Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 3
Earth- Friendly Recreation N othing feels more Earth-friendly than spending time in nature — hiking, rock-climbing, bird-watching, kayaking and more. However, as more people explore the great outdoors, we face more trash, more humanwildlife interactions and greater risks to natural ecosystems. The National Recreation and Park Association, the Environmental News Network and Backpackers Pantry lays out ways for outdoor lovers to enjoy nature and keep their carbon footprint low and nature natural. USE BIODEGRADABLE PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS Items like toothpaste and soap can negatively affect the environment; in addition to just not being part of that ecosystem, many products contain chemicals that may take a long time to degrade. Find biodegradable products for when you’re backpacking or camping in the wilderness and away from managed facilities and stay at least 200 feet from natural water sources when you use these products. Even water-soluble products like lotions, oils and makeup can pollute water sources. Also avoid chemical insect repellents. LEAVE NO TRACE Trails and campsites should look as unused when you leave them as when you found them. In addition to picking up trash, other ways to ensure you’re doing this includes leaving anything you find (though you can pack other people’s trash out if you find it); minimizing the impact of campfires if fires are allowed where you’re camping; packing out any trash you bring in (including items like toilet paper and food waste); and keeping a good distance from wildlife. STAY ON THE TRAIL Often, the areas surrounding trails are delicate ecosystems that are home to thousands of plants, animals and microorganisms. Hikers tramping through them can harm those ecosystems, speed up soil erosion, contaminate water and put hikers into closer proximity with wildlife. Even one person going off trail can cause damage, so stay on the trail and, whenever feasible, use existing campgrounds. USE PARK-PROVIDED ECOFRIENDLY TRANSPORTATION Many national and state parks have shuttles to move people around. These often run on natural gas or cleaner energy and move more people than individual cars, so whenever possible, use these transit options instead of driving your own car. If that’s not an option, look for bikes or horses as other possible transit option. Also consider carpooling. Fewer cars also means less time spent idling in line to get into parks.