In 2015, over 40 million Americans went camping in some form or another, but nonetheless current trends show that participation in camping has been declining steadily over the past 10 years.
With this summer predicted to be cool and rainy, will camping continue to decline?
This week on Noon Edition we discussed the 2017 camping season, what challenges campers might face this year, new trends in camping and why camping seems to be decreasing in popularity.
Doug Baird, Property Manager of Brown County State Park, spoke on what could be contributing to the decline of camping participation.
“There’s been some research done that indicates that young people are just not getting the opportunities to get out and learn about nature and enjoy nature like they used to. I’m sure a lot of it is due to a loss of places to go,” Baird said. “As urban areas expand and a lot of areas get developed, there’s just not as much places for kids to go out and play in the woods like there used to be.”
David Culp of the Hoosier Backpackers discussed how backpackers try to create as little environmental impact as possible when camping.
“We practice ‘leave no trace’ camping when we backpack, so we make sure we literally leave no trace,” Culp said. “We take everything out with us that we took in, we bury our campfire, and leave it so it looks apparently undisturbed and so forth. You have to respect the country and leave no trace.”
Keith Clay, a professor of biology at Indiana University, noted that while camping and other outdoor activities pose the possibility of tick bites and tick-borne diseases, the benefits are well worth the risk.
Although there were reports of tick counts being higher this year than other, professor Clay has said that he saw no specific data supporting this. Changes in weather patterns and an increased deer population may increase the numbers of ticks this year.
“I would think the advantages, both physically and psychologically, of being in the outdoors, getting exercise and fresh air outweigh the risks, but there certainly are risks,” he said. “It wouldn’t stop me from being outdoors. I plan to be out somewhere this weekend. I’ll check myself, but it will not prevent me and it shouldn’t prevent others either. Just using common sense.”