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Maybe you are new to camping or you’ve been at this for decades.

Regardless of your experience, it’s always good to revisit the little do’s and don’ts that many of us appreciate when camping in close proximity to others while at the SNRA developed campgrounds. If we follow these easy rules it makes for a great time for everyone. With a (quiet) drumroll we present to you Sawyer’s Simple 7:

  1. Keep trash and other items picked up.

    1. Trash invites rodents, bears, and other hazards. Bikes, kayaks, and other recreation equipment should also be kept picked up and locked up when you are away from your site. Come prepared to clean up dishes, dog waste, etc.
  2. Despite the warnings, every year campers fail to properly extinguish their campfires.

    1. Here’s what you should do- EVERY TIME:
      1. Spread the coals out.
      2. Douse the fire and coals with water, and stir in the firepit. Repeat until you can place your bare hand where the fire was hottest. 
      3. If you had a large fire burning for several hours, check for hot spots under the fire ring rocks and make sure to stir the coals with water multiple times.
      4. If you come upon a hot fire ring and you have no water to douse it. Please use sand or dirt and stir until the coals in the fire ring are cool. Spread the coals within the ring to keep from leaving a pile of hot coals behind.
  1. Fire bans

In order to protect our beloved Sawtooth and other forests where we recreate, research the area before you go so you know the local conditions and possible restrictions that are in place. Find out if a propane fire pit is an option. 

  1. Follow arrival and departure times for campsites.

    1. Read the rules for your particular campground before you leave. If you arrive early and the campers before you haven’t left just find a place to park. Have a snack, take a hike. If there seems to be an issue, find the camp host.
  2. Kids-

    1. Remind children to not wander into, play or invite themselves into other’s camping areas.
  3. Adults-

    1. Same goes for you- no cutting through campground spaces, inviting yourself over, etc. Yes, quiet times are a real thing. 10:00 is the hour by which most campers know it’s time to unplug and shut down at developed sites. Instead, strum a guitar quietly and chill by the fire if you aren’t quite ready for bed.
  4. Dogs-

    1. It’s wonderful having our furry friends along with us while we are camping -just a few things to keep in mind: 
      1. Noise/barking-try to keep this to a minimum.
      2. Leash laws-Read your campground requirements. Be prepared with a leash for walking as well as one to keep your pet secure while at your site.
      3. Picking up waste.
      4. Chasing wildlife-Despite your best training efforts dog’s instincts sometimes kick in and they chase after a four-legged furry creature. Keep them on a leash and be sure they are wearing identification and/or some type of tracking device when in the wilderness.

A few more tips other Idaho campers would like you to know:

  • Arriving late at your campsite? Put your lights on low-beam or turn off if possible.
  • Leave extra firewood for the next person.
  • Put everything back the way you found it; Picnic table, fill in the trench your child/dog/person before you decided to dig, etc. 
  • Being nice to the camp host really is good for everyone. Making them grumpy never makes for a good time.

Happy camping!