Leave a Campsite Better Than You Found It!


Smith River campfireThat’s just how it is supposed to be! Maybe it because I was a Boy Scout or just because I appreciate the beauty of nature, but this is what we should all do!

We all enjoy a clean and fresh hotel room or freshly made bed. The covers are bed bug free and feel and smell wonderful. The mini bar is full and the towels are fresh. How is a campground any different?

After a long trek by foot, boat, truck, or wheeler, we all deserve the best. Cruising into a wilderness campsite that is full of trash, no firewood, and unpleasant messes is not deserved or appropriate. Nature belongs to all of us and we all need to be Stewards of our free and open spaces.

It just takes a minute to pay it forward. First, complete a camp inspection as you get ready to leave. Pick up everything that is trash. Make sure the campfire is clean and not smoldering. Stack a courtesy pile of firewood and kindling. To a tired trekker, this is better than a mint on their pillow.

One year in Montana I was the official gear boat rower on the Smith River. My raft was stacked with all of the camp gear, food, and comforts needed by the guided float rip. The boat was slow and fat. It rained, snowed, blew, and was simply an awful day. My job was to have the campsite ready for the fishing clients when they arrived after a hard day of fishing.

I beached the “Pig Boat” at the designated campsite and began to unload. The wind was blowing upriver, so my time was limited. I pitched the tents, unloaded the coolers and gear, and went to gather firewood. When I returned to the fire pit, a perfect fire was ready to light and a huge pile of wood was ready to burn. I lit the courtesy pile, pulled up a camp chair and sipped on a cool and well deserved beer as the “worn out Fishermen” pulled up!

The thank you gift from the previous campsite users was well appreciated and saved me a pile of time. Needless to say, I returned the favor but with one addition. I left a note saying that there were two cool beers under a marked rock in the Smith River!


Montana Grant

For Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com