How to Preserve Nature While Hiking and Camping-panergy
Hiking and camping are fun and healthy activities that connect us to nature across the Upstate and beyond. By being extra attentive and proactive, you can help protect the great outdoors for its inhabitants and for future visitors. Here are some of the top ways to preserve nature while enjoying your natural surroundings:
LEAVE NO TRACE
Don’t leave trash laying around. While this should be obvious, trash from snacks, pet waste, or other items is sometimes left scattering trails. If you have trash, be sure to pick it up and take it with you to dispose of properly. If you find trash that someone else left, consider picking it up and disposing of it as well.
Preparing your own granola or trail mix in reusable containers is a great way to cut down on waste and save money. If you plan ahead, you can use local ingredients which even makes your efforts more beneficial for the environment by cutting down on the use of gasoline needed to transport the ingredients.
Millions of tons of plastic water bottles that make their way into the oceans and landfills every year. Don’t contribute to the problem. Take along water in a reusable water bottle. A BPA-free water bottle can provide years of quality use while reducing waste.
PROTECT WATER SOURCES
Water is our most used natural resource. If you need to wash dirty camping dishes, use your own water away from streams or other shared water sources. If you need to go to the bathroom, do so at least 200 feet away from water sources and dig a cat hole, making sure to cover the cat hole afterwards.
PREVENT FOREST FIRES
Use caution with campfires. Spending time around a fire can be fun and relaxing, but be sure you keep the fire small and safe. Make sure there is a well-built border and build your fire on a bed of rock or ashes. Ensure the fire is completely extinguished afterwards.
WATCH WHERE YOU CAMP
If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to make camp in a used campsite. Pitching a tent on grass can result in long-term damage. When you use an established campsite, you are also separating yourself from wildlife that may call the forest or other habitats home.
STAY ON THE TRAIL
When you wander even slightly off the trail, your foot traffic can cause significant damages. Others behind you will likely see the squashed flora and follow suit, causing even more damage. This will widen the trail, cause wash-outs, and result in multiple trails covering the backcountry.
TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOS AND MEMORIES
Don’t take rocks or plants as mementos. Removing naturally occurring items can disturb the natural habitat and ecosystem.