If you are going on holiday abroad and going to an area which is flush with natural beauty and nature is all around you, then you need to make sure that your visit has as little impact on the environment as possible. This will help to keep the area in a good condition for decades to come and also mean that others can also share in the natural beauty of the area. There is something called the leave no trace principles, which consist of seven points that you should follow when visiting somewhere. By following the guidelines set out in these principles, we can help to preserve our natural surroundings and make sure that these will be here for a long time to come. These principles are as follows:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave what you Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of other Visitors
Being prepared is an important aspect of this philosophy and planning ahead before your trip can make sure that you are fully prepared. If you are going into a special nature reserve or park, then make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations of the place that you are visiting. Try and prepare for all extremities of weather that you may encounter on your trip and also try and schedule your trip for quieter times when the area is less busy.
Visiting in smaller groups is also a good way to minimize the impact you have on the local area. You will also need to make sure that when travelling you use established paths and trails and also when camping you make sure that you camp on established campsites. Ideally the campsite will be at least 200 feet from a lake or stream and will be small and compact. Camp fires can leave a lasting impact on the surrounding area so if you do have one you need to keep it as small as possible. Alternatively you should use a small camping stove for cooking and either use candles or torches for lighting.
If you do have a campfire, then you should have this only in the designated area. Keep this small and use only wood found on the floor which you can break with your hand. When you have finished with the campfire, lets this burn completely and then spread the cool ashes around the place. Another major point is that you should always take all of your rubbish with you and dispose of this in the correct manner. All you need to do is take a couple of bags with you which you can use to collect your rubbish in. Ideally these would be biodegradable bags also.
Looking after Nature
If we wish to be able to enjoy our surroundings for a long time to come then we really do need to look after these areas, and this means everyone that visits with no exceptions. If we leave things as we find them, then they are going to be there for other people to enjoy. This can mean old buildings or artifacts that you find and even plants and rocks or other natural objects should be left where they are. Make sure that you do not introduce anything foreign to the area and certainly do not make any structure or alter the natural habitat yourself for your own comfort with things like trenches or any type of furniture.
We also need to respect the wildlife which we may encounter. It is ok to observe animals from a distance, but we should not approach the animals or try to interact with them at all. If you do need to take your pet with you, make sure they are under control at all times and are not allowed to wander freely. Under no circumstances should you try and feed the animals and you will need to make sure any food and also rubbish is securely stored to stop animals from trying to get at it. We also need to have consideration for other visitors.
If we look after our environment then others will be able to experience the same as you and it will be preserved for a long time. Be courteous to other travelers and try not to be too loud when travelling. If taking a break or a rest, move away from the trail so that people can still use it freely, but be careful to not have an impact on the surrounding area. If we all look after nature when we go away hiking or camping, then we can help to preserve it and make sure that everyone can have the same experience when they visit.