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feet with hiking boots on a narrow nature trail

Whether you’re hiking through a national park or state forest, visiting a cultural site, or kayaking down a scenic waterway, practicing responsible recreation is essential to conservation efforts.

Heading out for an adventure? Here are some tips for being a good steward:

  • Plan ahead by reviewing any regulations and maps for areas you’ll be exploring.
  • Stay on designated roads, trails, and boat launches. Go over obstacles rather than around them to prevent spreading invasive species or harming sensitive landscapes.
  • Camp only in official spaces or where others have camped if you’re in the backcountry.
  • Dispose of waste properly by packing out anything you bring in and deposit solid human waste in 6-to-9-inch-deep holes at least 200 feet from water.
  • Keep fires small, use established rings, burn all wood and coals to ash, extinguish fires completely, and use a local source for wood — or gather responsibly when allowed — to avoid introducing non-native pests and insects to an area.
  • Respect wildlife by keeping your distance.
  • Preserve the past by looking at structures or rock art instead of touching, leaning against, or climbing on them; don’t build cairns or eat near cultural sites; and remember it’s illegal to remove or damage artifacts and sacred items.

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