By Eric Minghella
Hiking has become one of the most popular outdoor sports. Every year millions of people take a break from the stressful pace of modern life and slow down by hiking. There are hiking trails everywhere from national parks that dot the country to local hiking and biking trails that are popping up in new planned neighborhoods all over. But all that foot traffic can cause a lot of damage to the local environment. If you love to hike but also want to be sure that you’re not damaging the environment when you’re hiking do these five things:
Leash Your Dog
Bringing your dog on a hike makes hiking even more fun. Dogs love the chance to get outdoors for a long walk just like humans do. However, dogs can cause a lot of destruction to the environment. Keep your dog on a leash at all times so that your dog doesn’t run amok through the land, dig up plants, eat the bark off of trees, or chase the local wildlife. Remember to clean up after your dog too and dispose of their waste properly.
Wash Your Boots
Without even realizing it you could be carrying bacteria and seeds that are killing the environment. When you hike in one area then hike in another area bacteria, seeds, and spores from your boots will get deposited in a new area. If those seeds take root that could lead to a toxic or non-native plant species taking hold and killing off the vegetation in that area. All you need to do to prevent this is wash your boots after you hike. Get in the habit of rinsing your boots after each hike.
Bring A Trail Map
If you don’t have a trail map and you get lost, you could seriously damage the environment as you crash through it trying to make a trail. Pick up a paper map at the trail head and keep it with you so that you can find your way if you get lost. GPS doesn’t always work in the wild so trust your paper map more than your GPS if you get lost.
If you’re going on a multi-day hike and you’re going to camp in the wilderness only camp near a trail shelter. Trail shelters are usually set up about a day’s walk apart so that you should always be able to get to one. Camping in the shelter area minimizing the damage to the environment and protects the water sources that the animals use to drink from.
Take Trash with You
Even if you’re just going for a day hike you should have plenty of water and some healthy snacks with you. After your snacks and drinks are gone make sure that you take all that trash out with you and dispose of it the right way. Pack your snacks in reusable containers if you can, but if you can’t always take all of your trash with you when you leave the area.
This article was provided by 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.