More than 35 million Americans go for at least one day hike each year. Hiking is great exercise and it’s also a great way to relax. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. There are thousands of miles of trails for hiking throughout the country. But in order to make sure that those trails stay in good shape all hikers should make sure that they take care of the natural world around them by following these tips to preserve nature when they are hiking:
If You Bring It with You Take It with You
One of the most common ways that hikers damage the environment is by leaving litter like food wrappers or water bottles when they leave the trail. You should bring water and a snack with you when you’re hiking for the day but make sure that you take all of your trash with you when you leave the area. There are often garbage bins and recycling bins at the end of the trail so that you can get rid of your trash in a responsible way. Don’t litter on the trail and make sure that everything you take with you on the trail leaves the trail with you.
Stay on The Marked Trails
Hikers don’t often realize that they can do enormous damage to the ecosystem where they hike if they go off the marked trails and try to make their own trails. When hikers try to create their own trails they often chop down brush, kill plants and grasses, and they even sometimes destroy animal habitats without meaning to. That’s why it’s very important that when you are hiking you stay on the marked trailed. The trails are marked to make it easier for you to hike and to protect the ecosystem that exists in that area. Stay on the trail and enjoy the scenery around you from the safety of the trail.
Don’t Bother the Animals
Animals are an important part of the ecosystem in forests and other areas where people like to hike. When you’re out hiking if you see some wild animals don’t approach them or bother them. Don’t try to feed them either or leave food out for them. Human food could make them sick or even kill them. Take photos if you want to have something to remember the hike by but take the photos from a distance. If you bother the animals or scare them and they run from you they could damage the landscape in that area. If they are very frightened they might leave and never return and that could have serious consequences for the ecosystem.
Wipe Off Your Boots
One of the great things about going hiking is going hiking in different places and seeing different areas. But if you don’t take a few seconds to wipe down your boots between hikes you can end up bringing pollen and mold and bacteria spores from one area to another, and that can end up destroying an ecosystem. When you leave one trail spend a few seconds wiping off or hosing off your boots so that they are clean when you go to another trail.
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