While I was camping last month in the Smoky Mountains, I was appalled to watch as our camping neighbors gathered a large tub of river rocks to take home with them. I was further surprised to learn that the “taking” of native plants is so widespread that it’s actually causing an imbalance of those ecosystems – causing some plants to become more and more rare.
I wholly encourage all of you to get out there and find something new. Spend time with your family and friends. Go somewhere different. Explore and challenge yourself. Stop and experience the world around you. But do it responsibly!
Here are a few helpful websites with outdoor activities and ideas to help you minimize your impact on nature while you’re exploring.
Leave No Trace is a wonderful organization that explores “active stewardship of the outdoors”. The site teaches how to be more aware of our impact on nature as we spend time enjoying it.
The National Wildlife Federation has a fantastic resource called “Be Out There” that lists tons of activities and things to do while outdoors.
The USDA Forest Service has some helpful checklists for camping and hiking. There are also some great tips for a better experience while outdoors.
How do you keep your impact to a minimum while spending time outdoors?