Our National Parks are home to endless opportunities for anyone, whether you are an experienced adventurer or casual sightseer. No matter where you are exploring in our system of 245 million acres of park land, it is always important to remember to be a responsible park visitor in order to preserve the natural beauty of our parklands.

 

 

Here are some points to keep in mind while you are enjoying the outdoors:

 

Know Before You Go: Do your research before you go! Will there be water along the trail? Do you need a permit? There’s nothing worse than finding out a trail is closed after you arrive. There are many free resources like your state park website, AllTrails, and The Hiking Project that will help you plan your adventure before leaving your house.

 

Leave No Trace: This is what we stand by and the core of what we do. Leaving no trace means to be respectful of the land you recreate on by minimizing the impact we have on our outdoor spaces. Stay on the trails, respect the land, and properly dispose of waste. To learn more, check out the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.

 

Camp Responsibly: Whenever possible, camp in an existing campsite; creating new campsites kills vegetation and causes further soil erosion. If no existing campsites are visible, choose a spot with little to no vegetation to minimize your impact on the area.

 

Be Fire Safe: Check your local fire management website or ranger station to determine whether fires are allowed and the current fire restrictions. If you choose to have a fire, never leave it unattended, as this is how many wildfires start. Once you are done, put out the fire by slowly pouring water onto it and stirring with a shovel.

 

Leave it Better: Do your part to help preserve our parklands; it is all of our collective responsibility to maintain the places that we love! Volunteer, donate, and care for our natural spaces.

 

Keep Nature Wild: Always observe from a distance, keep dogs on a leash to prevent their encounters with other animals, and do not feed wildlife.

 

Be Respectful of Others: The outdoors are a space for all. Everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy our outdoor spaces; be courteous and yield to others on trails and avoid making loud noises.

 

Play it Safe: No matter what kind of adventurer you are, it is important to know your limits. Don’t overcommit to a long hike when you know that it is getting dark soon or choose to go out when the conditions are unsafe. When in doubt, be conservative in your decision making while in the outdoors.

 

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