There is nothing quite like a peaceful hike. Not only are hikes a great way to get some exercise, but they allow you to explore the great outdoors and find some peace and tranquility at the same time.
Some avid hikers have their favorite trails that they hike over and over again while some casual weekend warriors enjoy finding new places to explore each week.
No matter your hiking experience level, it is very important that you always respect the trail and leave things as you find them, if not better. With so many people out enjoying nature, you want to make sure that you leave the landscape as pristine as possible so that everyone can continue to enjoy it.
Here are some tips to help you preserve nature while hiking:
No Littering: For nature enthusiasts, there is nothing as disheartening as seeing the shiny foil of a granola bar wrapper that is stuck in a bush. Some hikers enjoy bringing snacks on their hikes and that is fine but stick to marked picnic areas and make sure to put trash in receptacles. If you eat on the trail, pack your trash away. Your one wrapper or water bottle might not make a huge difference, but if everyone leaves their trash it could destroy the landscape and pose grave risks to the wildlife that call the area home. Please do not litter!
No Sparks, No Fires: Smoking is prohibited at parks, but that doesn’t always keep people from lighting up. And some people will plan a day-long hike with the intent to roast marshmallows or stay warm. Wildfires are no joke, and even when you think you have everything under control you have no idea how quickly a wildfire can develop. Stay safe, and don’t start fires or do anything to spark a fire, especially in dry conditions.
Protect Wildlife: Whenever you are out on a hike it is important to remember that the surrounding area is home to a number of creatures big and small, from squirrels and chipmunks to deer and mountain lions, and even bears and moose. This is their home above all, and you are a visitor. When you stray from the path, you might interfere with their habitats and it can not only cause harm to them, but it can put you in danger as a result. Respect nature, and respect the animals that call it their home.
Stay On The Path: Paths exist for a reason. They help keep hikers from getting lost, and they are also designed to protect the natural landscape by keeping people on one path. There is nothing worse than seeing someone walking through the wildflowers to get to the perfect spot for a photo, leaving crushed flowers in her wake. In an age where people are always trying to get the “perfect” photo for their social media, you might see people stepping off the paths and this is unfortunate because it is never just one person. As soon as one person does it, everyone does.
Leave No Trace: When you go hiking, you should not leave evidence that you were there. Pick up trash when you can, even if it’s not yours. Remember, the more we can do to help preserve nature, the better we can enjoy it.
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