Manners count, even outdoors. Let’s face it, we head outdoors because we want to enjoy nature and have fun. But you also need to be safe and make sure you’re not harming what you’re enjoying. Many conservation organizations have adopted guidelines to help their supporters observe and maintain good stewardship practices when enjoying nature.
To help you with your outdoor experiences, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Oceanscape Network have created this very simple Outdoor Etiquette Code of Conduct. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy nature while making sure it’s preserved for the wildlife that live there and those who come after you.
Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Don’t ever interfere with the natural activities of wild animals, including feeding, nesting, sleeping, rearing their young, etc.
Trekking without trespassing. When you’re out exploring, make sure you know where you are and that you have permission to be there. Stay on marked trails. If you come to a fence or locked gate, don’t ignore them – they’re there for a reason.
If you pack it in, pack it out. Help keep trash and other contaminates out of natural areas by removing all your debris, including organic materials such as food waste. If you see trash and can remove it safely, please do so.
Be fire safe. Build fires only in designated areas and make certain they’re completely extinguished before you move on.
Take photos, not objects. Video and photograph as much as you like, but leave rocks, plants, feathers, and other natural objects where you find them. Remember, in some places like national parks, it’s illegal for you to remove any item.
Pets have their place. Hiking with your dog can be a wonderful experience, but pets may not be appropriate everywhere you go. Make sure dogs are allowed on the trail you’re hiking, keep them on leash at all times, and always remove their solid waste.
Help preserve the outdoors from indoors. Even when you’re at home or in school, your actions can affect the natural world. Adopting nature-friendly habits – which can be anything from recycling that soda bottle to buying sustainably-harvested seafood – all make a difference to keep our world healthy.