learned as a teenager on our trips. As you mention, there are many homeless camping for free and leaving all kinds of nastiness in their wake 😦
My best karma experience in Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite) years ago, was when a bear ripped the door off the truck belonging to loud partyers not far from us and grabbed their food! I heard the telltale snuffling despite the loud laughter, then the inevitable metallic scrape, bang and crunch, followed by the expletive “Oh $hiT!” If I could and wasn’t terrified, I would have high-fived that bear! They left the next day.
Great post and good examples of how we can all help our beautiful blue planet every day!
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What a great karma story with that bear! It is really sad to keep finding caches of trash. One time we drove on a trail and not far off the trail was multiple bags of party trash like beer cans, boxes etc. They brought it in, bagged it up and left it for whom? It’s flabbergasting. I wish I had my computer with me on this 3 week trip as I have recent Arizona trip footage of an old party site and Steves cleaning efforts. We ran out of bags and couldn’t get it all.
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Too many people don’t know the rules, posted and unposted. I learned how things work as campers when we were kids. Also, like going to the beach and it was OK to leave your stuff on a blanket without fear of someone stealing it while you’re out playing in the water. Things certainly have changed.
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