How to Camp Out & Follow Park Rules
 
06/26/2017 09:27 AM

How to Camp Out and Follow Park Rules

If you are the type who loves the great outdoors, heading to one of our country’s 59 National Parks can be a wonderful weekend getaway. Each park has different rules, so know what to expect beforehand. 

Obeying No Fire Rules

If the park you are planning to visit has a burn ban in place, do not light a fire. Some parks may allow certain types of fires, but not others. Call in advance, or check with the visitor’s center upon arrival. By lighting a fire in a no-fire area, you can face serious fines and charges depending on the current fire warning. 

Keep in mind that restrictions on lighting campfires are always for public safety, and if you start a wildfire you can face up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $ 5,000. A man who set a fire that burned nearly 100,000 acres of California was ordered to pay $60 million in restitution and face 20 years in prison. As always, follow Smokey Bear’s advice, because only you can prevent wildfires. 

Following Park Ranger Instructions

Park rangers are in place to ensure the safety of visitors, to protect the environment, and to enforce the law. Do not disobey their instructions, or you may find yourself facing a hefty ticket, or worse, criminal charges. Remember that Park Rangers have the power to arrest those who violate the Park rules, and National Park Rangers are part of federal law enforcement.

Your Campground is Not Your Private Property

Campgrounds have rules, too. Plan ahead, and know what to expect. Park rangers circulate around campgrounds, and will issue fines if you are not following the rules. Keep the noise down, fires contained, pets leashed, and drive slowly. Also, make sure to properly store and dispose of food, or risk having a visit from a hungry bear. Lastly, pack out what you packed in. Please leave our parks cleaner than you found them.

Fishing and Hunting Licenses

Always pick up your fishing or hunting license before catching or killing dinner. States have different licensing requirements and regulations, so make sure you’re in the know before you go. You don’t want to find yourself at the wrong end of a pricey ticket. 

Hunting Accidents

Operating a firearm or bow is dangerous, and hunting accidents are no laughing matter. Take precautions to avoid seriously injuring or killing someone, and prevent yourself from suffering harm. Take a hunter safety course, always wear hunter orange, and never point your weapon at another person. If you injure someone, you may face fines and/or jail time, as well as personal injury or civil liability claims. If you kill someone, it is very possible that criminal charges related to homicide will follow.

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