This guest post is by Jess of www.AppOutdoors.com.
If you love to hike, mountain bike, climb, kayak, or surf, the chances are that you’re more environmentally aware than most. On the whole, outdoors sportspeople are amongst the strongest and most vocal champions of National Parks and wilderness areas but there is always more to do. Here are six simple things anyone can reduce their environmental impact:
1. Stick to the trail
This may sound dull but it makes a big difference. Staying on waymarked and maintained paths means less erosion and eliminates the chances of a rare plant or insect species ending up underneath your hiking boots. It also makes it easier to manage weed problems, which brings us to number 2.
2. Don’t be a seed carrier
Invasive plant species are a serious problem. Across the globe, wilderness areas are being taken over by introduced plants like Rhododendron, Golden Tussock, Japanese Knotweed, and Himalayan Balsam. Unfortunately, well-meaning gardeners are responsible for serious environmental damage. These species hitch-hike out of gardens and into the wider environment via birds or humans. Clean your boots and shoes before every hike and make sure no seeds are sticking to your socks. Otherwise, you could give a potentially damaging plant a lift straight into a pristine area.
3. Car pool
Many of us are willing to drive a long way to get to a beach where the surf is working or a crag with a great route. Where possible, share a lift and you’ll be reducing the pressure on car parking in these beautiful places as well as cutting down your emissions.
4. Get a friend into the great outdoors
Every person who has a good time outdoors is one more who’ll be willing to act to protect our beautiful environment. By getting couch-potato friends out into the woods or the hills you’ll be showing them the value of these places. And you never know- they might take to it, and have a whole new healthy, active hobby.
5. Seen something rare? Report it!
If you’re lucky enough to catch sight of a rare bird, plant, or animal, make sure you pass that knowledge on. The people looking after these tiny and fragile communities need to know where they are. Talk to park wardens, your national Frogwatch program, or the nearest Audubon Society chapter. Non-profit organizations like the last two do vital work so if you’ve got some spare time or a few extra dollars in your pocket, send it their way.
6. Pick up litter
If you pick up a couple of pieces of trash every time you go to the beach or the river it all adds up. You might not be responsible for putting it there but you can definitely help get rid of it. Stick an old plastic shopping bag in your backpack before leaving the house, so you’ve got somewhere to put litter.
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