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13 Ways to Minimize the Impacts of Camping & Other Outdoor Activities

Many people like to go camping and also enjoy other outdoor activities such as fishing and biking. When you are out doing these activities though, it is a great idea to also think of how you are affecting the earth while you are enjoying yourself.

The Green Policy: 13 Ways to Minimize Your Impact

When you are camping or doing other activities outdoors, you want to make sure you are not making it worse for others. By making sure you do these important things to reduce your waste, you will not only be helping others to enjoy their future outdoor activities, but also helping to keep the earth healthy.

1. Try Other Alternatives to a Campfire

If you do build a fire, be smart. Fires in the woods can not only be dangerous, but can also leave behind charcoal marks or black rocks. In order to cook your food there are many options available. You can buy a small backpacking stove that will allow you to cook your food and is also portable and easy to use.

Also, the backpacking stoves use different kinds of gas such as butane, alcohol, white gas, or propane as fuel. These fuels, unlike rocks and wood, will not leave any trace behind. Also, if you need something for light during the night, you can use a candle lantern or a flashlight, neither of which will hurt the environment around you. These are simple and easy to use, as well as portable and can provide plenty of light. For other sources of light, you can also look into buying a portable solar generator.

If you need to make a fire, there are plenty of ways to do so without harming the environment. First of all, never cut or break branches from trees for fire wood. There are usually loose sticks on the ground, or other options. If you use small sticks, make them as small as possible, that way they will burn completely and will not leave any trace behind.

In order to build a small fire, you have many options that are both helpful for the environment, and also safe for you. If you build a fire use a fire ring, an already built fire pit, or build your fire in a fire pan. You can also build a mound fire to make sure the area is free of blackened rocks or old coals when you leave.

2. Respect the Creatures Around You

Wild Animals are a beautiful sight, and everyone who loves camping and being outdoors loves to see deer and other beautiful wildlife. But to ensure that you do not create any future problems, you will want to make sure you do not feed the animals.

If you feed the animals with human food, they will begin to gain a taste for it. This will cause animals to become a nuisance because they will begin to encroach on camp sites to get more food, which also can be dangerous for other campers. Also make sure you cook your food away from your campsite, so you do not attract wild animals to your camp.

If you store food for future use, make sure you store it in containers that keeps the smell contained so you do not attract bears or other troublesome wildlife to your camp. Also, do not camp near water. The animals go to the water to drink, and the resources near the water are very important, and you do not want to harm the wild animals.

The animals are there to ensure the forest and its resources are in balance. If you do not follow these important rules, you may make have a negative impact on the environment you camp in, and may also damage the future of the wildlife in the forest.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

If you are camping and hiking, or are just out and about in the woods, you can do things that will lessen your impact on the environment. In the case of camping, you will want to set up camp away from water supplies.

When you do things such as wash your dishes, or use biodegradable soap, traces of the chemicals that are in these products can leech their way into the natural water supply, and can cause problems for the environment. You should also use as small amount as possible when you bathe or wash dishes, to limit the amount of chemicals you are leaving in the environment.

Also, you should do routine inspections of your campsite to make sure you are not leaving any trash behind. The rule is that you should make sure to leave no trace behind. This also matters when going to the bathroom. Make sure if you do not have a bathroom nearby, that you bury your bodily waste a few feet deep so that you make sure you keep the camp site clean for other campers.

4. Leave What You Find

Nature is a very balanced place. If you are hiking or camping, you should make sure to stay on whatever path, or designated area, so you will not disturb the wilderness around you. Also, do not take anything from the area such as plants, rocks, or other natural objects. This will disturb the environment and can cause future problems that may harm the wild animals and plant life.

It's also good to preserve wildlife. It's best to keep things as they are for future people and animals.​ Also, it's good for us to get out of the habit of taking things out of their natural environment for the most part!

5. Plan Ahead

If you are going camping, and you are either going to a campground, or into the woods, you need to plan ahead. By planning ahead you can research the campground or area you will be staying at to see what kinds of rules they have. 

Campgrounds have rules in place to help protect the environment, and by following the rules you will be making sure to keep the surrounding area beautiful and safe for future campers.

Also, if you plan ahead it will prevent you from having to cut corners during your trip. The more you cut corners when preparing your campground and food,​ the less likely you will be to be environmentally conscience. 

6. Use Existing Campsites

By using campsites that other people have used, you make sure to protect the forest and wildlife around you. Also, you will find that using an already existing campground has many benefits. Campgrounds that have been used before usually already have a fire pit or other area where you can start a fire.

They are also usually easily accessible, which means you will not have to search for it and you will not disturb the wilderness around you. The sites also tend to be already flat and free of rocks, which makes it easier for you to set up tents and makes your nights in a sleeping bag much more restful.

Also, the campsites that were already used are usually around other natural resources such as streams, trails, and rivers, which can allow you opportunities for more fun activities. If you use campsites that have already been used, you are causing less of an impact on the environment around you, while also making your camping or hiking trip more pleasurable.

7. Bring Only What You Need

Whether you are camping, hiking, or going fishing, you are better off packing only what you need. If you do this you are at less of a risk of leaving trash behind when you finish your trip. Also it helps to be conscientious of what kind of impact you have on your surrounding.

By planning your trip accordingly, and bringing only what you need, you will be at less risk of harming the environment you plan to stay in. This is probably one of the most important of the list; many people feel the need to over-pack, and that usually just leads to more waste and more to leave behind (on purpose or by accident). It's good to prepare well so you know exactly what you must bring to get through the trip.

8. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle!

Whatever outdoor activity you are planning, it is always smart to think about using reusable items for all of your needs. When it comes to reusable items, you have a lot of choices. There are a lot of reusable items such as reusable water bottles, biodegradable toilet paper, rechargeable batteries, and even soap and shampoo. All of these items are designed to be used without having a great effect on the environment. They are also very cheap and can easily save you money because you can reuse some of them again and again.

9. Be a Responsible Hiker

If you are hiker, there are many things you can do to make sure you keep the environment safe. In order to protect the animals around you as well as the area, you should check all of your gear to make sure it is safe for the environment.

Also, as you stop for snacks and bathroom breaks, make sure that you keep an extra pack for waste. Pick up your wrappers, make sure to use a small gas stove, if you do have human waste, make sure to bury it (you're not the only one on the trail). Also, pack light so you don't feel the need to expel gear along the way.

10. Watch Your Emissions

If you are going boating or fishing, it is a good idea to take a kayak or row boat instead of a motor boat. These options help you keep the environment safe by making sure your emissions don't poison the local waters.

If you do use a motor boat to go fishing or boating, then you need to respect the environment around you. Make sure you know the local guidelines when it comes to the different habitats. Some habitats are more fragile and can be greatly affected by motorized boats. Make sure you know what kind of wildlife is in the area so you do not harm their nests or environments.

11. Make Sure Equipment is Eco Friendly

If you like to canoe or kayak, you know that while in the water you can lose your equipment. To make sure you are environmentally safe while canoeing you can buy gear and equipment that will not harm the environment if you happen to lose them in the water.

The canoeing and kayaking gear of the past was made using PVC, which is a chemical that can degrade quickly and harm the environment. Instead of buying gear and equipment that are made with PVC, you can buy your items that are made of eco safe materials.

All of the equipment you need such as paddles, flotation devices, and even your kayak and canoe, can now be bought and are made of materials that do not harm the environment when they wear down. So if you want to make sure that you are being green while canoeing or kayaking, look for eco friendly equipment before you go on your trip.

12. Picnic Responsibly

Planning a picnic can be a nice activity, especially in the summer months, and is a great way to relax with friends and family. If you plan to picnic, there are some good things you can do to make sure you impact the environment as less as possible.

You can make sure you bring only the food you are going to eat. Also, make sure you bring reusable plastic silverware, and a trash bag, so you can clean up the mess around you. Also, make sure you find a nice area that is not too far off the trail so that you limit your impact on the wildlife and environment. This is so you can make sure you have a good time while knowing you won't leave a lasting impact on the environment.

13. Climb Responsibly

Climbing is all about preservation. It's important to preserve the crags and rocks so that future climbers can use them safely and effectively. Generally, you should keep in mind that you shouldn't alter the rocks while you're passing through. Also, keep an extra pack for your waste: wrappers, tape, etc. Climbing can be an all day affair, don't leave your trace for the next group to find.

Additionally, make sure the tools you do have to use blend in with the rocks. If you want to use chalk, don't let it build up on rocks that it wont blend in with. Also, it worth looking into rock colored chalk (some places only allow it), and you can camouflage your fixed gear so it doesn't stand out against the different colored rocks. ​

Final Thoughts

Summer is a perfect time for a lot of activities, such as boating, camping, hiking, and fishing. But if you are concerned about your impact on the environment, and how much your activities are going to impact the wildlife, then you can follow the helpful tips above to help you have fun while being environmentally conscious.

These tips are designed to be easy to remember while also changing the way you think about summer activities. The tips are some which will not cost you a lot of money and are also things you should already be aware of, but might need to think about more in depth.

These days, everyone is trying to make sure that we leave our earth either the same way it is now, or better, for the people of the future. These tips ensure you can be environmentally friendly while also having fun on your next outdoor activity.


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