Can you believe one month has already passed?! Welcome to July’s edition of Zero Waste Wednesday.
The summer season is officially upon us. We want you to be able to enjoy every minute of it! This usually means time spent outside, on patios, riverside, or better yet – camping out in nature.
Connecting with nature is incredibly important. It usually means disconnecting from the demands of work, others and technology. No wifi hot spots, no incoming messages and no worries about keeping up with social media. This, is a remarkable thing.
When we’re able to take in the air, take in the sounds, take in the history and wisdom of the life around us, we are able to breath, appreciate and meditate. If you’re not convinced, remember the last time you were out hiking and what an incredible sleep you had afterward? Yeah. Healing.
Another part to this, that you may not automatically catch on to, is that as you put one foot after the other and painstakingly reach your destination – you are learning to appreciate the intrinsic value of nature. And you’ll want to keep going back, weekend after weekend, season after season. Now you are hooked, in the best way possible.
When you realize how essential connecting with nature is to your well-being, and the well-being of those around you, you also realize how essential protecting it is.
It’s a long term education to link the tree, the forest, and the clear-cutting to the books and magazines, to the paper packaging, to houses and furniture and so on. Slowly, but surely, an awareness is cultivated – a consciousness about our interrelationship with the environment. Then an urge to act a little differently, get rid of some habits, and maybe adopt some new ones. Maybe you’ll event get some of your pals out there, and they too will start their nature-appreciating journey.
We wholeheartedly encourage getting out there to enjoy it. We also stress the importance of abiding by some basic guidelines to ensure a great trail doesn’t end up looking like an overrun shopping mall.
Here are 7 simple reminders to help reduce the negative impact of your activity on the environment while hiking and camping:
1. Plan ahead & prepare
Know your route, and pack your clothing and necessities accordingly.
2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
Stay on the trail! You don’t need to needlessly stomp around on all the botany!
3. Dispose of waste properly
Pack out ALL of your food and food packaging waste. That peanut is not native to the Rocky Mountains, and should leave with you. This rule of thumb is also true for your number 1s and 2s. Bring small bags to pack out your TP, and a small trowel to dig yourself a little hole. When relieving yourself, please ensure you are 60 metres from any water sources, trails or campsites.
4. Leave what you find
Yes, the wildflowers and rocks are stunning! Part of why they are so beautiful is what they are surrounded by, so just leave them be! They need to be part of their natural ecosystem, not mashed into your pocket or picked for one Instagram picture.
5. Minimize campfire impacts
Have campfires in designated areas only. Forest fires are no joke. In backcountry areas, exercise caution when using your camp stove.
6. Respect wildlife
See number 3 regarding the peanuts. Don’t feed the wildlife! They get on just fine without processed food. Remember that you are a visitor in their home, so act accordingly. When camping, store your food properly in bear bins, or hanging a safe distance from your tent so as not to tempt an unsavory encounter.
7. Be considerate of other visitors
They too are wanting to escape and enjoy the outdoors. Be polite, say hello – but don’t offer up unsolicited chitter chatter about the trail, the weather and so on. If they have questions, rest assured they will ask.
Looking for more information?
Check out Leave No Trace Canada, an organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Another great resource is this quick user guide to Respect the Land, specific to Alberta.