The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking campers to “go green” this season by participating in the department’s Camp Green pilot program.

The Camp Green program encourages park guests to follow environmentally friendly and energy-efficient practices while visiting Michigan state parks and recreation areas, the Soo Evening News, Sault Ste. Marie, reported.

There are 10 locations participating in this pilot program: Aloha, Cheboygan, Clear Lake, Onaway, Port Crescent, Seven Lakes, Tawas Point, Traverse City and Wilson state parks, plus Bay City State Recreation Area.

Campers will be given information on how to camp green and will be asked to pledge to become a steward of Michigan’s environment. In order to successfully “camp green,” guests will be asked to:

  • Turn off the air conditioning when it is not absolutely necessary, and don’t leave doors and windows open when the air conditioner is operating.
  • Make sure lights are turned off during the daytime and not left on after a camper retires for the evening.
  • Ensure water is used sparingly by taking shorter showers and not leaving faucets running while brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Properly dispose of gray water and sewage, and not dump it on the ground.
  • Not burn trash in the fire circle.
  • Recycle at the park.

DNR Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson said that electricity is the largest utility expense for Michigan state parks and recreation areas, and it’s a key focus of the Camp Green effort.

“Over the years, many campers have traded in their tents for larger, recreational vehicles usually outfitted with air conditioners,” Olson said. “Air conditioning is the largest consumer of electricity in the parks.”

Olson explained that Camp Green supporters will be given a “reality check” list to assess how green they camped. Anyone who fills out the registration pledging to camp green, and sends in the checklist to one of the 10 participating parks, will receive a window cling for his or her vehicle.