Keeping the great outdoors great

Community CorrespondentJuly 15, 2014 

A weekend in the forest means something different to everyone. Which of these activities do you enjoy? — fishing, rock climbing, camping, hiking, ATV dirt bike riding, swimming, photography, hunting, snowshoeing.

These activities can be relaxing, exciting, invigorating, and fun. When preparing to visit the forest for any of these pursuits, we often forget to bring one thing in particular . . . a garbage bag. I also tend to forget my toothbrush.

All of these fun activities can create trash. Meal preparation, cooking, and eating while camping generally create the most refuse. When trash gets left at a campsite, thrown out of a vehicle, or blown out from the bed of a truck, it can ruin a future outing — someone else's or your own.

Seeing trash on the side of the road while driving a forest road for pleasure is not an ideal wilderness trip in anyone's mind. Not only is it not aesthetically pleasing, but trash can turn into a safety issue, negatively affect waterways, and injure wildlife.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that broken glass and ragged tin can lids can cut your feet or shred your tires. Animals are attracted to the smells of our trash and can ingest items that are toxic or harmful to them.

In addition to being bad for the animals, it is also bad for forest visitors when animals get used to eating trash.

As you're roasting your marshmallows, you wouldn't enjoy being harassed by a pack of raccoons used to getting fed by campers' trash. Bears can also become habituated to using campgrounds to "hunt" for trash/food and end up being a nuisance to campers.

Be considerate of other campers and keep our wildlife wild.

Pack it in and pack it out. Bring garbage bags with you on trips and be prepared to pack it out.

You might even consider collecting more than your own trash to take with you when you leave. Go put some garbage bags in your car right now.

The great outdoors is more enjoyable for everyone when we're all responsible. Enjoy the summer — it looks to be a hot one coming up.

Article submitted by Keep Our Mountains Beautiful. For more information about KOMB, email komb4emc@gmail.com or call Sandee Scott, (559) 760-1058.

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