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National Park Campsite is Trashed with 150 LBS of Rubbish

It’s a story we’ve heard time and again recently, but this one hits different.

Every trashed campsite we’ve reported in 2021 has been on public land, but not inside an actual National Park with an entire ranger staff.

Here’s the scoop.

What National Park Was Trashed?

The incident happened at Arches National Park, one of the busiest parks in America. It’s located in Moab, Utah.

Here’s what the park reported:

“Arches backcountry rangers recently cleaned up an illegal camp full of trash that was discovered in the park. They hauled out 150 pounds of trash to help preserve the beautiful Arches backcountry.”

150lbs is no joke.

We have to believe these were van campers or overlanders due to the sheer amount of trash and the off-grid nature of the site.

In most national parks, camping anywhere other than established campsites is illegal.

What Is A National Park Backcountry?

Backcountry camping is camping done in the wilderness far away from roads or developed areas. 

Moreover, this camping style is primitive camping with no facilities, no designated campsites, and minimal vehicle access. 

Camping in the wilderness is not a sport for inexperienced campers, though. Backcountry activities are for outdoors people with the knowledge and experience to survive without amenities or even help.

You need to know backcountry skills such as wilderness first aid, weather awareness, thermoregulation, and navigation.

About Arches National Park

Arches National Park lies in east-central Utah, just north of the town of Moab. The area has been protected since 1929, first as a national monument. It was officially made a national park in 1971.

Native American history in the area dates back as far as 10,000 years. Little is known about whether any groups permanently settled the land that later became Arches. Local newspaper editor Loren “Bish” Taylor, who wrote extensively about the area’s beauty, led early efforts to preserve Arches. 

These days, Arches hosts more than a million and a half visitors each year. Many are drawn by the unique hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. 

Camper riding on a Scenic road in the red rock canyons during a vibrant sunny day. Taken in Arches National Park, located near Moab, Utah, United States.

Why We Must Leave It Better Than We Found It

One of the greatest benefits of being human is free will. We can choose to follow these 7 leave no trace principles, or we can choose not to. However, if we choose not to, in the long run, we are also choosing to lose the beauty of this planet and everything that it has to offer. 

RV travel is great, but it is more about the destination than it is about the RV itself. We have to leave places better than we found them if we want to continue to have the same access to these places that we love.  

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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  1. keebler says:

    I surely hope they find out who trashed the park==huge fine-Community service picking up trash every day for a year .rain or shine.

  2. john147 says:

    The ones that did this are NOT campers – they are scum and we campers have to patrol all areas for scum – photograph them, report them and unfortunately clean up after them.
    Stay safe, stay healthy.

  3. George W Hamilton says:

    “We have to believe these were van campers or overlanders due to the sheer amount of trash and the off-grid nature of the site.”

    Did you know that there is an ongoing effort by RV park and campground owner organizations to eliminate dispersed camping or sleeping in your vehicle anywhere but in pay to stay rv parks and campgrounds..

    What better way to cast a bad image of nomadic boondockers by paid lobbiests to present evidence before the officials who must decide if laws against this lifestyle should be enacted.
    If we have learned at all from examples of big business and political cronyism it’s just how low and dirty some will go to enrich themselves at our expense.
    Just saying!

  4. shadow says:

    Having visited Arches NP and surrounding areas multiple times in past years, I could see negative actions and attitudes such as this developing over time. Inadequate funding of national parks only contributes as lack of enforcement encourages trashing, illegal camping and operating vehicles across pristine areas.

    We can expect to see an increase in such actions as more people ungrounded in LNT principles continue to surge into the outdoors.

  5. Susan says:

    I would think in all of that trash there must have been records of who did it. Records on envelopes, sales receipts, letters, labels on packages, etc, etc

    They need to look for them, contact the people and file charges, as well as denying them access to National Parks.