“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners”
The days are getting shorter, with the crisp cool wind hitting your skin. The sounds of crunching leaves fall beneath your feet. You can smell the season change in the air and see autumn falling all around you. Its a beautiful time of year, but it also means that our summer is over. A hot, short season full of hiking explorations, adventure, camping, and sweet sweet sunshine. Summertime is a busy time of year that makes everyone want to get a piece of that good mountain lovin. But with so many people moving here from other states, I think its a perfect time to discuss what Ive seen this summer and educate people on how precious our wilderness is. Its devastating to see how careless people can be when it comes to our beautiful world. Sharing videos on social media feeding wildlife, vandalizing rock formations, picking wildflowers, not putting out your campfires, trashing camp sites, and littering on trails are just a few. Our mountains need to be taken care of and Im going to share a few things on what I’ve seen and what we can do as a whole to keep our trails, parks, and campsites thriving for the next adventurer down the road.
-Leave no trace!
*This is exactly what it means. Leave everything as you found it. Instilling this phrase into your mind can hopefully prepare yourself and others to make an ethical decision when it comes to our natural environment. Respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future adventurers. Appreciate how precious the outdoors are and share those values with others.
-Don’t feed the wildlife!
*When wild animals lose their natural fear of people, then we have a huge problem. If animals get used to being fed by humans, they gather in places where people feed them. Campgrounds, hiking trails, and tourist spots. When an animal gets too used to humans, it can result in the animal becoming aggressive which can lead to death, injuries, or death to the animal. Human food is also not good for wildlife. Some animals can’t digest human food well and can result in the animal getting sick. Store all food in animal safe containers and pack out all trash/scraps. I personally don’t want to become a bear snack, its easy so just do it!
-Don’t pick the wildflowers!
*Its illegal in the state of Colorado to pick wildflowers in state parks because it can damage the ecosystem. Some species are rare and protected by the state. When you pluck a wildflower, it can’t finish its reproduction process and then another flower will never grow in its spot. If everyone picks them, then we will never get to enjoy them! Yes, they’re gorgeous…snap a picture, snap a picture in them, gaze into them and sing a happy tune. Just please don’t pick them. If I see you on a trail with a handful of flowers that you’re gonna place on your kitchen table, I’m not going to have anything nice to say. Reduce the impact on the natural environment, let everyone get the chance to enjoy them too!!
-Be considerate of others!
*Oooh my goodness! I don’t mean to be an a-hole but I go into the mountains to listen to the sounds of nature…. NOT 15 people walking by in the same group with a speaker on their hip, all playing a different song. Its rude. If you want to listen to music, put some headphones on. Let nature’s sounds prevail!
*Yield to others on the trail. If someone is coming in hot down a trail, be considerate to know that maybe they’re training for something or maybe they’re just a badass. Either way, they’re going a lot faster than you so just move over to the side and let them pass. ALSO, STAY THE TRAIL!! On all aspects of mountain fun. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, off-roading, etc. Enough said.
*Select campsites away from others to help preserve their solitude. Nothing is worse than finding this amazing campsite, away from civilization and life noise…to have someone pull up and camp right beside you. Its just considerate, keep on moving along..
*Clean up after yourselves. Nothing makes me more upset than getting to a camp site and finding shot gun shells, broken beer bottles, burnt cans, and just trash laying around everywhere. This goes back to leave no trace. People have dogs and children running around who can get cut on the glass. Ive seen many camp sites across the state that have been closed down due to misuse. If we can work as a whole to keep our parks clean, we will have more amazing areas to enjoy!
-Put out your campfire!
*Wildfires are something serious in the west. If you don’t fully understand the magnitude of a wildfire, pay attention to how much water you have to use to put on your teeny, tiny little campfire. Gallons and gallons and gallons. It really puts it into perspective. Now imagine the whole forest in flames. Our firefighters work very hard on preserving our beautiful forests. Summertime is very hot and dry, so when a statewide fire ban is in full effect…you better listen. We saw multiple people still making fires this summer during the fire ban. We also saw many campfires still burning without anyone at camp. Come on people! Respect the rules and respect the forest! Dead out campfires!
-Dispose of waste properly!
*Nothing sucks worse then getting to an awesome camp site and you are surrounded by a poop burial ground. Toilet paper and waste shoved under rocks and behind the trees everywhere you look. Gross. T0 properly dispose of waste, you should dig a 6 to 8 inch deep hole… 200 feet from water, trails, or camp. Cover up that camp poo and leave no trace! And leave no stink! Buy your shovel today!
–Don’t do it for the Gram!
* Ahh yes, social media. Its such a great tool but sometimes it can be the devil. Lately, I have seen countless posts of people feeding elk and bears. Driving up next to a moose on the road and trying to touch it. Driving their jeeps into alpine lakes off the trail. Posting handfuls of wildflowers. People vandalizing trees and rocks. Hikers going off trails that are marked prohibited for a reason. And the sad part is….people comment on how cool it is! Why!? All you are doing is encouraging others to do the same. You are saying its okay to disrespect the environment! Its not okay! Lead by example, care about our state. P.S (Its okay sometimes to not tag every hike and camp site that you’re at. Keep some of the scared spots sacred. Im not saying its not okay to share, I mean look at our blog page! But sometimes its nice to keep those secret spots hidden and bring your closest friends their blindfolded.) haha jk.
So what did we learn here today people!? Easy…just don’t be a jerk. People that live in Colorado love the state like a fat kid loves cake. So respect it, love it, and make sure others do too. Join local organizations for trail clean up days or restoration projects. Pack it in and pack it out! Leave no trace! Give back to this wonderful wilderness that brings us so much joy! Happy Trails!
“ELEVATE YOUR HAPPINESS!”