Not Just Yosemite But ALL Outdoor Lands
Although the main attraction is Yosemite National Park, the idea of recreating responsibly shouldn’t be applied only to the park. The surrounding Sierra National Forest is just as wild and needs you to follow the same concepts on recreating responsibly. Every year, multiple search and rescues happen in these areas too.
Know Before You Go
Before you make your way into Yosemite, venture out into the Sierra National Forest, one of the first and most important things to do to #RecreateResponsibly is to check ahead.
Conditions change, trails are under renovation, weather systems can impose closures, and the rules and regulations continue to evolve. Also, it’s a good idea to stop by the Oakhurst Visitors Center or call 559-683-4636.
Plan and Prepare
Even with being vigilant by knowing before you go, sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out. Maybe a facility shut down. The trailhead is packed with tons of people. Trash receptacles are a parking area are full. Instead of getting frustrated, always have alternative options to choose from. Bring essentials like enough water and even a lunch. Also have trash bags in your car. As they say:
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect nothing.”
There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy mother nature with thousands of others, however, it is important to remember the outdoors is for everyone and to be kind to fellow outdoorspeople. When hiking, remember that hikers coming uphill have the right of way, if you’re descending the trail, step aside and give them space to pass. Parking can be scarce at trailheads and even in Yosemite National Park, especially during the winter, so park only in safe and legal spaces.
Leave No Trace
If it’s your first time in the great outdoors or even your 100th, another important rule to follow to #recreateResponsibly is to Leave No Trace. The concept is simple. Leave nature as unchanged as possible, or better yet, leave it better than when you came. If you see a piece of trash, pick it up and properly discard it, or take it home with you. To this day, the following quote always applies:
“Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints.”
Play It Safe
Last year across the nation, there was a record number of Search and Rescues that occurred in the great outdoors. We all want to climb the highest peaks and do the most challenging hikes, but with resources spread thin, consider postponing that big adventure. We’re not saying you shouldn’t come but rather keep it mellow. Take in the vistas, smell the lupine, listen to the park’s natural orchestra of birds and animals. You’ll come home refreshed and not be a burden to the NPS team.
Make It Better
When we explore in nature, we have a responsibility to keep it clean and make it better for future visitors. This could look like cleaning up human or pet waste, bringing a bag to gather trash left by others, volunteering in your community or voluntourism while you travel to new places, and advocating for the outdoors when possible.
Build An Inclusive Outdoors
Breathing in the fresh mountain air and taking in the sights are exactly what the doctor ordered to help us relieve some stress. Remember, the more people that join us in the great outdoors, the more voices and advocates it will have for its care and protection. With that being said, be cognizant of other park visitors as well. Let’s all go out of our way to provide a safe and welcoming escape so that everyone will appreciate its bounty and beauty.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
Lead By Example
If you want to do your part, lead by example. That means bring a face covering, avoiding crowded or closed areas, and creating an inclusive outdoors community.
Visit RecreateResponsibly.org to find more tips on how to recreate responsibly.
Last but not least, how to poop in the woods by Yosemite National Park.