A lot of outdoor exploration tips are pretty obvious: Don’t pet bears, keep fires away from flammable stuff, pick up after yourself, and if you prank your buddy in the middle of the camping trip, make sure you take a lot of pictures.
Some things, though, are less obvious. So here are three important things to do while exploring the outdoors to help keep it wild and pristine:
- Clean clothing, pets, and gear before and after being in the wild to avoid transferring invasive plants and insects. ****Seeds, spores, pathogens, and bugs easily cling to things and can devastate other ecosystems when dropped in the wrong place.
- Dump liquid in designated areas, or pack it out. Protect important waterways by dumping liquids in designated areas and/or at least 60 m/200 ft away from water sources. And, yes, this goes for where you squat, too.
- Stay on the trail. Going off-trail can be really exciting, but be mindful about when and how you step off the beaten path. Doing so can damage important plants, and if one person does it, others are more likely to follow. Over time this can cause serious erosion, washouts, and unofficial “trails” that can cause others to mistakenly wander into unsafe areas.