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How To Behave Ethically Outdoors

Outdoors

You love the outdoors? Hiking trips, camping trips and just exploring our beautiful planet? Then you should also educate yourself in ethical behaviour outdoors. This means things like taking your trash with you after a lunch break, treating other hikers/outdoor lovers with respect, behaving quietly and responsibly not just for the environment but also for all wildlife affected by you. In this blog post I have gathered the main principles when it comes to ethical behaviour for your outdoor adventures. I am also including some further resources and guidelines you should be aware of if you are visiting national parks or conservation areas. I encourage you to not only comply with these guidelines but also to encourage others to do the same!

Quick Facts

What To Expect

Ingredients

Take your trash and leave no trace!

Stay on the trails!

Behave like the guest you are!

General InfoS

Respect your fellow outdoor lovers!

Always come prepared!

Don't overestimate your fitness or skills!

How To Plan

How to Behave Ethically While Exploring the Outdoors

Exploring the outdoors can be an amazing and often eye opening experience. Besides taking the time to research your next hike or destinations to explore next, you should also take some time to have a look at how to behave ethically outdoors and leave it at least as good - or even a bit better - than you found it.

This post will give you a short introduction on how to do that, what principles to remember and what you can do so others will have the same beautiful and amazing experience outdoors that you would like for yourself!

Pro tip: Always be respectful and think before you act!

Take your trash and leave no trace!

If you can bring wrapped foods, plastic bottles etc. you can also carry the empty trash back! Always pack all your trash again before you leave and maybe even be an example by packing other trash you find on your way! Always make sure to leave the trails at least as clean - or even better - than you found them.

Another hint, maybe think about using reusables instead of single use containers/packaging. These might also have additional advantages like keeping your drinks and food cold or warm for even better summer or winter adventures.


Stay on the trails!

Always stay on the provided trails! This is especially important when it comes to national parks, natural reserve or other protected areas. However, always ask yourself why you should leave a trail in the first place? It is never necessary - so just don’t do it! Keep in mind that leaving a trail means that you are harming (protected) environment - and while one person's footsteps might not be too bad - just think about what happens when every person ‘tramples’ over delicate nature. Just always think before you act while being outdoors!

Behave like the guest you are!

Behave quietly and always keep in mind that the outdoors are home to many wildlife. So even if you are hiking in a group or with your family keep your voices down and never make unnecessary noise. When wildlife does cross your way - keep a safe distance and do never approach animals. Take photos with a tele objective and don’t scare them away just to get the shot!

Don't post photos of wildlife encounters on social media that might encourage others to approach animals. And don't ever feed or pet wildlife - they are wild - and thus don't need food from you or other hikers. If you see people misbehaving - speak up and point out that they are doing something they should not be doing. But stay respectful in doing so. Which leads me to the next point.

You love the outdoors? Hiking trips, camping trips and just exploring our beautiful planet? Then you should also educate yourself in ethical behaviour outdoors. This means things like taking your trash with you after a lunch break, treating other hikers/outdoor lovers with respect, behaving quietly and responsibly not just for the environment but also for all wildlife affected by you. In this blog post I have gathered the main principles when it comes to ethical behaviour for your outdoor adventures. I am also including some further resources and guidelines you should be aware of if you are visiting national parks or conservation areas. I encourage you to not only comply with these guidelines but also to encourage others to do the same!

You love the outdoors? Hiking trips, camping trips and just exploring our beautiful planet? Then you should also educate yourself in ethical behaviour outdoors. This means things like taking your trash with you after a lunch break, treating other hikers/outdoor lovers with respect, behaving quietly and responsibly not just for the environment but also for all wildlife affected by you. In this blog post I have gathered the main principles when it comes to ethical behaviour for your outdoor adventures. I am also including some further resources and guidelines you should be aware of if you are visiting national parks or conservation areas. I encourage you to not only comply with these guidelines but also to encourage others to do the same!

Respect your fellow outdoor lovers! 

Treat other hikers and people enjoying the outdoors with respect. This means to offer help when it is needed, to take care of the environment so that everybody can share the same great experience. It starts when finding a parking spot and only parking where it is allowed to do so and ends with leaving any place as you found it or better. In times of COVID-19 this also means to keep your distance outside - let people pass on narrow trails while keeping a safe distance and still complying with hygiene and etiquette. 

This could also mean taking the train instead of your car whenever possible. A lot of the time trail heads or parking lots are in or around small towns where people are living. These people are also affected when you park your car wherever you like once a parking lot is full and not to speak of the traffic jams often created on weekends.

Always come prepared!

Plan your hikes and trips prior to departing. Check the weather conditions and dress accordingly. Always keep in mind that the weather can change fast in the mountains and even a sunny summer day can end in a lightning storm. Take enough water and food and always have some medicine kit with you. If you are not familiar with the region or the hike, it might be helpful to bring an analoge map and/or compass. Phones can die on your hike or the GPS can be faulted with bad signal. If you are planning on hiking in the dark or when on a trip where you might just get back down at nightfall, bring a headlamp and flashlight. You can find more information on this subject in my basics blog post about how to plan your hikes!

Don’t overestimate your fitness or skills!

Overestimating yourself and your abilities is one of the greatest risks when it comes to outdoor recreation. Being on top of a mountain and not knowing if you will make it down is not just a risk for yourself but also for others - your hiking partners and maybe even a rescue team if you are unable to end the hike on your own. 

Further Resources to check out:

  1. Alpenverein Deutschland - Naturverträglich unterwegs
  2. Alpenverein Deutschland - Sicherheit am Berg
  3. Bayerischer Rundfunk - Naturverträglichkeit
  4. Österreich - Verhalten beim Wandern
  5. US National Park Services - Leave no trace


Pro tip: Keep in mind that you and others want to enjoy the beautiful outdoors again in the future!

I honestly hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions or other remarks, feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love to chat with you and hear if you have other advice for your fellow outdoor lovers!

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June 22, 2021
                                       
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