Section Camp Sustainability Practices

The ACC Calgary Section is committed to putting on a section camp that is both “epic” and sustainable! We’ve implemented a number of actions to help mitigate the environmental impact of our annual camp. Learn more about some of our sustainability best practices below: 

Camp choice:

When choosing a location for the Calgary section camp each year we tend to try and follow where the National’s GMC (General Mountaineering Camp) is heading. This allows us to set up our camp in an area that has already been cleared, rather than creating multiple areas of disturbance. We re-use the areas that have already been used by the GMC to set up larger (e.g. kitchen tent) and personal tents.  The Calgary section keeps its camp small – a maximum of 12 participants each week – which helps lower impact. 

We also try to choose locations where helicopter flights are short and where we can share the helicopter (i.e. shuttle) with other groups.

Leaving enough time for the land to recover between camps is another consideration. When the Calgary section knows that a GMC or other section or organization has held a camp in an area we try to not return for several years to allow for the alpine environment to recover.

Getting to camp:

When participants head out to the staging area for the camp we encourage as many people as possible to car pool.

We also limit the weight that people take into the camp location so that we don’t run the risk of having an extra flight to carry additional loads into camp. This helps reduce our fuel consumption and also keeps costs lower for our participants – a win-win!

While at camp:

As part of standard camp practice, we use biodegradable dish soap to clean our dishes and cookware and we contain grey water to one area. We also have one location for a toilet – a large pit toilet – where waste is buried. Toilet paper is burned rather than burying it with the waste. The camp has previously assessed flying out the waste with an environmentalist, but due to the heavy weight of the waste material (approximately 1/3 of the weight of the food we fly in), this would significantly increase the required weight we have to fly out and thus our fuel consumption. As well, if flown out the waste would sit in a non-biodegradable garbage bag back in a landfill, minimizing the decomposition process. Of course, we are always open to other ideas and best practice information.

As well, while at camp we ensure that we keep recyclable materials separate from garbage. It separated, cleaned up and then recycled appropriately once camp is over.

Have any additional sustainability considerations for the Calgary Section Camp? We’d love to hear about it! Send your ideas and best practices to