Photo Credit: Chiefswood Park

By Cheliza Crawford

With all the chaos of a worldwide pandemic, it can be easy to forget what it’s like to unplug and relax. Getting outside and exploring our beautiful planet offers an escape from daily distractions and an opportunity to get some much needed Vitamin D, so why not go camping this summer? When most people think of camping, they might picture tents, cabins or even hoards of RVs parked in a remote area where fires roar and families gather.

What if there was a way to get even more out of your vacation? Instead of leaving with only fond memories and a longing for more time, take home a new understanding and appreciation for the world around you.

Camp, but do it more consciously. This doesn’t mean you have to go completely off the grid, but instead make your camping experience a comfortable and positive one for the whole family and the environment. The best way to learn how to create a low-impact camping experience is to consult the experts.[signinlocker id=”6837″]

Many Indigenous Peoples have an extensive history with low-impact living and camping. From the lush forests of British Columbia to the chilly winds of the Northwest Territories, Indigenous Peoples maintain their low-impact living in many different climates to this day. Committing to staying at a campground that places a high priority on the environment, while at the same time educating its campers about the land and the people who have lived there for centuries, is the first step in conscious camping.

There is no shortage of campgrounds to choose from, but to give you a head-start on some options, here is a short-list that captures the ethics of conscious camping.

If pure relaxation is your goal, why not try Chiefswood Park on Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada, which focuses on providing a cozy, educational and inventive Haudenosaunee experience. Chiefswood Park sits adjacent to the homestead of E. Pauline Johnson and down the road from a traditional Haudenosaunee longhouse. See the magnificent Grand River and learn about the traditional dwellings of the Haudenosaunee.

If you want more adventure out of your vacation, Spirit Bear Lodge on Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada, offers a one-
of-a-kind feat. A simple plane and boat ride will take you to a breathtaking place situated in the Great Bear Rainforest. Get an opportunity to see the sacred Spirit Bear. Keep in mind you can only hike and view the natural beauty in the Great Bear Rainforest because at Spirit Bear Lodge they make sure not to harm or remove anything from the natural environment around them.

If something more adrenaline-inducing is what piques your interest, then B Dene Adventures on Dettah First Nation, Northwest Territories, Canada, is the place for you. Learn about the Dene people and how their deep and intimate understanding of the land has helped them live in the remote lands of subarctic Canada. Witness the magic of the Aurora Borealis while listening to stories of the Dene people. With two full-size teepees on-site you can learn how the Dene people lived, travelled and left no trace as they spent centuries moving around the Northwest Territories.

All across Turtle Island, many areas have merely been glanced at by industrialism but still maintain a majority of their green lifestyle. These areas need to be protected and appreciated. Vacationing is essential for our overall well being—doing it responsibly is essential for our world’s well being. Everyone can make a difference in their own way by simply thinking beyond themselves and putting those thoughts into action. Being conscious about the little things gives the opportunity to make a small but significant change. Together we can make the world an abundantly greener place for generations to come.

Conscious camping is a great way to foster positive connections between people who seek relaxation in nature and connection
to nature itself. So the next time you’re planning a getaway in the luscious green landscape this planet has to offer, make sure you’re doing it consciously.[/signinlocker]

Cheliza Crawford is a proud member of both the Ojibwe of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee. She is Makwa Dodem (Bear Clan) and is the newest member of the SAY Magazine team as an intern and content creator.