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Blog Recreate Responsibly
Alex Silgalis | 05/01/2023Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Nature, Outdoor Activities, Photography, Plan Your Trip, Sierra National Forest Campsites, Social Distancing, Trails, Waterfalls, Wildflowers, Wildlife |   

Mother Nature is the best form of therapy. The sound of roaring falls and smell of blooming wildflowers. The deafening silence of freshly fallen snow on the ground. No matter which season you visit we wanted to give you a few tips on how you can #RecreateResponsibly on your next trip to the great outdoors.

Recreate Responsibly  - Key Principles

Not Just Yosemite But ALL Outdoor Lands

Although the main attraction here is undoubtedly 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, thousands of people visit and multiple search and rescues happen in these areas too.

Camping in the Sierra National Forest

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 Visitor Center or call us at: (559) 683-4636.

Key resources include:

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. Wear appropriate clothing (including proper footwear). Bring essentials like enough water, bug spray, sunscreen, and enough food to fuel your adventure (if headed into bear country - make sure to include bear-proof canisters in your gear). Also, we highly recommend that you have trash bags in your car. As they say:

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect nothing.”

Respect Others

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 and busy summer months, so park only in safe and legal spaces. And lastly, respect the quiet and solitude of the outdoors. This is key feature of the outdoors for many of us - a welcome escape from the hustle and noise of our "civilized" lives.

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 if you need to, take it home with you. To this day, the following quote always applies:

“Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints.”

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

Yosemites El Capitan at night with climbersPhoto By: Steve Montalto / High Mountain Images

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

More Tips to Recreate Responsibly

While these are not part of the official #RecreateResponsibly campaign, they are a few good tips to know. 

In recent years all across the nation, a record number of Search and Rescues have 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 or other Search and Rescue teams.

USFS carry a 29-year-old woman along the trail near Willow Creek in Bass Lake.USFS carry a 29-year-old woman along the trail near Willow Creek in Bass Lake. 

If you find yourself in nature when "nature calls", here are some helpful tips provided to you by Park Rangers in Yosemite National Park.

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 out more tips on how to recreate responsibly.

Alex Silgalis

Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
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