5 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Responsibly
One of the most important things that you can do as you venture into the outdoors is to practice ethical behavior. What does that mean and why is it important? Practicing ethical outdoor behavior means that you act with sustainability in mind. Ethical behavior helps preserve the natural resources that we all enjoy for generations to come.
Now that might seem like a big ask to some. But in reality, it doesn’t take a monumental effort to practice ethical outdoor behavior! Here are 5 easy ways you can do your part to making sure that the natural resources we all love stay healthy for years to come.
1. Stay on Trail
Trails are an excellent way to experience the outdoors. You get immersed into nature while also getting a good workout! It’s important to stay on trails, because it concentrates the impact that people have on wilderness by limiting where people walk to the trail only.
When you walk off trail, you cause unnecessary erosion to the land that can take years to fix. So do your part by staying on the trail when hiking!
2. Pack it in Pack it out
When you’re out on an outdoor adventure, it’s totally understandable to bring along a few snacks. Nothing quite tastes better than a bag of Skittles after playing outside all day! But make sure that when you finish those Skittles, or any other food you take with you, that you plan on bringing the trash out with you.
This includes fruit leavings too! Just because it’s biodegradable doesn’t mean that it’s going to break down quick enough to not impact the local animals.
3. Be Fire Smart
While wildfire is a necessary and natural event, don’t be the cause of one! Man-made wildfires have been some of the most damaging fires in history and the sad part is that they are very avoidable.
Be sure to only light your campfire in an established campfire ring or pit. When you’re done, be sure to bury and drown out your fire. Don’t leave until it is cool to the touch.
4. Only Take Pictures
While it might be tempting to pocket a pinecone or a rock to commemorate your trip, taking those resources out of the wilderness depletes them over time. Consider what you’re doing and ask yourself “what if everyone did this?” If everyone who visited a national park took a rock from it, the park would be stripped bare in a matter of months!
Instead of taking things out of the wild, just take pictures. They last much longer and accomplish the same goal of remembering an excellent day outside.
5. Respect Wildlife
One of the most damaging things that people do to wildlife is feeding them. It might seem cute to feed a roo or a Koala, but when you do that, it makes them dependent on humans for food. As a result, they lose out on their foraging skills and start to associate humans with food.
That is the number 1 cause of animal related injuries to humans in the wilderness. Animals get used to people feeding them and then become aggressive. Often times after an animal attacks a human, it is euthanized to prevent further attacks. So what started as a perceived act of love can actually lead to an unintended and unnecessary death.
As recreating outside has become increasingly popular in the last several years, it’s important to remember to act ethically while outside. Be sure to always consider the question “if everyone did this behavior, what would the outcome be?” If everyone does their part to making sure that they leave where they recreate better than they found it, our natural resources will be around to enjoy for many more years to come!