Green Tips: Celebrating the Nation’s Public Lands

Green Tips: Celebrating the Nation’s Public Lands

Green Tips | August 13, 2020

The United States has some incredible national parks, and they’ve been receiving a lot of attention lately. July was National Parks & Recreation Month, and shortly after, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. Even if you don’t live near a national park, there are many national forests, trails, recreation areas, and monuments in the Northeast worth visiting! Take a look online to see what’s near you. 

Check out this week’s Green Tips on celebrating the nation’s public lands and ensuring that they will thrive for future generations to come. 

Getting There

Our open spaces and pristine lands are worth preserving and taking a trip to experience. In fact, spending time in any park or open space is beneficial to your physical and mental wellbeing

For those traveling, opt for low-emission means of transportation. If you haven’t driven an electric vehicle (EV) before, rent one for your trip! EVs are emission-free and can go for more than 100 miles before charging. You can find charging stations along your route here

If traveling is not an option, bring the park experience close to home: Pack a bag and a lunch, put on some comfortable shoes, and explore a public space near you. There’s plenty to discover right in your neighborhood!

Leave No Trace

It’s important to leave natural spaces as you find them. This will ensure that delicate ecosystems are maintained and future generations can enjoy these spaces for years to come. Here are some tips to implement “Leave No Trace”:

  • If camping, choose hard surfaces like rock or gravel to settle on for the night. 
  • Stick to trails while hiking to avoid unintentionally harming any surrounding plants or animals.
  • Don’t litter. Carry all waste with you and dispose of it properly, and don’t dump any foods or liquids other than water.
  • Thoroughly rinse your boots, recreational gear, and car tires to prevent the spread of invasive species throughout the park and elsewhere. 
  • Use a compass, map, or GPS instead of physically marking space with paint or flags.
  • Plan ahead and prepare, especially meals

Respecting Wildlife

It’s important to be mindful of the flora and fauna while exploring natural spaces. We share the land with plants and animals, and need to respect the local ecosystem. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Campsites are found, not created. Do not alter the landscape to make a campsite.
  • Choose a spot to camp at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams to protect riparian areas.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow, approach, or feed any animals. 
  • Pay attention to fire danger signs, and consider alternatives to campfires when the risk level is high. Follow campfire safety guidelines, as well. Nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans.
  • Do not rip up or chop down plants. If you spot an invasive species, report it to a park ranger or the DEC (if in NYS).

We hope you’re having a great summer and wish you well if you’re heading to a national park or public land any time soon. Remember to follow these tips to ensure the safety of your group, and the wellbeing of the fauna and flora in the parks! 

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