8 Tips for State Park Camping

4. Follow Canine Camping Rules

Not every state park allows pets, but if you find a campsite for you and your favorite canine, be sure to follow standard regulations. Note that not every state park follows these rules—some have more extensive regulations, so always ask before you go.

  • Dogs must be crated or leashed, and the leash cannot exceed six feet. This rule should be followed at the campsite, on the trails and around the campground.
  • You must be with your pet at all times.

More: 10 Dog-Friendly Campgrounds

5. Always Use the Provided Fire Pit

Fire pits are provided for the safety of all campers. Maine's Parks Department tells campers, "Please be careful with fire. Fires are allowed without special permits only in fire pits and grills that have been provided by the park."

Always supervise the fire, and put it out before you leave your campsite or go to bed.

More: 5 Simple Steps to Campfire Safety

6. Don't Exceed Camper Capacity

State parks often have a camper limit per site, and provide group sites for those who plan to exceed that limit for the duration for their stay. If you're found camping with extra people, you'll be subject to fees or asked to purchase another site. 

7. Don't Gather Firewood From the Park

You can buy wood from the campground store, but you can't chop it down.  California State Parks explains, "Natural scenery, plants and animal life are the principal attractions of most state parks. They are integral parts of the ecosystem and natural community. As such they are protected by Federal, State and Park laws." This goes for dead and down wood, both of which serve an important purpose in the ecosystem as they decay. 

8. Leave the Campsite the Way You Found It

People go camping to enjoy nature, and Boy Scouts of America believe that, "Trash and litter are human impacts that can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area."

Here are a few tips to help you leave a clean site:

  • Prepackage items in sealable containers before you go camping and dispose of the trash in your garbage can at home.
  • Take only what you need; the less you pack the less there is to be left behind.

Camping in state parks is a great way to experience the beauty of nature in a well-kept setting. Follow these general guidelines to stay safe and help keep your favorite state parks in pristine condition.

More: 10 Tips for Clean Camping

RAFind a Campground at ReserveAmerica.com.

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