Topic: Where to Set Up Camp
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When setting up camp (outside an improved campground ), look for a place that is shady, level, and out of the wind.. If you can camp near a small stream or creek, you will have running water to douse your campfire with. If you are on public lands, you need to pick a spot that is directly adjacent to the road you are traveling rather than just driving off through the woods and brush to find a spot. Most public lands are strictly regulated regarding driving off established roads and 4wd trails.

Pay special attention to finding a camping spot that is free of any profound dangers for your younger children (nearby rivers, creeks, cliffs, etc.) The second photograph shows a campsite set up (yellow arrow) only 40 feet from an open lake spillway. This is an invitation to disaster!

Avoid camping (or driving in) meadows and other sensitive plant areas (third photograph). Pick a spot where the ground is mostly bare or covered with pine needles and you will be comfortable without doing damage to the environment. Look for spots where other campers have set up housekeeping before you. Often times they have built in some tables and a good spot for the campfire. NOTE: Regulations regarding campfires on public lands are very strict. A campfire permit is almost always required if a campfire is to be built outside an approved campground. And the regulations can change from day to day depending upon the fire danger severity. Check the regulations for the area where you are located to assure you are in compliance. Also, see our next web page (Next Topic) about properly setting up a campfire at your campsite.

Avoid camping near falling water like that shown in the bottom photograph. You will find that the spray and mist from large waterfalls will get everything in your camp soaking wet overnight.

Remember that when you abandon your camp, you should leave the area just like you found it. Take everything you brought in, out with you.
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