The Perfect Campsite
Montana is blessed with awesome campsites. Our state and federal agencies maintain wonderful campsites throughout Big Sky Country.
When using more “primitive”, remote sites it is important to consider more than just the scenery.
- First, Think Safety. Look for standing dead trees and overhead debris. A falling dead snag is bad news.
- Think about critters. If camping near water, remember that nocturnal beasts use these areas routinely. A storm that is miles away can cause fast flooding.
- If near marshes or other wetlands, it is a pretty good bet that bugs will be there too. Montana mosquitos grow antlers and can really ruin a campout. Ants, flies, and other insects will deserve your attention also, snakes!!!! Need I say more except maybe BEARS!!!
- Do a search before setting up your camp. During a canoe trip down the Missouri River, we beached at a campsite and quickly discovered 24 mean rattlers that were there first. We camped on an island.
- Demonstrate minimal impact techniques. Avoid chopping and nailing into the trees. Find creative and discreet ways to prepare your site.
- Fire safety is paramount. Wind can quickly blow fires out of control. Have a full fire bucket handy. Use existing fire rings or construct one with ample rocks. When putting your fire out, do the Smokey Bear procedure completely. We don’t want to love our campsites to death. Pack out all of your trash and dispose of it properly.
- Not all sites have outhouse comfort stations and yes, mammals do poop in the woods. Scat is an attractant to predators so think about waste disposal.
- Always cook away from your campsite so the smells are limited. Bear protection is a good idea. It works on more than bears.
As an Eagle Scout, I was taught to leave a campsite better than you found it!