The sound of raised voices stirred my curiosity. I looked up the hill from my campsite to the next small group of a few sites. Two men were pointing this way and that, shaking heads and presenting disgusted facial expressions. I soon gathered that one of them was the father of a couple teens that had crossed over the other man's campsite — uninvited. The teens had cut through the man's site a few times earlier in the day. The man asked them to respect his privacy and they ignored him. This prompted the loud conversation.
Camping, like most recreational pursuits, requires a dose of etiquette for all involved to experience a pleasant time. At most public campgrounds, dealing with camping neighbors is unavoidable. There are a few rules of camping etiquette that should be employed to ensure a happy camp neighbor.
Cutting through another campsite for whatever reason, is acceptable for some as they believe a public campground holds no marked boundaries around each campsite. Actually, a rented campsite is for the use of those individuals renting the site — no one else. Cutting through a vacant campsite is okay, but once a camper moves in, the shortcut is closed. Consider someone walking through your living room uninvited and unannounced. Traipsing through another's campsite is no different.
Excessive noise ranks up there with uninvited campsite crossings. During holidays and summer weekends, campers should expect excess noise and foot traffic. It's easy for a couple of families to unintentionally get louder with conversation as they enjoy themselves — that is understood (even after posted quiet hours). But at some point the sound level must be noticed and adjusted — hopefully by the noisy ones. Adding to the quiet element at the campground is the necessary control of pets. Not only keeping pets quiet, but also leashed and cleaned up after.
Don't borrow a picnic table (if provided) from another campsite. If a site's table is missing or broken, inform the campground management for a replacement. Dragging a picnic table from another site will simply create a domino effect of arguments as campers arrive at their sites and discover no table.
Regarding the story that started this blog post, the next morning, I noticed the teens walking the campground lane towards the designated, lake-access pathway. As the boys passed by the disgruntled camper that their father shared a heated discussion with the day before, he waved to the boys and thanked them for staying on the road. They waved back and smiled. Breaking posted and common sense camping rules does not have to be endured to the point of tarnishing the camping trip. A few words shared with park personnel or directly to the complaint source, stressing the lack of camping etiquette, may keep the camp a happy one.