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Green Hiking Tips
by Adria Saracino
This article was shared with ATH by Care2.


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While most outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with the saying “Leave No Trace” and its “seven principles,” it might not be common knowledge for the recreational hiker.

This concept highlights ways that hikers and adventurers can enjoy outdoor activities while causing as little adverse effects to the environment as possible. Here are some of the most important points from these principles and an examination of how they might affect the way we approach our relationships with the outdoors.

Stay on the Trail

Our beaches are eroding at alarming rates. New Zealand alone has lost as much as 70 percent of its coastline in the last century. Some of this is, of course, due to natural environmental changes, but most of it stems from our interactions with the land.

Of course we want to get to the water as fast as possible, but leaving the clearly designated walkways are extremely hazardous. Domestic vegetation, such as marsh and dune grasses, help keep the sand from blowing away, and when we walk or run on it before it has taken root we prevent it from growing.

And this is not just a beach problem. Everything from hiking to off-trail mountain biking can have significant impacts on the natural world. A rule of thumb when you are visiting such fragile ecosystems is to always stay on designated paths. Coming equipped with the proper gear such as heavy-duty polarized sunglasses and flashlights will make sure you can see where you are stepping in all types of lighting conditions.

Curb, Ahem, Your Waste

Remember, we all share the environment. Most of us know to reduce our waste and pick up any trash we leave behind, but have you thought about our natural waste? While some green publications might advise digging a small cat-hole for your fecal matter and other human wastes (four to ten inches deep and two hundred feet from any water supply, trail, or camping ground) there is no cleaner way to remove a dirty business than finding any one of the many environmentally friendly bags to remove your waste yourself.

Know the Neighborhood

Now that we’ve covered waste, let’s talk about something else a bit dirty. Mating season. When heading out into nature, it’s important to recognize which animals you might encounter. Nature involves balance, and it is easy to throw off an animal’s natural cycles, especially during rutting seasons, when they tend to be skittish, aloof, shy, or easily angered. It’s best to leave an animal’s habitat alone during delicate seasons. Also, it’s always a good practice to avoid hydrating at the local water supply during dusk and dawn when most animals are more active.

At the Campsite

There are plenty of places to tip up on “low impact camping,” but perhaps one of the more interesting is in regards to “solar cooking.” Many campers have found that they can successfully cook camp meals without the need of traditional camp stoves that use up precious natural resources. Instead, they utilize our most natural – and abundant – fuel source, the sun.

Mosquito repellents can be full of harsh chemicals, so it’s best to avoid behaviors that might attract them such as dark clothing, heat, moisture, and floral scents left behind from fabric softeners and laundry detergents. Cedar or cinnamon oil are good natural repellents.

Finally, remember that setting up a tent causes irreversible damage to the land, so it’s better to use a pre-established site while camping than trailblaze a new one for your sleeping quarters.

For many of us, a love of nature is in our blood. With a bit of forethought, that love can shine through in our actions as well.



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About the Author


Adria Saracino is the Head of Outreach at Distilled, an online marketing agency that helps brands around the world improve their web presence. She connects businesses and helps them establish meaningful partnerships. You can also find Adria talking and tweeting about fashion through her blog, The Emerald Closet.





About Care2

Care2 is a trusted social action network that empowers millions of people to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and support socially responsible causes.

Care2’s content offering includes original stories, blogs and syndication partners covering a wide range of healthy and green lifestyle areas, and causes ranging from health and the environment to human rights and animal welfare. A deeper level of engagement is achieved by integrating action opportunities such as petitions, pledges, daily actions, contests and click-to-donate sites with relevant content. With its Butterfly Rewards, Care2 has its own member loyalty program and “currency for good.”

Care2 members are the emerging mainstream of conscious consumers, bringing a high level of passion, engagement and influence to everything they do. The typical Care2 user is a woman who is 25-54 years old, lives with a spouse or partner, has one or more pets, volunteers for causes she believes in, buys eco-friendly products and donates to nonprofits.

Care2 is the largest and fastest growing social action network, with over 16 million members and 175% growth in unique visitors year over year. Care2 also owns and operates the #1 site for petitions, www.thepetitionsite.com, generating 14 million signatures in the past 12 months. With applications on Facebook and a growing network of revenue sharing partner sites, Care2’s reach is to over 200 million people.

Read more about Care2.




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