Responsible Recreation in 2020

After being cooped up inside we’re all eager to get out and travel again. The wide open spaces of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona have seen an influx of visitors all hoping to take in the relaxation and feeling of connection that come with outdoor recreation. And while we’re glad these places are available and ready to welcome those seeking solace in the great outdoors, it’s important to keep in mind the principles of Responsible Recreation.

From the destruction left by adventurers in the wake of the Mysterious Utah Monolith to the continued problem of vandalism facing rangers in Zion National Park. Seasoned adventurers can help in reminding others along the trail to #RecreateReponsibly.

From the National Parks to the National Forests, Public Lands, and Conservation/Recreation areas in between, here are some of the principles for responsible recreation.

Leave no trace

Leave No Trace is an environmental non-profit based out of Boulder, Colorado that works to promote responsible recreation through education and outreach. They aim to preserve our natural world for future generations through sharing principles of conservation and responsibility while recreating.

Where to find more information:

Twitter: @leavenotrace

There are 7 Principles to Leave No Trace:

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
    – Adequate trip planning and preparation helps back country travelers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably while simultaneously minimizing damage to the land.
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
    – Travel on constructed trails that help to contain impact to specified areas.
    – “While trails are themselves an impact on the land; it is better to have one well-designed route than many poorly chosen paths.”
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
    – “Pack it in, Pack it out” is a pretty familiar mantra and should be used when recreating.
    – Before leaving inspect your site and rest areas for trash of spilled foods and pack it out.
  4. Leave What you Find
    – Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
    – Before building a fire it is important to consider potential damage to the back country.
    * What is the fire danger for this time of year and location?
    * Is there sufficient wood so its removal will not be noticed
    * Is there an existing fire ring that we should be using?
    * Do group members possess the skills and knowledge and build and properly extinguish a campfire that will Leave No Trace?
  6. Respect Wildlife
    – Learn about wildlife through quiet observation.
    – Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a “better look”.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    – Maintain courtesy toward other visitors by minimizing:
    *Excessive noise
    * Uncontrolled pets
    * Damage to surroundings

Tread Lightly | On land and water

Tread Lightly is an organization that works to promote responsible recreation through stewardship, education and communication primarily when it comes to OHV and off road vehicle use. While they cover Responsible Recreation in activities from 4×4’ing to fishing, flying drones, hunting, and more, their information on OHV recreation is incredible.

Where to find more information:

Twitter: @tread_lightly
Facebook: @TLoutdoorethics

Some of their Quick Tips for Responsible Four Wheeling Are:

  • Travel Responsibly on designated roads, trails or areas
  • Travel ONLY IN AREAS OPEN to four-wheel drive vehicles
  • For your safety, travel straight up or down hills
  • Drive over (not around) obstacles to avoid widening the trial
  • Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the road crosses the stream.
  • When possible, avoid mud.
    • In soft terrain, go easy on the gas to avoid wheel spin, which can cause rutting.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers
  • Travel with a group of two or more vehicles
    • Just like with hiking, the buddy system is important in case of emergency
OHV riding at Three Peaks Recreation Area, Cedar City, UT

Some of their Quick tips for responsible fishing include:

  • Traveling Responsibly
    • Travel responsibly on land by staying on designated rods, trails or areas.
    • On water, stay on designated waterways and launch in designated areas
  • Respect the Rights of Others
    • Respect the rights of others on land including private property owners, recreational trail users, campers, and others so they can enjoy their recreation activities undisturbed.
    • On water, respect anglers, swimmers, skiers, boaters, divers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
  • Educate Yourself
    • Educate yourself prior to your trip by learning rules and regulations, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.
  • Avoid Sensitive Areas
    • Avoid sensitive areas on land such as meadows, lake shores, wetlands, and streams.
  • Do Your Part
    • Do your part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of fuel, oil and waste.
    • Avoid aiding the spread of invasive species and restoring degraded areas.

Find local resources and information before traveling

One of our favorite ways to #RecreateResponsibly is finding the local organizations in charge and giving them a follow on Twitter to stay up to date on closures, fire danger, information, and recreation resources in our planned destination.

Some of these accounts include:

Utah- Bureau of Land Management: @BLMUtah
U.S Forest Service – Dixie National Forest: @usfsdnf
Utah Fire Info @UtahWildFire
Utah State Parks: @UtahStateParks

Arizona – Bureau of Land Mangement: @BLMArizona
Arizona Fire Info: @BLMAZfire
Arizona State Parks: @AZStateParks

Nevada- Bureau of Land Management: @BLMnv
Nevada Fire Info: @NevadaFireInfo
Nevada State Parks: @NVStateParks