Hiking and camping are great ways to get out and enjoy nature while getting in some exercise. There are many benefits to be gained by spending time in the outdoors. As you go out and explore, it’s important that you take steps to preserve the ecosystem and minimize any damage you might do.

Practice “No Trace” Cleanup

“Leave No Trace” is a set of principles that guide the actions of outdoor adventurers who wish to minimize their impact on the environment. One of those principles is to dispose of waste properly. If you bring something in with you, you need to bring whatever waste is produced back with you. Food wrappers, broken tent stakes, and empty water bottles are all some of the things that you may be tempted to leave behind. For the sake of the animals and fish that live on the land and in the water you’re hiking and camping in, you need to bring it back home with you where it can be properly disposed of to avoid endangering the animal life.

Use Fish-friendly Insect Repellents

No one wants to spend their hiking or camping trips fending off mosquitos and other biting insects. The bites are uncomfortable and the insects that are biting may spread diseases. This is why insect repellents are a recommended precaution. Not all insect repellents are friendly to other wildlife though. Some pest repellent ingredients like allethrin can be harmful to fish. Essential oil blends with oils such as citronella, lemongrass, thyme, basil, mint, and lemon eucalyptus may be good, fish-friendly alternatives to try.

Watch Where You Walk

If you want to protect the ecosystem you’re visiting from as much wear and tear as possible, camp and travel on durable surfaces. It’s best to stick to the trail when hiking since you won’t be damaging fragile plant life by walking on it. If you do decide to go off the trail, try to stick to terrain covered in rocks, sand, or gravel. These surfaces hold up best to travel. When setting camp, stay at least 200 feet away from water sources to avoid disturbing the wildlife, including those that make their home in the water.

As you hike and camp, take precautions that will help preserve the natural ecosystem you’re in. If you pack it in, pack it out. Use fish-friendly insect repellants. Take care where you step. These practices will help protect the delicate balance of the ecosystem, helping to ensure its survival for years to come.

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