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Camping Tips 101

Camping Tips 101
August 25
15:00 2017

BULLHEAD CITY — The Mohave County Library’s Bullhead City branch was turned into a campsite on Saturday afternoon as local youths learned how to put up a tent.

Park rangers at Katherine Landing, part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and located north of Bullhead City, were the guest presenters at this week’s Family Fun Day.

The National Park Service presentation titled “Camping 101” allowed children (and their parents) to try getting a tent to stay standing without having to brave the outdoor elements, and provided tips for the entire family on how to camp safely and considerately while still having fun.

Park Ranger Elizabeth Skinner asked what some of the children liked most about camping. Their answers included “fishing,” “hiking,” “swimming” and “S’mores.”

A variety of camp-related items were shown and the importance of each discussed.

A first aid kit comes in handy because there are no hospitals in the recreation area. And a pan is good to have so you can cook food so it’s “not raw and gross,” one boy said.

But a map is extremely important when going camping, hiking or doing anything else in natural areas so you can find your way around and not become lost, Skinner said.

Skinner and another park ranger, Jacqueline Brill, along with five NPS interns, then proceeded to help people erect four tents inside the library.

When that was complete, the tents were moved to one part of the library.

The children were able to sit in the tents and camp chairs, next to a facsimile of a campfire or even try catching magnetic fish from a small fake pond while discussing ways to enjoy the outdoors that will allow people visiting later  to have as fun a time.

She explained that it’s the job of the National Park Service to “protect all of these awesome places so people can enjoy them.”

The mock-campsite inside the library also provided a little extra atmosphere for Skinner to go through the seven ethical principles created decades ago by the NPS, United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for park visitors to help preserve these areas called “Leave No Trace.”

w Know before you go: Along with carrying a map, bring proper clothing to be comfortable in the area’s weather conditions and bring the right tools. Learn about an area before arriving.

w Choose the right path: Stay on the main trail and use existing camp areas to protect nature and yourself. Steer clear of flowers and small trees to allow them the best chance of reaching maturity.

w Trash your trash: Take a bag and pick it up rather than leaving it. Bury excrement if there’s no toilet or outhouse. Keep all of these away from water to keep it clean.

w Leave what you find: Plants, rocks and historical items shouldn’t be removed or disturbed. Look, take photographs, but don’t touch.

w Be careful with fire: Check whether it’s even allowed to start a fire in a given location. Only use loose sticks lying on the ground as fuel for such fires and don’t hack wood from trees. Make sure a fire is completely extinguished before leaving the site. Using a camp stove is recommended.

w Respect wildlife: Never approach, feed or follow wild animals. Store your food and trash because these items are unhealthy fare for wild animals. Keep control of pets or leave them at home.

w Be kind to other visitors: Don’t bother other visitors. Don’t yell or make other loud noises — enjoy the sounds of the great outdoors.

“Doing this at the library is a great way to reach families,” Skinner said afterward. “We want to engage people and show them how to use the parks. The parks belong to them.”

The title of the presentation isn’t just to illustrate that the information presented was suitable for beginning campers: This year is the 101st anniversary of the NPS, Skinner noted.

Catie Perez and her family, all from Bullhead City, went camping last year in the Mohave National Preserve at Hole-in-the-Wall.

“It was awesome,” the 9-year-old girl remarked about that outing. “So cool. But kind of scary.”

She didn’t know how to put up a tent last year and enjoyed learning the skill indoors without heat and wind — and there’s plenty of both at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Catie’s sisters, Moira, 5, and Sophia, 11, also participated in the tent exercise and said they learned from it.

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