Not to state the obvious, but Mother Nature's pretty good to us. It's only fair for us to return the favor, so we like to keep these tips in mind while we're enjoying her natural beauty (whether that's a wide-open wild place or a cool neighborhood you just discovered in your city).
- Do your research - This is especially important in times like these (aka: uncertain AF). If you're headed to a national park, check current park conditions first. For all adventures, make sure you have a mask on hand for if it's required, and that you know what you're getting into in terms of weather, terrain, and your group's set of outdoor skills.
- Stick to the trails - Trails are there for a reason - to let people explore nature's beauty without damaging the land or waterways. Be a good pal to Mother Earth and stick to designated areas. If you're visiting national parks, here are a few of our favorite lesser known parks - likely to be lighter on the crowds, but guaranteed to be just as awesome.
- Pack in, pack out - The general golden rule: "If you brought it, take it with you." No matter what pocket of nature you're enjoying, make sure you leave it as pristine as it was when you got there. This means everything - even things like leftovers and bacon grease.
- Do not disturb - Wildlife and plants do their best work when admired and appreciated, not when picked, poked, bothered, or scared. It might be tempting to feed wild animals, but just don't do it. You probably wouldn't want someone coming in unannounced to your home and getting up in your space, so pass the good vibes along.
- Keep it inclusive - Everyone should have the chance to experience Mother Nature's awesomeness. Be an active part of making the outdoors welcoming and safe for all abilities and identities.