Comment: Free Camping

Submitted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:41
ThreadID: 102140 Views:2458 Replies:7 FollowUps:8
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The issue of toilet paper littering many bush campsites leads me to feel that ALL campers in camps without facilities should be self contained. Even tent campers can have a portable toilet! If you have no loo -don't bush camp. And if we don't self regulate in this way bush camping will be taken from us.
I would support a system of "self contained" certification for RVs and "limited self contained" for tent campers, camper trailers etc who have there own toilets .
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Reply By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 11:00

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 11:00
Hi Berylvt,

I agree there is a problem but the last thing we need is more bureaucracy.

But how do we stop the clowns who create the mess; the ones who do the wrong thing now will keep doing so regardless of regulations etc. If they had a porta loo they would probably empty that in the middle of the camping area.

Its seems some enjoy being anti establishment or doing the right thing.

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Follow Up By: Member - Joe F (WA) - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 15:03

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 15:03
G'day Phil B

As Berylvt and Michaeljp both state the responsibility for any campsites cleanliness falls directly on the person(s) camping at the site at the time.

Sadly a great number of freedom seekers leave their sensibility back somewhere at the start of their journey, or possibly these freedom seekers have simply been educated poorly right from day one.

I have seen the END result of a group of campers (two families) with their ritzy camper trailers after a couple of days free camping at one of the local waterholes in the Newman region, to say what was left behind was anything but filthy would be under stating the fact, I can only guess the children in these two families would take it as being normal camping etiquette, as taught to them by their parents.

To say these filthy campers are out of the "norm" would be wrong ~ very wrong.

I have absolutely no issue with anyone free camping, using whatever camping style they prefer ~ tent, swag, camper trailer, caravan or motor home, but I have issues with "Filthy" campers.

On a fairly resent prospecting trip in the Nullagine region, a pair of "Off Road" caravan prospector campers, emptied the waste tanks of their vans into an erosion gully leading into a substantial creek, I could go on about the verbal confrontation that occurred but to say the "cat was out of the bag" should cover it, unlike what these filthy buggers didn't cover.

Safe travels and mind your step.
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Follow Up By: Cheeky1 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 16:24

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 16:24
I agree totally Phil. Hence my point below about needing more dump points. Maybe, just maybe the people you encountered would have used a dump point if they were more readily available?
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 18:20

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 18:20
I agree with Phil. I think we need a high profile education programme to raise awareness about how to camp responsibly. Portaloos (we now have one and will use it for the first time on our trip this year - but anyone would be hard pressed to find any of our previous camping spots as we take pride in leaving them clean) only move the poo problem to another place. Why would we expect irresponsible people to use portaloos responsibly if they aren't aware of the hygiene and environmental issues in the first place?

And blaming campers ignores the many places along the major roads, including truck stops, that are truly foul, made that way by ordinary travellers as opposed to campers. I doubt that it would be possible to convince all long distance travellers to carry a portaloo. They dont even carry a folding shovel apparently.

When it comes to disposal of human waste, all that is required is a small shovel and a zip-lock plastic bag to hold used paper. If we could get everyone travelling on the roads to carry and responsibly use those two items most of our problems would be solved. But we have an urban population that is missing a vital ingredient in that equation - EDUCATION. How can we do that, it shouldn't be that difficult?



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Reply By: Michaeljp - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:11

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 13:11
I agree with you on the toilet paper issue, but its not just contained to bush camp sites, its all over Australia. Travel up and down most of the highways around Australia and you'll find toilet paper littering most truck rest areas. I pulled up one night for a quick sleep and had to drive off because of the stench from someones bowel movements in the area.
But i totally disagree with you about every tent camper should have a porta loo with them. Where would a familiy with a station wagon (Patrol or Landcruiser) store it whilst on the road? There is barely enough room in these 2 wagons for camping gear lilltle own a toilet.
It has to come down to educating people about the issue. When was the last time you watched a TV series about traveling the outback and they broached the issue? I cant remember ever seeing it mentioned or if they did it was a 30 second segment.
I agree something has to be done about the issue but carrying a porta loo is not the answer.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 16:40

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 16:40
I carry a Portaloo in my Landcruiser easily. I have it secured in a sealed box (better sealed than in caravans) and simply use it in a shower tent.
I think it should be compulsory that all companies providing hire vehicles include Portaloos.
It isnt so much the toilet paper but the poo that is the problem and it is a really big problem! Certainly something has to be done to stop it.
I am about to embark on another around Australia trip in a week or two and this filth is the one thing I dread.
I simply think that anyone who camps where there are no facilities should be fined a hefty amount if they do not have their own toilet.
I would volunteer to collect the fines.
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Reply By: Cheeky1 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 15:01

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 15:01
I tend to favour Berylvt's argument, but I do think Michaeljp has a valid point. Maybe the solution is for the authorities to strongly encourage self containment, but also put some of our hard earned tax dollars back into the communities and provide more road-side stop and campsite amenities. Now I know there are amenities at a large portion of road-side stops and camp sites through-out the country already, but I would argue not enough! Some of the ones that are there, appear to be either never or rarely maintained - a couple on the Nullabor spring to mind. If they were to provide the amenities, they need to adequately resource the maintenance of them. Additionally, this country needs plenty of dump points for the self contained campers. A good example of a country that does all of this well, is New Zealand. I think it is high time us travellers, RV'ers and campers started making some noise about the issue. I'm sick of walking into the bush at road-side stops and camp sites only to be confronted with peoples waste and toilet paper under every footstep.
AnswerID: 510802

Follow Up By: Michaeljp - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 17:25

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 17:25
Thats a good point Cheeky. More money needs to go back to councils to maintain the long drops in their shire's. Plenty a time Ive pulled up at one to use it only to turn around and walk back out in disgrace at the state of it. Maybe a small percentage of all camping accessories sold or part of the fuel excise the govt takes should go into some sort of fund, to fund the upkeep of roadside public toilets.
FollowupID: 788916

Reply By: Tim - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 18:55

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 18:55
Firstly, I do agree that some free camps are feral. Lets look at some of the suggestions made.
1. Make carrying a toilet mandatory. So it is already illegal to litter (Toilet paper) and that clearly does not work, why on earth would mandatory toilets work? Who has the time to enforce this?
2. Subsidising a cleaning program by the sale of camping gear. So in this case, if I am a caravan park camper or a free camper I still pay the tax. This also presents the problem that it is no longer free camping and because you pay for it through a tax, you then have expectations. You become a customer and then the service provider has an obligation to keep you hqppy. Maybe a user pays system would work better?
3. In this day in age, you get what you pay for. Pay peanuts get monkeys....
4. Like it or not, you have to look at the market that free camps appeal to. Yeah sure some grey nomads and responsible people are in the category but so is some if the scum in society. If you go to a cheap resturant you have every chance of getting lower quality food and service while sharing your meal with some people who you look at and cringe. You spend the cash and go somewhere nice then you expect and demand top service food and atmosphere.

I know this reply will be less then favourable to a lot of people but its the facts. Lobbying the government will result in local councils just banning camping, look at Waverley and Randwick city councils.
AnswerID: 510818

Follow Up By: Cheeky1 - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 21:11

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 21:11
There are lots of valid opinions regarding this topic. None right and none wrong I think. Whatever the approach it has to become engrained in our culture that digging holes or laying them on open ground is just not on. As someone else has already stated at the very least an education campaign needs to be undertaken.
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:53

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 08:53
Good points Tim - you only have to look at your fellow passengers when flying Qantas vs. Jetstar to see that contrast! :-)

And Cheeky, what's wrong with digging a hole? As long as you follow the requirements (eg. at least 30cm deep, at least 200m from any watercourse, fill it in when you're done, etc.).

I disagree with Berylyt suggesting everyone should carry a toilet (unless my shovel counts?!) - unless you think it is reasonable for a hiker to carry his/her own portaloo, you are then effectively outlawing hiking.
FollowupID: 789055

Reply By: eric t - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 20:23

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 20:23
Dig a hole will help and cover properly will help not the solution though
AnswerID: 510823

Reply By: cookie1 - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 08:31

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 08:31
Sorry, I can't go along with carrying a Portaloo but agree whole heartedly something needs to be done

I have been taught that you dig a good size hole, do the business and fill the hole back in, mother nature will do her thing via decomposition. I have also now started to set the paper alight, if it is safe to do so, prior to filling the hole.

We already pay taxes when we purchase tents etc (GST) and I think that we need to make some noise about this to our MPs given that they are committed to saving the environment.

What I can't stand though is where parents change kids nappies and leave them next to a watering hole AKA Running Waters as they do not burn and we were unable to carry them out. This will definitely lead to us being shut out of these areas as they have cattle on the property.

I think that education is the key as I think that some people, not all, just aren't aware of what they should do, in particular the hire car companies.

AnswerID: 510846

Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 13:12

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 13:12
Hi to all in this debate.
It has recently been on another Forum.
It is a disgrace & we can't stand it either but it is not always us.
Those of us who do this need to lift their game.
There is the Feral side of human nature in many walks of life.
They don't pay taxes but for whatever excuse they think that we owe it to them & they'll do what they like with it. What can you do with these type of people. We certainly don't condone it.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
FollowupID: 788992

Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 13:27

Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 13:27
P. S.
I should also have said that there are people who don't want to learn. There are the good & the bad in all walks of life but the ones who want to Poo on our society literally do.
We rarely free camp but you go into a caravan Park & you're crammed in so tightly & can't have the sense of freedom many people go camping for.
Take care, safe travels.Ma
AnswerID: 510875

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