The spring season is finally here, and there’s no better time to get outside for a good hike! Hiking is a wonderful activity to get your body moving and experience the beauty of nature. But if you are looking to get more out of your hikes, you can also start focusing on the sustainability potential of this form of exercise.
Here are some tips for making your hiking habit more sustainable by keeping the environment in mind with every step you take.
Follow the Rules of the Trail
Trail markers and signs are not suggestions; they are rules to follow. It is important to stay on the trail for your own safety and to protect native habitats that surround the trail. Park volunteers and conservation groups build trails so that people can co-exist with nature. But don’t abuse that privilege and wander off-trail while trampling over delicate ecosystems and disrupting the natural balance.
Observe Wildlife and Plants
Rather than being overly consumed in conversation or whatever is playing on your earbuds, slow down the pace of your hike and truly observe your surroundings. Look around at what plants, trees, and wildflowers you see. Keep an eye out for animal tracks in the dirt, and listen for the sounds of animals moving in the distance. These practices will keep you safer among wildlife and also help you appreciate the beauty around you.
Pack It In, Pack It Out
Whatever you bring onto the trail, make sure to take it back out with you. Although some trailhead areas have trash cans, others do not so plan accordingly. Bring along a waste bag to collect wrappers from your snacks, and leave no trace behind after you are done with your hike.
Pick Up Litter You Encounter
To take that last point one step further, bring an extra trash bag with you on a hike to collect pieces of trash that other people have left behind. This is an easy way to help make up for others’ carelessness and do your part to make trail systems more beautiful and habitable for native species.
Buy Eco-Friendly Hiking Gear
The hiking gear that you choose, including boots, poles, and water bottles, also has an impact on the environment. For your water supply, use a Camelback bladder in your backpack or a reusable water bottle. Put your snacks in reusable containers instead of throw-away plastic bags, and invest in quality hiking gear that is made sustainably and that will last a long time before having to replace it.
Need more exercise inspiration? Check out these other articles on the Seagate blog: