Trailheads, campgrounds, parks and even porta potties on public lands have seen record use over the past year. With more people enjoying the outdoors than ever before, it’s important to pass along the education necessary to keep these places from being loved to death.
- Pack it in, pack it out. This includes everything. If it was not there when you arrived, it shouldn’t be there when you leave. If possible, leave a site, trail or parking lot in better condition than when you found it. Do not assume trash services are regular. Public land management agency personnel are often strapped across large service areas. If a dumpster is overflowing, don’t add to it. Take your garbage home with you.
- Stay on the trail. Avoid creating new tracks with your bike, vehicle or feet. Route building is precise business and cutting new trails — intentionally or otherwise — can tear up the land. Damaging erosion and plant destruction leads to disturbed ground. Paying attention to muddy spaces, plants and habitats ensures it’s around for the next people to enjoy.
- Respect wildlife. You’re visiting their space. Keep your dogs from chasing or harassing animals. Be bear smart. If you come across any baby animals, it’s best to leave them be. You don’t need to be too close to enjoy wildlife.
- Moose, bison and other large herbivores can be deadly. It’s not worth the Instagram pic!
For more responsible outdoor recreation principles, visit Leave No Trace.
Be Smart about Fire.
The F word of the West is a very real danger right now. An estimated eighty-five percent of wildfires are human caused. Intense heat coupled with drought and winds make for extreme fire conditions. Here are some good reminders as we enter wildfire season.
Follow all rules and regulations while using state and public lands. Check with the local and federal land management agencies for current fire restrictions. You can view current fire restrictions here.
Avoid having a fire if you can. If you must, make sure it’s only in designated fire spaces (existing pits and rings) and drown it out completely when done. Never leave a fire unattended. This means pouring water into the fire ring, stirring, and making sure there are no embers remaining. Invest in a good fire pan and blanket.
Dragging trailer chains, sport shooting, and discarded cigarette butts all have the potential to spark massive wildfires causing millions of dollars in damage every year. Don’t be the source of destruction that leads to loss of life, homes, and wildlife.
Fireworks are illegal on public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management currently has a fire prevention order in effect until October 20. The Fire Prevention Order makes it illegal to burn explosive material or use exploding targets, fireworks, or steel component ammunition on the nearly 12 million acres of public land the BLM manages in Idaho. The order also prohibits shooting at steel or ferrous material(s) with dry vegetation.