Nature is a wonderful gift, and the rest we have remaining in the world must be taken care of. That means significant political action to reign in wide-scale industrial damage, yes–but we can also do our part. Your individual care for nature while outdoors will make a noticeable difference.
Avoid Feeding Wildlife
Everybody loves animals. Who doesn’t love seeing all the amazing creatures that our forests, plains, mountains, swamps, and beaches have to offer? From the dangerous to the delightful, being able to observe animal behavior is one of the simple joys of the outdoors.
That’s why you need to be careful; many people want to interact with local fauna by offering food. This almost always will damage the environment by eventually making the animals dependent and expectant of human food. This changes their hunting, gathering, and scavenging behavior, and is thus bad for the ecosystem. It also is usually bad for their health.
Leave No Trace
This classic scout refrain has been used for decades for a good reason. Responsible outdoorsmen will be conscious of what they leave behind, no matter if they are on a beach with dozens of other people right next to a well-developed city or whether they are deep in the wilderness alone.
Litter pollutes the local soil and water and can kill local plants and animals that try to consume it. Even biodegradable substances should not be dumped in large amounts. Be mindful of fire when camping; you should never leave a hot fire at your campground. Make sure to pick up all equipment, refuse, and forgotten items before leaving anywhere.
Listen to the Rules and Guidelines
If a national park tells you to either do or not do something, it is for a reason. Those who ignore fire mandates or laws against fireworks end up being the cause of gargantuan forest fires that can cause terrible destruction. If you’re supposed to keep out of a certain area, it is because your safety cannot be guaranteed. The same applies when you are told to keep to a given path. Many people get excited at the thought of exploring, going off on their own, and ignoring warnings–but by the time you regret such a decision, it might be too late.
Rules and guidelines might not even be for your sake, but for the sake of local flora and fauna. Even when inconvenient you should always make an effort to obey. If everyone did so, nature would be in a much better state.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Here’s more to read: “How to Enjoy a Trip to the Appalachian Mountains”
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