To experience the wonders of the wilderness while helping preserve nature for generations to come, follow these tips.
1. Use your vehicle in wild areas as little as possible.
Recent research has shown that the noise and activity around busy roads can have a detrimental impact on songbirds. If you’re taking a day trip or going camping in a wild area, avoid driving your vehicle to reach the more secluded spots. Leave your vehicle in an established parking area and hike into the wilder places.
2. Don’t just hug the trees, but protect them, too.
Many camping activities harm trees by damaging their bark. Thin-barked trees are especially susceptible to damage from hammock ropes, tent guys, and lantern hangers. Never use rope by itself around tree trunks, but pad under the rope with burlap sacks, bandanas, or other similar cloth. You can also run rope through cut sections of garden hose for protection or purchase specially-designed rope anchors and lantern hangers that are specifically made to protect trees.
3. Leave the plastics at home.
There are few materials that can inflict more damage on the natural world than carelessly discarded plastics. If you must bring any plastics with you, be sure to pack them out when you leave camp. This includes plastic water bottles–a staple for many campers and hikers. A great alternative to this is buying reusable water bottles, which can save you money in the long run without putting the environment at risk. If you’re looking for a convenient way to hydrate on a long hike, use an orvis.com promo code for a water bottle with a built-in filtration system. With a filtration system, you can refill your bottle on the trail and not have to worry about carrying extra water with you.
4. Keep to the trails as much as possible.
Too much foot traffic in wild areas will trample sensitive vegetation and disturb wildlife habitat. Many woodland creatures nest on the forest floor, and many native wildflowers are rare and endangered. Be part of the solution by keeping to established trails and by following game trails if you opt to do any off-trail exploring. Step carefully when you’re off trail to avoid crushing native plants and ground nests.
5. Be smart about wood.
Don’t bring firewood from home into the forest. You may inadvertently introduce non-native diseases or pests into the area, putting the local trees at risk of severe injury or death. Collect tinder and firewood on site where you’re camping, and know which types of wood will burn clean. In fire-prone areas, avoid using softwoods like pine or spruce that send lots of sparks as they burn. Oak, hickory, or maple will burn cleaner and hotter.
These are just a few tips on protecting nature as you enjoy its wonders. Your local forest rangers and outdoor outfitters have many more recommendations to guide you in enjoying the outdoors while protecting it, too.
Article courtesy of Emma Sturgis