“Mother Earth can live without us, but we can’t live without her.” This is something I continually remind myself and it’s very true. The world would continue to go ‘round if we weren’t here. After all, there wouldn’t be any cities and roads being built, littering, or pollution from huge factories and vehicles.
We make our mark all throughout Mother Nature, whether it be in urban or rural areas, through hiking, ATVing, skiing, and other leisure activities. We build campsites, picnic areas, parks, info buildings, lookouts, tourist attractions of any sort, and so much more in the most EPIC locations, so we can all get out and enjoy what we have been graciously gifted with.
However, we need to remember that Mother Earth has never invited us to do what we do. It’s better to be proactive than try to reverse the effects our actions may have on nature down the line. We must treat our planet with the utmost respect and be very conscious while we are on our adventures.
Things we can do:
Watch the weather report – Weather can change quickly. We can get excited about plans and the thought of having to cancel any trip or activity isn’t always fun, but being smart is necessary. It’s too often that people go out onto trails and get stuck in bad conditions, then have to call on emergency teams or have terrible experiences that may put themselves at risk of injury. Respect the forecast and don’t get too ahead of yourself. It’s okay to have to reschedule or make alternate plans.
Pick up after ourselves – Pack OUT what you pack IN. This is a must. When you are out on the trail hiking, backcountry camping, or walking around in any natural area, be sure to pack out whatever you bring with you. Carry a plastic baggy with you to stash your garbage in. Also, if you come across any garbage that isn’t your own, it’s great to be the bigger person and pick that up, too. Clean up all your own litter and waste when you leave your campsite at the end of your time there, keeping in mind the next people that are coming to enjoy it.
Be pet smart – Make sure that when you are traveling with your pet, you are respecting those around you. Pick up after your dog, always carry ‘waste bags’ with you, and dispose of them in proper trash cans. Be aware of dog friendly/dog prohibited trails and campgrounds and respect those areas. Also, be sure to keep your dog on-leash while out in the woods, or at your campsite, to prevent unnecessary wildlife encounters.
Don’t feed the wildlife – SO important. As cute as the little critters may be, don’t feed them, as it makes them more and more friendly toward future hikers. It’s also not always good for them to eat human food. Wandering off trails can also lead you to more possible encounters with wildlife depending on the area in which you are hiking, so stay on the main trail.
Respect rules/guidelines when hiking – Stay on the marked trail whenever possible, and keep an eye out as you go – some trails are a lot less evident than others. Don’t veer off into areas that aren’t marked if you don’t have to; this prevents unnecessary damage to vegetation. During wildflower season, the flowers truly are beautiful, but they aren’t meant to be picked – don’t take anything with you off the trail. Leave them where they are, and simply take photos to enjoy later. Also, don’t move any rocks if you don’t have to, as it could cause a possible rockslide or increase the danger for those coming behind you.
Campground rules – If you are at a campground that is busy, be respectful of those around you, so they too can enjoy it. Know the quiet times and abide by it by avoiding turning music up too loud at night or talking loudly by the campfire if other people are nearby. If there are shower facilities, picnic grounds, washing tables and more, respect them by leaving them clean for the next person. Also, watch your driving while out camping for the sake of the wildlife and other people. Take it upon yourself to learn the rules of the area and pay attention to any signage.
This past weekend I went hiking out West with just my pup Timber again, and we camped close by at a campground called Willow Creek. There are many things you can do while you are our camping to respect the area around you, leaving it great for those coming next to enjoy. I did list a couple above, though here are some more detailed things to keep in mind when setting up your gear at camp.
Tent – I brought with me the Coleman 8 Person Prairie Cabin 8-Person Tent. If you are allocated a certain place/area make sure you stay in this spot, and if not, find a place that’s clear. Do not set up your tent on fragile vegetation, anywhere with lots of insects, or with any overhanging branches that could be a danger. Always be sure to keep your tent zipped up when you leave your area to prevent any insects/animals from crawling in.
Stove – My Coleman HyperFlame FyreSergeant Stove is so great for camping. Make sure you set up your stove outside your tent and on a stable surface like a picnic table or a stand. I often set it up out the back of my trunk at the site if there is no picnic table or stable surface. Make sure to always keep heat away from any material that could catch on fire. When you’ve finished cooking, put all your dishes in a bowl and take them to a designated washing area, if there is one at your campground.
Cooler – I brought with me the Coleman 62 QT Wheeled Xtreme Cooler. Keep your cooler stored in your vehicle when you are not at the campground. NEVER leave food inside your tent if you are in bear country, and always store food securely after you’ve used it to avoid attracting any wildlife to your site. Seal open bags and be aware of bear bins if there are any available at your campground as well. Be respectful of those around you and follow the rules, as you are not only putting yourself in harm’s way, but putting others at risk as well.
Lawnchair – My Coleman XL Broadband Chair comes with me everywhere. Again, make sure you are setting up your lawn chair in an area that’s not fragile to avoid killing any vegetation.