Public Service Announcement: Don’t Ruin Mother Nature When You Go Hiking
There is no doubt that you can just find yourself coasting through life and going through the motions if you aren’t careful. Finding ways to break the monotony and to get a dose of something different can be a truly refreshing experience. It is part of what makes hiking such a desirable activity for everyone.
For just a little bit you can put that sidewalk and street far behind your and completely immerse yourself in the wonder and splendor of nature. No matter where you are headed (peaks, rivers, mountains, valleys, etc.) there is always something new to be explored or discovered when you are able to venture off the beaten path of life. In order to preserve all of this splendor and majesty, you have to be willing to do your part not to ruin nature with your presence and keep things just as you found it.
Coming into arguably the peak season (pun intended) for hiking, let’s look at ways to not leave a trace of our presence to ruin the landscape. Check out these do’s and don’ts for quick tips.
1. Leave What You Find And Take What You Brought
An officer of the U.S. Forest Service in North Carolina, Cathy Dowd, suggests that all hikers should commit to the “Leave No Trace” mentality when they ar on a hike. While you might not remember all of these guidelines from elementary school or from your old days as a boy/girl scout, there are two that you really need to keep in mind. Don’t take anything out of the wilderness that you find and don’t leave things that you brought. Both of these risk the habitats and environment in that region, so follow these rules.
2. Get Educated And Show Some Respect
In order to really showcase your commitment to preserving nature, you should educate yourself about planning ahead to ensure that you have the right gear that you need in order to safely hike and to leave as little impact on the area as you are able to. Kindra Ramos (Washington Trails Association) warns about a phenomenon that occurs where people seem to think that civility goes away when hikers get out in the wilderness and that its okay to abandon basic etiquette. Remember that you are not the only one out on the trail, so keep it nice for the hikers to follow.
3. Leave The Wildlife Alone
It might be tempting to pursue some sort of wildlife that you might encounter on the hiking trail but it is very important not to do this. For starters, you could ruin habitats simply by getting off of the designated trail which could have devastating impacts on the lives of countless creatures. Stay on the trail.
What Should You Be Bringing To Leave No Trace?
1. Water Bottle
Don’t get just any water bottle that’s cheap and plastic. Get yourself a nice reusable option so that you can have a designated drinking bottle for every future hike you take (and you do mother nature a favor while you are at it).
2. Bag for Garbage
This will ensure that you have no excuse to leave your trash behind as you navigate the trail. You can also pick up other garbage items that you see that could be taking away from the beauty of the trail.
3. Food Storage Containers
Loose snacks can be easily stored in Beeswax wrapping. It is reusable and eco-friendly.
4. Environmentally Conscious Sunscreen/Bug Spray
Bug spray and sunscreen are often pretty bad for the environment overall. There are natural brands of sunscreen without all the harsh chemicals like Goddess Garden and Stream2Sea. Save money (and Mother Nature) by making your own bug spray out of witch hazel, water and essential oils.
Unsure of what trail is calling your name? Look at this list of the most documented hiking spots on Instagram right now here.