Know and follow local fire restrictions.
- Check local forecasts and fire danger levels. Call a local Forest Service ranger station if you’re not sure if you’re allowed to have a campfire. Whenever you make a fire, be sure it’s in a designated spot, and be sure your fire is 100% extinguished before you leave it unattended. Read this handy primer on how to prevent wildfires. (Don’t forget to source your wood locally, and only harvest wood in areas where you’re expressly allowed to.) Note any burn bans, and remember they’re not suggestions. Your love of s’mores and fireworks doesn’t supercede burning restrictions. The first and most important step in enjoying summer vacation is not starting any wildfires.
Speaking of fireworks, remember they’re prohibited in any and ALL National Forests, National Parks, National Monuments, and in any designated Wilderness areas.They’re also prohibited in many state and city parks; check locally to see where and when you’re allowed to light them. Otherwise, kick back and enjoy the professional shows.
Know and follow local fishing and hunting regulations.Many rivers and lakes have size and species restrictions in place to help combat overfishing and species degradation. Make sure you have the necessary permits in place and with you, mind quantity limits, and only keep what you’re allowed to catch. Similar rules apply for sustainable hunting: follow any and all tag restrictions, and limit hunting to the allotted areas and time-frames.
Remember to practice outdoor ethics. Be mindful of fragile ecosystems, stay on trails, camp on durable surfaces and AT LEAST 200 feet away from water. If you’re picking berries, mushrooms, or any other wild edibles, remember to only collect 10% of what’s there. Take pictures of wildflowers instead of picking them (pollinators need those blooms!). Don’t forget that to truly leave no trace when you’re adventuring with your four-legged friends, you should either a) pack out dog waste with the rest of your trash or b) bury it (at least six inches deep and at least 200 feet away from camp, trails, and any water sources).
Shop locally. Support small and local businesses by buying your camp groceries at a local market, or better yet from a local farmers market!
Above all, be mindful. Pick up any trash you see, follow local quiet hours, give wildlife ample breathing room, visit busy areas sustainably, and do your part to help everyone enjoy being outside these busy summer months.
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