Conservation Camping

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps Setting Up Camp

designated camping areas.

Group size is limited to 10 people for camping on conservation lands, unless you obtain a special use permit. Smaller groups are recommended to reduce impacts on camping areas and to respect other campers. A four-person group is recommended for backcountry travel. In case of emergency, two people can go for help while one stays with the injured person.

Camper-vans, pickup trucks and tent camping are the most popular camping units on conservation lands. Vehicles much larger than a full size van are usually not recommended. This is due to the width and quality of some of the rural roads where these areas are located. Larger vehicles may not be able to turn around in some of the back roads and turnouts.

Beginning campers should probably camp in a designated camping area. Designated area camping allows you to set up a campsite near your vehicle. This means you do not have to own a backpack. You can simply bring your pillow and a good sleeping bag and pad.

Also plan for whatever the weather might bring, and check the forecast before you leave. Practice setting up a new tent a few times before your trip to avoid frustration in the field. Don’t wait until dark to set up the tent.

You may have trouble sleeping in a strange new environment, but many people claim to have experienced the best sleep of their lives during a rainy night in a waterproof tent. A leaky tent, on the other hand, creates nothing but misery. Take care of your tent, and never put it away if it is still damp. Also use good stakes. I have seen more than one tent blowing like a kite across a campground, lofted by an unexpected breeze.

Where permitted, campfires are great places to socialize. After dinner, build the flames up a little and listen as the conversation builds with the fire. Small fires take less fuel and are easier to control and put out. A candle lantern is great for lighting when fires are not permitted. Check bulletin boards for specific regulations that apply to the area.

Make absolutely sure to control your fires at all times. Make sure it is “dead out,” with no smoke or embers, before you break camp. Remove all litter, and don’t leave anything, even a small piece of foil from a candy wrapper, in a fire ring. From my own experience I can tell

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