Hiking and walking is a great way to get healthy exercise and clear your head. People of all ages and abilities can enjoy the scenic views and trail hikes at Piedmont Park, which offers some of the most beautiful nature preserves in the area.
If you’ve visited Piedmont Park before, you know its popular destinations, such as the Meadow or the Dog Parks. Just north of those locations though, there’s a path that leads you through a tucked away tree-lined expansion to the Park. Now you have 53 acres of land to explore! This land expansion happened in 2011 to boast nature trails and conservation areas.
When you venture on the trails, it’s very important that you not disturb or destroy the natural landscape and the delicate ecosystem of the area. Make sure that you follow these rules, so that you can preserve that natural beauty and not cause any harm to the animals or plants that here.
If You Pack it In, Pack it Out
Everything you bring to the trail should leave with you. That includes things like water bottles, food wrappers and containers, tissues, and any other debris that you might have brought with you. Even food should be taken out with you again. There are trash and recycling bins once you return to the main areas of the Park.
Don’t Feed the Wildlife
It’s very exciting to see all kinds of wildlife when you’re out in the forest that you may not see in everyday life, such as our rare species of birds and our Eastern Screech Owl.
However, you shouldn’t try to feed these animals while you are out on your hike. It may seem harmless, but animals may rely on humans for that food in the future. It’s similar to giving your dog a piece of meat from your plate during dinner. Do you think your dog will want to go back to eating dog food?
So, it’s a good practice to observe and admire the wildlife from a distance. It will keep you and the animals safe from harm.
Keep Dogs on a Leash
While dogs are some of the best hiking companions you could ever ask for, they aren’t always on their best behaviors. You should always have your dog on a leash in case you find something that may tempt your dog to run away.
Be sure to keep your dog to the right of the trail to avoid any potential collisions with other trail users. No one wants to see waste when they are walking the trail — it’s unsightly and unsanitary. So, don’t forget to bring those doggie bags and take any dog waste out with you. Keep the trail clean for others to enjoy, too!
Stay on the Trail
If you are walking on a designated trail or path, you shouldn’t venture off into other areas. While it may seem harmless, you risk damaging the plants of the surrounding area. Those plants are a major source of food for a lot of animals! Not only that, but just stepping off the trail can contribute to erosion. It will leave a beaten down path that will entice others to do the same.
When you skirt a muddy area, you are broadening the trail and causing damage. Head down the center of the hiking trail and through the mud to prevent trail widening.
Choosing Your Clothes
Did you know that even the clothes you wear can affect the environment? It’s highly encouraged to wear eco-friendly clothing. Be sure to wear clean clothing and shoes before each new hike so you don’t take along any insects or seeds that aren’t native to the other area.
If you’re looking to get rid of clothes, don’t just toss them! Many articles of clothing consist of synthetic, non-biodegradable fiber and will just pile up in the landfill. Instead, consider donating your unwanted clothing, or recycle them in a textile bin.
Remember that your actions, small or large, have an enormous impact on our environment. It’s up to you to make the changes necessary to protect it.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said:
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
Guest Post by Personal Injury Law
Author’s Note: The information in this article was provided by Personal Injury Law, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only.