With summer well and fully here, us outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the great outdoors and taking part in activities such as hiking and camping. While these are excellent ways to get exercise and enjoy quality time with family and friends, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind so that minimal damage is caused to the environment. Below are some general tips to follow that will allow you to enjoy your time outside in a respectful, environmentally conscious way.
1) First of all, know what you’re getting yourself into and never take-off on a hike without advanced preparation. Check out the weather forecast, be aware of the length and difficulty of the trail you plan to take, and find out if there are any specific rules or regulations that need to be followed.
2) Leave the area looking as good if not better than you found it. Carry a large resealable bag and pick up any trash you might see along the way. Your goal should be to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures, and remember that if you bring it in, take it out.
3) Stick to exploring the outdoors in small groups, and have people disperse throughout the area so as to cause minimal disturbance to the environment. Stick to trails that are already defined, as this will control erosion and help to not disturb the flow of water. When setting up camp, choose a low-impact area which will lessen the impact on the grass. Choose soft-soled shoes if possible, as these limit damage to the ground.
4) When choosing a camp site, stay at least 200ft away from any water sources. It is important to refrain from using soap and other detergents, as this causes ‘gray water’ and will harm any flora or fauna in the area.
5) We all love to build fires while camping, but be aware of how easy it is for them to get out of control. Only use branches that are already on the ground, and never burn plastic or other things like foil, as this will cause noxious chemicals to be released into the air.
6) Keep your gear Eco-friendly and whenever possible borrow, don’t buy. You can get tents made out of recycled materials, and solar powered flashlights, ovens and similar appliances are available for sale as well. Stick to refillable water bottles and reusable kitchenware, and only use organic bug spray, or better yet, citronella candles.
Guest author Malia Anderson is a content specialist and freelance author based out of Greensboro, NC. She enjoys pottery, fixing up her first home, and playing the ukelele.