An Adventurer's Guide to Protecting the OutdoorsPosted by Julia Reinisch, Contributor | 04.13.2019
There's a difference between simply enjoying the outdoors and enjoying the outdoors intentionally, in a way that preserves its natural beauty.
By now you've probably heard that's important to use your own reusable water bottle instead of purchasing a one-time use plastic one. And if you decided to start throwing trash out your car window, it's likely you're going to get some disapproving looks from fellow passengers and passerby.
These small changes are great habits to keep—but we shouldn't stop there.
There are specific ways that YOU can minimize your harmful impact on the outdoors that are unique to the activities you love. Here are the top 5 ways you can make a difference in protecting the outdoors with each of these activities.
How to Make a Positive Impact While Enjoying Your Favorite Outdoor Activities
FAMILIES WITH KIDS
#1 - Teach kids to love and respect the outdoors by getting them outside early on. The outdoors can be enjoyed by anyone at any age, so let them explore right along with you. There are backpacks, such as the Journey PerfectFIT™ Kid Carrier by Kelty, that make it easier than ever to carry even the smallest explorers with you.
#2 - Seeing animals in the wild is exciting for everyone, but kids will need gentle reminders to stay on the main trail and only observe them from a distance. A good guide is to teach them to keep at least one "school bus" distance between them and any animals they encounter.
#3 - Set an example by not collecting rocks, leaves, or bugs as souvenirs. Teach your kids to put everything back where they find it so that the next person can also enjoy it as much as they did.
#4 - Challenge your kids to "leave no trace" like Bigfoot when they're exploring. Demonstrate how to pack out all of your food and waste, completely put fires out, and avoid making loud noises which can disturb others and makes it less likely that you'll see wild animals.
#5 - Take action together. Find a special spot or campsite that your family can help take care of and keep clean. For older kids, encourage them to get involved in local causes and conservation efforts or cleanups such as those offered by Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. They even have special projects where whole families can volunteer together.
#1 - Know the local fishing and boating regulations for the waters you are fishing. Fish within local limits, and educate others on doing the same. Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides an annual fishing guide that's available on their website or you can find physical copies at local fishing retailers such as JAX.
#2 - Pack out everything. This includes all of your monofilament fishing line, any leftover live bait, and bait cups. Try to pack out fish entrails whenever possible, but in certain circumstances burial, deepwater deposition, or moving water deposition may be acceptable. Check your local regulations on proper fishing waste disposal.
#3 - Minimize harm when you are practicing catch-and-release. Use barbless hooks, take care when removing hooks, and use rubber nets such as this Promar Clear Trout Net that are designed to protect the mucus on fish that keeps parasites, bacteria, and fungus from growing. Also, make sure not to transfer fish from one watershed to another.
#4 - Participate in a local river cleanup or start your own. Local organizations such as Trout Unlimited host organized cleanups and are always in the need of volunteers. Learn more about how you can volunteer with Trout Unlimited.
#5 - If you like to listen to music while you fish, keep the volume low or better yet, use headphones. Many anglers enjoy listening to the sounds of nature around them while they fish, so try not to disturb their ability to enjoy the outdoors.
#1 - Use native plants when planning out your garden or landscaping for your yard. Not only do they provide critical habitat for songbirds and butterflies, they also require less water and upkeep to survive. Learn more about how to use native plants in an article written by our conservation manager, Susan Quinan.
#3 - Start your own compost bin and turn your trash and scraps into nutrient-rich soil. Here's a 3-minute video on how to get started.
#4 - Consider starting your own beehive. Beekeeping not only produces delicious honey, but it is also helping revive our declining bee populations. Bees are important pollinators for local agriculture and natural habitats, and there are plenty of resources available for anyone interested in learning. We even host free beekeeping classes at our JAX Ranch & Home stores.
#1 - Be prepared before going out on a hunt. Read and follow all local hunting regulations by obtaining the proper tags and licenses and only hunting in-season animals. Take a hunter safety course and familiarize yourself with the firearms you bring with you. A safe hunter will make smarter decisions in the field and can help educate newer hunters on best practices. Find the next Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Course (some are hosted at JAX Outdoor Gear stores) near you.
#3 - Pick up your campsite by packing out your trash, leftover food, spent brass, and shotgun shells. If you successfully fill a tag, pack out as much of your game as possible using Alaska Game Bags and when it's time to leave entrails behind, drag them away from trails, water sources, and highly visible areas.
#4 - Use a map and compass instead of disturbing local landscapes with rock cairns, flagging, or marking paint. Learn different navigation techniques at the next navigation class hosted at your local JAX.
#5 - Volunteer with or even become a member of your local Ducks Unlimited chapter. They work to conserve wetlands and waterfowl habitat through various projects restoring watersheds, replanting forests, and advocating for land protection agreements. Learn about local volunteer opportunities with Ducks Unlimited.
Don't see your favorite activity on here yet? Stay tuned, there's more to come!