As you enjoy the great outdoors it is important that you are aware of the impact that you are having on natural areas. Most parks will have signs indicating permitted and prohibited activities. Some actions to remember when visiting natural areas are:
- Dispose of waste appropriately. Make sure you take your garbage with you. Garbage can be hazardous to wildlife, and can ruin the scenery for the next visitors!
- Leave nature where you find it. Wildflowers might look beautiful when brought home and put in a vase, but they play a more important role as a food source for butterflies and birds.
- Be fire smart. Make sure your campfires are properly extinguished. Try to avoid using fallen branches and logs from natural areas as they create important habitat for salamanders, insects and others. Many parks have a firewood ban, as invasive species like Asian Long-horned Beetles and Emerald Ash Borer can be hiding under the bark where you can’t see them
- Follow marked trails. Going off trails can trample sensitive vegetation, and transport seeds of invasive species
- Keep your pets on a leash. Help your pets be good environmental stewards as well by keeping them indoors or on a leash and not taking them to areas that have been signed as no pet access.