Updated: May 27
More than 10 million people across the country go hiking at least once a month. There are many health benefits associated with hiking including better physical fitness and better emotional health. But think about the impact on the landscape that more than 10 million people can make when they go hiking at least once a month. Over time hikers can do a lot of damage to the environment without meaning to. When you are hiking you should always do these five things to make sure that you aren’t contributing to the damage of the natural ecosystem:
Use A Reusable Water Bottle
There’s simply no reason to bring a plastic water bottle with you when you’re hiking. You should bring water with you and drink lots of water as you hike but you should bring a refillable water bottle that won’t end up thrown into the landscape or in a landfill somewhere. Refillable water bottles are available everywhere and are very inexpensive. When you bring a refillable water bottle you can also get more water when you need it while you are hiking.
Don’t Leave Trash Behind
Many people bring snacks or a picnic lunch with them when they’re hiking. It can be wonderful to sit in a picturesque spot and enjoy some food after a morning spent hiking. However, leaving food scraps and wrappers behind can put animals in danger and hurt the environment. Clean up your picnic site and make sure that all of your trash does with you when you leave. It’s a good idea to bring a small trash bag with you so that clean up is easy and you can throw the bag in a trashcan at the end of the trail.
Always Walk On The Marked Trail
Sometimes the marked trails might be crowded with other people or they might get muddy after it rains or snow melts and you might want to avoid those trails. However, when you walk off the trail you can kill plants and cause soil erosion by widening the trail if you walk next to it instead of on it. Walk on the marked trail always.
Don’t Start Fires
If you’re hiking overnight or for several days you shouldn’t start a fire unless absolutely necessary. If you need to start a fire to cook or to stay warm start a fire only in an approved camping area and only in a fire safe spot. Always follow safety protocols with any fire, even a small fire just to cook. And be sure to check if fires are allowed where you are hiking. In some national parks and preserves fires are forbidden outside of designated shelter areas.
Don’t Contaminate The Water
If you’re hiking for a few days you might need to clean up at some point. Avoid bathing or washing dishes in water that is near a water source where the animals drink. Choose a clean up spot that is at least 400 yards from any watering hole so that the soap residue doesn’t contaminate the water the animals drink.
This article was created Personal Injury Help (www.personalinjury-law.com), an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only.