When venturing outside of our daily lifestyles and into the wilderness for a camping trip or a weekend getaway, it is important to remember the pristine beauty and unadulterated landscape of the natural world is what makes it so attractive. When spending time off the beaten path and in the wilderness, we must leave no trace behind and respect the wildlife we encounter so others can enjoy the beauty of nature after us. Here are 10 tips that will help you respect wildlife:

 

1.       Travel and camp on established surfaces

Using existing campsites, trails, and paths reduces the impact explorers have on the wilderness by eliminating new disruptions to the environment. If you are exploring a pristine area where existing campsites and trails are unavailable, disperse your activity over an area of land to prevent the creation new trails and campsites.

2.       Dispose of waste properly

Do not leave behind any waste from your campsite, as this taints the natural beauty of the wilderness. Any trash must be disposed of in the proper containers to ensure campsites and the wilderness retains it’s appeal.

3.       Minimize campfire impacts

Keep fires as small as possible and only use sticks from the campsite area which can be broken with your hand. Use fire pans, fire rings, and mound fires to keep campfires controlled within a small area, and to reduce the damaging effects on the ground. Ensure fires are put out completely before leaving your campsite to reduce the risk of wildfires.

4.       Leave what you find

To preserve the natural processes in the wild, make sure to leave what you  find where it belongs. Although it may seem harmless to take home rocks, plants, or other objects home as a memory of your adventure, removing these elements from the environment can have damaging effects. Doing so also helps prevent the introduction on non-native species to places where they do not belong.

5.       Never feed animals

Feeding animals any food they are not used to eating is very harmful to the animal. Though it may seem helpful, feeding animals can damage their health, change their feeding behaviors, create a reliance for attaining food, and expose them to predators.

6.       Keep your pets under control

Bringing your family pet along for a trip in the wild is a great idea, however, you must keep all pets under control. This means ensuring dogs and other large animals remain as quiet as possible, to avoid disturbing animals in the area. In addition, dogs should be restrained by a leash to prevent disturbances with other campers or wildlife. As always, pets must be cleaned up after to preserve the sanctity of the wild.

7.       Observe wildlife from afar

Although explorers relish the opportunity to photograph and interact with unique animals, you must keep your distance to avoid disturbing them. Animals in the wild are not used to interacting with humans, and can display unpredictable behavior if they feel threatened. For your safety, observe them from afar and leave them feeling comfortable in their environment.

8.       Travel in small groups

If possible, avoid travelling in large groups. This accelerates the negative impacts humans can have on the environment. Splitting large groups into smaller groups reduces the imprint explorers leave behind, and goes a long way in preserving the natural beauty of the wilderness.

9.       Avoid marking wildlife

When preparing for a trip in the wilderness, be sure to bring along a map and a compass. This will allow you to navigate through a natural area without marking trees with paint, constructing rock cairns, or flagging areas with sticks. These activities can disrupt the habitat of a plant or animal living in it.

10.   Be courteous to other explorers

One of the greatest ways to respect wildlife is to be courteous to others who are enjoying its natural appeal, just as you are. This includes yielding to other explorers on trails, camping away from other campsites, and avoiding loud noises. These measures will help others enjoy the wilderness while respecting the wildlife.

 

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