A Guide to Respecting Trees in National Parks
Visiting the nation’s national parks is a fantastic way for you to spend your summer. However, you should definitely make sure to do it right.
There are a lot of rules and regulations to consider when spending time with all the protected nature and wildlife. You should be extremely aware of everything from the designated pathways to the animals you come across.
We are going to take a look specifically at how you should treat the trees you come across in the national forests and parks. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind – let’s start with actions you should take while partaking in nature.
What to Do
One important aspect to keep in mind is how you camp when in a national forest or park. If you set up a tent and plan to stay for at least an evening, make sure to only camp in designated areas if you are not an experienced camper. For the most part, you are able to camp anywhere as long as you are careful, but it may be easier for those who are new to the experience to stick to campgrounds.
When new campers stray from those areas and set up bedding and fires away from where they should, it can cause damage to trees or even burn them down if they aren’t careful. Camping is definitely an activity that is encouraged in the parks, you just need to make sure to be extremely thoughtful about it.
Something else to keep in mind is any pet you decide to bring along with you on the adventure. For the most part, dogs and pack animals are allowed in most areas. However, pets must either be kept on a leash or restrained in some way to stop them from digging or damaging the plants around them. Also, be sure to pick up any waste the animal leaves behind, in order to leave the area just as you found it.
Practicing “leave no trace” ethics is the best way to go about your trip. This simply means that you should ensure that every place you go looks the same when you leave as when you showed up. If you do camp away from a designated campground, make sure to spread out any rocks used for a fire pit, take any trash you have with you, and disguise the camp area by rearranging leaves and twigs.
What Not to Do
Now let’s observe some behaviors to avoid to preserve trees and plants in national forests and parks.
Along the same lines as being careful with fire, fireworks are prohibited when in these areas – they could cause severe damage or fire to break out among the trees and other plants. This is an activity that should be done somewhere else.
Also, any pulling, scratching, breaking, or otherwise damaging the trunk, roots, or branches of any trees in the area is strictly prohibited as well. Make sure that the trees are untouched and undamaged by you and anyone else you bring along before leaving. Hanging things from branches should be avoided if at all possible as well. Even if it does seem like a strong branch, you could still cause strain and damage it from growing further.
You should also make sure not to use any wood attached to a tree as firewood. There are plenty of branches and twigs scattering the forest floor that can be used if you are in need of fuel for your campfire. Ripping off branches or any part of the tree can cause damage if not handled properly, be respectful.
This planet is a beautiful, thriving place. It is vitally important to be as respectful as possible in all outdoor scenarios to promote growth and stability for anything living in nature. National parks and forests are a glorious, beautiful part of the country and should be kept in the best possible condition.
If you are going to a specific park and want to know if they have unique rules, here’s a great resource as well. Some of them do prohibit certain activities or even pets altogether, and it’s better to know that up front.
Going to a national park is a great way to experience nature, and it’s a great resource to get to know what grows and lives in a state that you aren’t familiar with. If you are thoughtful and respectful while adhering to the rules, both you and the living things in the park and forest will be sure to have a great visit.