In recent years, a remarkable transformation has been underway in the world of the outdoor hospitality industry, as campgrounds across the globe embrace eco-friendly practices and sustainable initiatives to preserve the environment while offering unforgettable experiences in nature.
While sustainability remains a complex and pressing issue, associations and campground owners are now placing a greater emphasis on minimizing their ecological footprint, using eco-friendly construction materials to ensure facilities blend harmoniously with their natural surroundings.
According to a report by the National Library of Medicine, recreational activities in natural areas can affect a range of environmental components including soils, vegetation, and wildlife which will gradually lead to lasting and irreversible effects.
“Camping activities can induce significant and often localised resource impacts that can affect soil, vegetation, wildlife, and water with the severity of such impacts varying on the use level,” the report indicated.
“While campsite impacts do not threaten the ecological integrity of the entire area, they can result in serious localised resource damage and potentially affect the quality of visitor experience.”
Green Efforts in the Outdoor Hospitality Industry
Last year, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) awarded Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in Santee, California, and Cuervo Mountain RV Park and Horse Hotel in Stanley, New Mexico with the Plan-It Green Friendly Park of the Year Award for large/mega parks and small/medium park category respectively.
The ARVC Plan-It Green Friendly Park Program is designed for parks committed to reducing their environmental impact through eco-friendly practices, encouraging and recognizing parks’ environmental responsibility and sustainability in their operations.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, known for their Yogi Bear-themed destinations, are progressively embracing measures to safeguard the environment and advocate for sustainability.
Their efforts range from extensive tree planting to the adoption of water and energy conservation practices. The goal is to create a forest for guests to enjoy and reduce the park’s carbon footprint as a company, pioneering eco-friendly initiatives throughout the United States and Canada.
Meanwhile, Kampgounds of America (KOA), under its initiated Kamp Green program, recognizes the importance of considering environmental, economic, and social factors to sustain resources and prevent depletion of the ozone layer.
“Kampgrounds of America believes in celebrating the great outdoors, and part of that celebration means taking good care of it,” as stated on KOA website. “That is why KOA is dedicated to promoting and supporting eco-friendly practices across its locations.”
KCN’s parks are on track to achieve the Kamp Green certification. The company has rolled out improvements that include LED light bulbs, recycled and low-impact products onsite, and even a solar hot water heating system as a trial that could potentially be extended across all parks in the portfolio.
The KOA approach to sustainability focuses on energy and water conservation, efficient waste management, and educational initiatives, stating, “by preserving vital resources like land, trees, and water, campgrounds will remain vibrant and thriving for the next generation to enjoy.”
But that doesn’t just end there! Both campgrounds and campers now, more than ever, embrace eco-friendly practices and sustainable initiatives. From energy efficiency to recycling programs and awareness campaigns, all these efforts play vital roles in the eco-friendly campground experience.
As we move forward, the collective efforts of associations, campground owners, and campers alike promise a greener, more sustainable future for all, where the great outdoors remains a source of awe and inspiration for generations to come.