In Michigan you can camp in the state forrest with a free permit from the Department Of Natural Resources (DNR). This is one of the best ways to camp as far as I am concerned.
I grew up camping this way. From a big surpus army tent in 1949 to our 5th wheel trailer today. One of the things I liked about this was the freedom you had while in the forrest. You can run through the woods and play in the creeks and lakes and no one would bother you. My dad would take us to the forrest in the summer for a camping week. Sometimes we would use a state campground but mostly in the forrest. Dad would leave every morning to go to work. In the evening he would return and mom would have dinner ready for him. After dinner dad and my brother would go fishing in the lake or stream. We fought mosquitos, gnats, black flies and bees. But it was a great time. One of the big things my dad would tell us was that we needed to was leave the forrest better than we found it. We would gather "Pine Knots" from fallen and decaying pine trees. We used them for the fire at night in a fire pit we dug and lined with rocks we picked from the area and made a ring around the fire pit to keep the fire from spreading. When we left the forrest dad would make us take the rocks and scatter them around and then we would carry pails of water from the lake or stream and pour it on the fire pit stiring it up to make sure the fire was out. We never left anything behind. No paper, cans, tarps, cloth nothing. We even dug a "Privy" for the family and then filled it in when we were leaving.
Recently the wife and I with other family members were camping in the forrest close to us with our self contained 5th wheels and campers, over Labor Day weekend. When we knew for sure we were going to camp where we allways do, my BIL and I took our GTs out there and mowed the camping area ( I wrote a post about this earlier) We cleaned up trash others ahd left there and cut up fallen trees and limbs to use for fire wood, generally leaving it better than we found it. As we were running the roads on our 4 wheelers (yes it is legal) close to our camp my wife took a ride on a road where we used to camp, until it got to small for all of us to fit in there, and she found a that there had been a large group of people camping there and they had left it a huge mess. Beer cans, plastic bottles, garbage, and just plain junk. They had taken glass bottles and thrown them at the large limestone rock the DNR had placed there to keep people from riding through the small stream that was just below the area where the road ended. We never would do this because we like to use the area to hunt and ride to and have picnics.
This is where the Littering and Litter Bugs title of this post comes in. I have nothing against people comming in and using the forrest, as I have said I have been using it for nearly 65 years. What really bugs me is that they have no respect for the area and the right to use this area. I am sure they had a great time and it was probably most needed for them to unwind and have a good time. They could of at least cleaned up after themselves and realized that othere use the forrest also. Some people have children who love to run in the forrest and to the small stream. The bottles they smashed were on the trail to the stream. Now I know if the DNR had come there and saw this they would of had to clean it up and put it on a "Close List" to watch to see if the area was being misused and left trashed. This is what they do and eventually they close it off all together making it impossible for us to use it and enjoy it. I just wish I could explain to these people who are using it that if we continue to misuse the forrest we will soon loose the ability to do so.
My wife and I went back and we cleaned the area taking all the trash, cans, bottles and broken glass to the garbage. I hope that people are not generaly like this everywhere in the US and this is just an isolated incident and most people are respectful of our freedoms and privledges we have here.
Sorry for the rant but without telling you where I came from I couldn't get to the problem that I wanted to relate to you. Thanks for allowing me vent a little. Hope you have a great day. Roger.