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The Impact of Camping on The Environment

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Have you ever felt to go camping to cleanse the soul and free our minds from the daily hustles? Probably yes for most of us, because people are getting more and more tensed and pressurized from their daily jobs and other routines. Most of the people are searching for an alternative way to get a break out of our daily schedules and rejuvenate ourselves from the tensions. The major reason why camping has gained so much popularity among the people is they get a chance to step out of their comfort zones and experience different things apart from their actual social and cultural life. Camping allows the tourists to reconnect with nature, its habitats and beauty; and have a quality time with family, friends to build strong relationships without any distractions like work pressure, studies, etc. People seek new camping places that can give them new experiences and sensations. People are willing to travel miles in search of a good camping experience. Especially in Canada, people from all over the country are visiting British Colombia for its unique beauty and camping moments during summer. Several cities have over crowed and the businesses are booming during the summer because of the summer activities in British Colombia. But the overcrowding, improper management, vandalism, during the camping are taking a toll on nature in a noticeable way. As adventure tourism like camping generates a great source of income to the country’s economy the governments are promoting this kind of activity and clearing new spaces and constructing new roads through the wilderness for new camping grounds. These developmental activities and camping activities are damaging nature and are left unnoticed. Simple changes in the way we think and behaving responsibly can change the entire picture of this problem. The harm caused by the camping may not be intentionally made by the campers itself but because of the lack of knowledge and seriousness. The main problems of that affect nature by camping can be sorted out if it is highlighted to the tourists

As the new camping trends are booming, authorities are running to create new camping grounds to meet the emerging demand. According to Farooquee, Budal, & Maikhuri, (2008) the camping sites near the river Ganga have become six times more in 2006 as compared to the year 1997 and it has generated a disturbance in the ecological surroundings. The massive footprint of this campsite itself is facing a big problem in nature. The loss of vegetation due to the excavation and removal of topsoil for the construction of camping sites and construction of roads for easy mobility, result in the destruction of forest and habitats for its flora and fauna, thus facilitating the deforestation in those areas. It’s not the only deforestation that affects nature but every aspect of camping is impacting the nature in a way, to start with, campfires are an essential part of a camping programs they keep us warm and free from insects, but campfires can get out of hand and start a huge wildfire, killing the surrounding biodiversity and uniqueness. According to Reid & Marion (2019) when a camper starts a fire, it causes several damages to our mother nature the small roots of the trees and plants may get burned and change the soil structure facilitating the soil erosion. The fire is known to alter the chemical property of the soil, a fire at a camping site may lead to burning of extensive toxic wastes and food items, and this causes emission of toxic gas and odor that may attract or harm the microbes and other living creatures. The collection of firewood from the forest and the deforestation of trees and vegetation for the sheer purpose of entertainment by building tents and tools are a major threat to the flora and fauna, and there also exists a major risk of starting a wildfire because of the uncontrolled flames.

According to Farooquee, Budal, & Maikhuri, (2008), the regular living patterns of the animals are also being affected because the untreated wastes, littered food remaining are attracting lots of stray dogs, monkeys and other wildlife mammals, endangering local flora and fauna in these areas and feast on it; these also affects the normal migratory patterns of several animals and prevent them from reaching areas of abundant food. The constant supply of food from the camping sites and other locations invites pests and build its territory diving off the local fauna from its original habitats.

The pollution of the nearby waterways is the next risk that is faced by the camping sites. In India, the camping sites near the banks of Ganga are facing this problem, due to the high inflow of campers to near the rivers and the natural flow of the small waterways are affected and the improper management of the toilet wastes are risking the rivers to pollution, etc. The dumping of untreated wastes to the rivers and other water bodies can result in the spreading of new diseases or mass disturbances in the local food chain. The negative effects could be easily seen from the plants to the animals. The extensive use of vehicles in nearby areas of the campsites are also posing a risk on the habitats. Thompson, L., &Schlacher, T. (2008) point out that the naturally made dune is being misplaced by the tracks of the vehicle, and this causes the small plants to get crushed. The Gosh crabs seen in the coastal areas of Australia is one of the major examples, their numbers are constantly decreasing due to the intervention of human beings, the use of vehicles through the sandy beaches crushes the crabs and their burrows being destroyed.

Most of the campsites are located in nationally recognized national parks. The creation of new camping sites can destroy the entire goal of protecting the wilderness b recognizing a place as a national park. These parks are usually overcrowded and lack proper waste management or supervision. Even the national park authorities are responsible for cutting down trees for new campsites and firewood. The lack of rules and regulations in these camping sites are the main problem we are facing right now. However, the construction of roads and campsites make the camping experience more enjoyable human being are forgetting that it is also affecting the nature and its habitats. The clearing of open spaces for recreational purposes often becomes a destructive idea for the animals which grazed there. As more people come the amount of wastes also increases the proper disposal of the wastes must also be ensured. The light pollution and noise pollution is also becoming a great reason for the displacement of the local fauna. The unplanned developments in several national parks are harming themselves when it should be helping them to preserve the natural vegetation instead of the unnecessary deforestation, excavation, constructions are facilitating the further destruction of our natural surroundings and resources. If the Government or the governing authorities clearly emphases these main problems, some of it can be prevented. If the correct and sustainable development of the campsites and nature is done, then the future generations can also enjoy the pure emotions of going camping and enjoy nature’s beauty.

References

  1. Assessing the effects of long-term recreational activities on landscape changes in Abant Natural Park, Turkey. (2016). Journal of Forestry Research, (2). https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1007/s11676-015-0141-x
  2. Hassell, S., Moore, S. A., & Macbeth, J. (2015). Exploring the Motivations, Experiences, and Meanings of Camping in National Parks. Leisure Sciences, 37(3), 269–287. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1080/01490400.2014.995325
  3. Luke M. C. Thompson, & Thomas A. Schlacher. (2008). Physical Damage to Coastal Dunes and Ecological Impacts Caused by Vehicle Tracks Associated with Beach Camping on Sandy Shores: A Case Study from Fraser Island, Australia. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 12(2), 67. https://doi-org.ezproxy.tru.ca/10.1007/s11852-008-0032-9
  4. Nehal A. Farooquee, Tarun K. Budal, & R. K. Maikhuri. (2008). Environmental and socio-cultural impacts of river rafting and camping on Ganga in Uttarakhand Himalaya. Current Science, 94(5), 587. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.tru.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.24100298&site=eds-live
  5. Reid, S. E., & Marion, J. L. (2005). A comparison of campfire impacts and policies in seven protected areas. Environmental Management, 36(1), 48–58. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.tru.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=16132449&site=eds-live

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