Best ways to preserve nature while hiking

A Guest Blog by Mark Steele

One of the best exercises that you can do to keep your core strong and your heart healthy is an easy exercise that is also free! Hiking is one of the best exercises for maintaining good health and it's something you can do for free almost anywhere you go. Almost 40 million people go hiking each year for their physical and mental health. The natural world, however, can become very damaged with all of those people walking in it. To lighten the load and protect nature, follow these tips:

Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Every hiker should have water with them to stay hydrated while they hike. But single-use plastic bottles are a blight on the environment and are creating a global disaster, so hikers should ditch those single-use plastic bottles and invest in a high-quality BPA-free reusable bottle instead. Reusable bottles are better for the environment and for your health. Plus, a reusable bottle will hold a lot more water than a single-use plastic bottle.

Clean Up After Yourself

Trash is a big problem for the natural world, and most of the trash left in the natural world comes from hikers. If all of those millions of hikers who hike each year left behind trash, bottles, food wrappers, and other debris the environment would quickly be wiped out. That's why it is so important for hikers to always collect their trash and take it with them to throw away later in a real trash receptacle.

Leave the Animals Alone

If you're lucky and very quiet, you might see some wild animals on your hike. Squirrels, possums, rabbits, deer, and other animals all live in nature. If you come across them when you're hiking, leave them alone and let them live their lives. Don't try to feed them or leave food out for them and never try to get them to take a selfie with you. They don't care too much about being on your Instagram. Take a picture of them from a distance, if you want, and then go on our way. 

Don't Take Anything

Don't leave anything behind when you're hiking and don't take anything either. If you find some fun flowers, a cool rock, or other small souvenir items, leave them where they are. Take photos if you want but leave the actual items. Taking souvenirs can cause a lot of damage to the fragile ecosystem.

Stay on the Trail

Trails are provided to make hiking easier and safer for you but also to protect the environment. Walking off the trail can lead to the widening of the path, soil erosion, and the death of the plants and trees in the area. It can also be bad for the natural world when people are shuffling through it trying to take shortcuts of figuring out how to avoid being lost. If you stay on the trail, you can be sure that you are protecting the natural world while also enjoying a good hike.

Author Mark Steele works for Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. When he is not working, Mark enjoys hiking and exploring new trails in the Vermont and New Hampshire area! Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice and is intended for informational use only.