Kamp Green

For over 50 years, KOA has been providing quality outdoor hospitality and will continue that mission going forward with a dedication to promoting and encouraging environmentally friendly campgrounds and camping practices.

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KOA’s Kamp Green Program

Kampgrounds of America believes in celebrating the great outdoors, and part of that celebration means taking good care of it. That is why KOA is dedicated to promoting and supporting eco-friendly practices across its locations. The “Kamp Green” program began in 2010, and it encourages KOA owners and camping guests to adopt environmentally-friendly practices. And as new sustainable technology, product or ideas come available the program will continue to grow and embrace these new ideas.

KOA leadership understands sustainability is a simple concept but a complex process — to sustain resources and avoid depletion, a campground must consider all environmental, economic and social factors involved. KOA Campgrounds include 75,000 sites and growing, putting KOA in a unique position as protectors and conservators of over 10,000 acres of land in the United States and Canada. That means small actions add up and make a significant difference.

A Commitment to Sustainability

The KOA approach to sustainability focuses on commitment to energy and water conservation, waste management and education. After all, KOA and camping are built upon a love of the great outdoors. By preserving vital resources like land, trees and water, campgrounds will remain vibrant and thriving for the next generation to enjoy.

KOA commits to sustainability through:

  • Educating and inspiring: Eco-friendly campgrounds work to educate colleagues, campers and kids about the value of preserving natural resources through events, demonstrations, outreach programs and active stewardship. Kamp Green campgrounds inspire others by giving and volunteering in ways that support a healthy natural environment and the surrounding community.
  • Doing the work: KOA does the work by engaging in energy and water conservation efforts and waste management programs to be good stewards of the land.
  • Being exemplary: Kamp Green campgrounds set the example for others by taking risks, experimenting with new efforts and finding innovative and creative ways to care for and give back to the planet.

The Process for a Campground to Become Kamp Green Certified

 

KOA awards Kamp Green certifications through a points-based scorecard process. Campgrounds can earn up to 48 points total for completing specific tasks that promote sustainability and stewardship. To become Kamp Green certified, a campground must reach and maintain a minimum of 29 points.

 
The Process for a Campground to Become Kamp Green Certified

Campgrounds can earn up to 48 points total for completing specific tasks that promote sustainability and stewardship.

 

Points are available in each of the following categories.

Educate

Educating campers, coworkers and communities is critical for spreading environmental awareness and teaching the next generation what it means to act sustainably. To earn points in the education category of the Kamp Green certification scorecard, a campground engages in one or more of the following:

  • Regularly reviewing all technical, educational and support information pertaining to environmental subjects provided by KOA and other authoritative sources.
  • Providing a fun and educational program for kids that focuses on sustainability or environmentally-friendly practices.
  • Providing educational resources or events for adult campers about successful green camping.
  • Staying up-to-date on new information, innovations and options for sustainable practices.

Inspire

Inspiring others to make better, greener choices is a core principle of the Kamp Green certification program. Kamp Green campgrounds with points from this category have completed one or more of the following tasks:

  • Given back to environmentally supportive organizations, funds, programs and efforts, like park or wildlife sanctuary preservation.
  • Maintained an active membership with a conservation organization.
  • Lead by example by volunteering in local communities.
  • Hosted volunteer events on the campground that support sustainability programs, like Pick Up America.

Do the Work

Doing the work means a campground is taking steps to make tangible, eco-friendly improvements in campground practices, buildings, equipment and processes. Tasks vary from simple and small to larger and more complex. For example, a certified Kamp Green campground might have made changes in these areas:

Energy Conservation

Energy conservation efforts include converting the majority of buildings — like restrooms, offices and lodging — to energy-efficient LED, motion-sensing or timer-based lighting systems and switching to ENERGY STAR-approved appliances, like washers, dryers, coolers and TVs. You might find a solar pool heater or solar lighting in outdoor areas around the campground, like at RV Sites, pools and near pathways.

Energy Conservation

You might find a solar pool heater or solar lighting in outdoor areas around the campground.

Staff may promote conservation efforts by turning office computers off when not in use, using power conservation strips or a smart thermostat and taking advantage of greener transportation options around the campground, like golf carts and bikes. Buildings may have thermal drapes, energy-efficient windows or window graphics to manage heat and air conditioning indoors.

Water Conservation

Campgrounds conserve water by using high-efficiency, low-flow toilets and urinals and energy-efficient showerheads and sink faucets with controlled flow rates in all restrooms and kitchens. When possible, WaterSense-approved appliances replace outdated models.

A pool cover prevents evaporation and minimizes water waste. For landscaping, expect water recycling systems that capture rainwater for reuse or renew gray water for vegetation irrigation. Campgrounds may also have smart irrigation systems with intelligent controllers or timers to adjust water flow and alert staff if lines break or leak. Plants, shrubs and trees may be regional and drought-tolerant and combined with decorative stone and mulch that require minimal water.

Waste Management

Staff manages and reduces waste by eliminating paper and switching to digital files when possible, and repurposing old employee uniforms, linens and towels. Processes might include designated recycling areas and collection programs for hazardous and electronic materials. Restrooms might have air dryers instead of just paper towels, and water refill stations around the campground promote reusable water bottles instead of single-use ones.

The campground store might sell eco-friendly items, including soap, RV chemicals and reusable or recyclable utensils, packaged in non-plastic shopping bags. The cleaning staff might use non-toxic, environmentally-friendly alternatives with biodegradable packaging, and a campground-wide composting program can create a way to repurpose food scraps and support landscaping.

Strive to Be Exemplary

KOA knows that awareness and leading by example are pivotal for the success of environmental programs. Kamp Green campgrounds might participate in special projects and programs that support the environment and promote sustainable practices, such as:

  • Providing electric car charging stations.
  • Planting bee or butterfly gardens.
  • Managing a community herb or produce garden.
  • Using locally sourced food in on-site restaurants.
  • Hosting educational events, like Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations.
  • Creating and maintaining educational nature trails for campers to enjoy
  • Hosting speakers who promote and educate audiences on sustainable camping.
Strive to Be Exemplary

KOA knows that awareness and leading by example are pivotal for the success of environmental programs.

Some Kamp Green campgrounds might have won awards for sustainability-based community work or earned green accreditations through governing bodies. Possible large-scale projects include historic restoration, remodeling buildings and amenities using green materials and practices, installing alternative energy sources or scheduling regular campground-wide energy audits to identify and fix energy drains.

Some campgrounds have chosen to invest in water studies to create healthier waterways for wildlife and guests. You might even see decorative signs of these practices at campgrounds, like waste repurposed into fun sculptures, planters, furniture or birdhouses.

Join Us in Our Commitment to Greener Camping

KOA is committed to sustainability and understands that campers are excited to support campgrounds that align with their environmental goals and practices. Once reviewed and approved, Kamp Green campgrounds have earned the right to display the Kamp Green logo, making them easy to identify. Earning a leaf is not easy, and owners are always on the lookout for innovative new projects – both big and small – to protect the environment. Campgrounds also get a Kamp Green flag, staff buttons and marketing materials to let visitors know they are staying at a location that takes active steps to protect the environment.

Join Us in Our Commitment to Greener Camping
Kamp Green Logo

Once reviewed and approved, Kamp Green campgrounds have earned the right to display the Kamp Green logo.

Green Camping Tips

 

Successful environmentally-friendly camping involves the campground and the camper working together to minimize waste and conserve resources. If you are new to the world of sustainability and outdoor stewardship, these eco-friendly camping tips will help.

1. Use Eco-Friendly Camping Gear

If you are a camping beginner and not quite ready to invest in your own gear, rent or borrow someone else's until you are sure what brands and products you like. Be sure to read product reviews before purchasing, so you know you are making the best investment for your family and camping style.

Choose eco-friendly camping gear options, such as:

  • Rechargeable batteries for flashlights, fans and other devices.
  • Reusable water bottles, plates, utensils and storage containers.
  • Green cleaning supplies and biodegradable soap.
  • Tents, tarps and sleeping bags made from recycled or sustainable materials, free of toxic dyes or coatings.
  • Never rinse or dump wastewater and dishwater into streams, rivers or puddles. Instead, find a drain water basin or carefully disperse it in several different spots, rather than oversaturating the ground in a single area.

2. Walk, Bike and Paddle When Possible

Choose walking or biking instead of driving and kayaking or canoeing instead of boating while exploring local attractions. Vehicle exhaust and fuel leaks threaten local environments and harm human health — and the noise pollution they create can be disruptive in natural settings.

Walk, Bike and Paddle When Possible

Choose walking or biking instead of driving and kayaking or canoeing instead of boating while exploring local attractions.

Motorboats may release chemicals, toxic hull paint, solvents or oil into the water supply. Your boat could even introduce invasive species to the marine ecosystem if your motor has not undergone proper cleaning and inspection. Water pollution can harm water life and may deem the water unsafe for swimming or fishing.

3. Be Mindful of What and Where You Burn

Never burn items outside of the designated fire ring, only burn firewood and do not burn toxic or dangerous items.

4. Hang a Clothesline

Bring a stretchy cord, rope or twine to create a makeshift clothesline between two trees on your campsite. Tie tree straps — like those you would use for a hammock — around the trunk first to protect the bark from damage as you add weight to the line. You can also drape wet towels and clothes over your cabin porch or RV awning rails. Just remember to bring items indoors if rain or strong winds are predicted.

Spritz clothing and towels with an eco-friendly fabric refreshing spray for that fresh, clean smell.

5. Wear Nontoxic Bug Spray and Sunscreen

Sunscreen and insect repellents are necessary parts of camping and outdoor recreation, but they can have unintended consequences on the environment.

Sunscreen contains chemicals like oxybenzone and octocrylene that wash off into oceans and lakes, where it can impair algal growth, accumulate in coral reefs and injure marine life. The same is true of insect repellents, especially those containing DEET. Look for products marked as "coral-reef safe" or "eco-friendly" to do the right thing for your skin and your environment.

6. Cook With Locally-Sourced Foods

Shop for locally sourced food at farmers' markets, roadside stands and shops that carry community-made goods. Choosing locally-sourced, in-season food means your meat and produce have gone through less production and travel to get to you, creating fewer vehicle emissions, minimizing your eco-footprint and creating a safer, higher-quality product. It also can have less or more sustainable packaging than some alternatives.

Shopping local food supports community relations and promotes sustainable agriculture efforts. The more support local farmers receive, the better they can care for their land and keep it from overdevelopment. Locally-grown food fresh from the farm is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local community — and it tastes better, too.

7. Protect Local Trails

When hiking at the campground or nearby parks, stay on designated trails and do not forge new paths through undisturbed areas. Wear soft-soled shoes to minimize soil disturbance and refrain from picking or moving things like flowers, plants and rocks. Do not leave anything behind, including litter or waste.

Protect Local Trails

When hiking at the campground or nearby parks, stay on designated trails and do not forge new paths through undisturbed areas.

8. Practice Composting and Recycling While Camping

Consult your favorite KOA to learn more about recycling and composting policies and locations. At your campsite, pack out all site garbage and separate it into different piles, like trash, recycling and composting, when applicable. Examples of recyclable or compostable products include the following:

  • Recyclable: You can usually recycle cardboard and paper products, rigid plastics, glass bottles or jars, and metal containers.
  • Compostable: Compostables include leaves, grass clippings, non-animal food scraps, pet waste, eggshells, pinecones, used napkins, paper towel tubes, pine needles, used paper coffee filters and paper shopping bags.

You cannot recycle anything soiled or greasy, like pizza boxes and diapers. Also avoid recycling items such as:

  • Recyclable: You can usually recycle cardboard and paper products, rigid plastics, glass bottles or jars, and metal containers.
  • Film plastics.
  • Styrofoam.
  • Plastic shopping bags.
  • Electronic waste.
  • Broken glass.
  • Ceramic.
  • Lightbulbs.

10. Leave Your Campsite the Way You Found It

Leave your campsite the way you found it by practicing the Leave No Trace principles. Examples of responsible camping include:

  • Cleaning up human and pet waste, dirt and trash as soon as possible and not leaving it uncovered overnight.
  • Never, ever littering at the campsite or while hiking.
  • Protecting the trees by bringing roasting sticks and not cutting branches.
  • Keeping lakes and rivers clean when fishing by using lead-free lures and sinkers.
  • Using recycling containers at your KOA or setting up a container in your RV or campsite.
Leave Your Campsite the Way You Found It

Leave your campsite the way you found it by practicing the Leave No Trace principles.

11. Conserve RV and Cabin Energy

You can save energy inside your RV or Camping Cabin by:

  • Keeping windows and doors closed when the AC is on.
  • Turning off the TV and lights when not in use.
  • Reducing fuel in your RV by driving the speed limit, ensuring your rig is the right weight for its size and keeping the tires inflated.
  • Installing proper RV insulation to regulate indoor heating and cooling.

Sustainability and responsible conservation efforts protect and enhance nature, so campers can enjoy the outdoors for generations to come. Find a Kamp Green campground near you to learn more about eco-friendly camping and support this worthwhile initiative.

Find a Kamp Green

Find a Kamp Green Campground Near You