Roam Like It’s Home

Leave no trace in Bryce Canyon Country.
Bryce Canyon Country is home to some of Utah’s most iconic environments. Visitors can help protect this land like it’s their home by following some simple principles.

Plan ahead and prepare

Without proper planning, visitors may encounter unexpected conditions, causing them to improvise and possibly damage natural resources. In the case of rainy weather, there may be muddy trails that erode and deepen designated paths. Consider rescheduling if rain is in the forecast.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Sometimes we’ll veer off a path, especially when traveling in the backcountry. In this case, it’s important to find durable surfaces that are able to recover from use. Most of the time, trails have already been established to best direct traffic flow. When camping, be conscious of the surface of an environment if pitching a tent. This can prevent damage from occurring in sensitive areas

Packing a stove for your camping trip has become a fast, easy, and sustainable way to cook when camping. It has minimal impact and leaves no guesswork as to the availability of firewood. If you are considering building a fire, be sure to first check the fire danger in the area and if there is sufficient wood for gathering. Use existing fire rings if there is one. Keep the fire small and let the wood burn entirely to ash. Extinguish fires with water, not dirt, and avoid rock outcrops where black scars can remain for years.

Dispose of waste properly

This doesn’t mean just throwing away your trash. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of lands, especially in Utah, proper disposal of human waste is vital. Many campgrounds enforce packing out waste as well. Respecting this practice can help avoid pollution of water sources, prevent the spread of disease, and maximize the rate of decomposition. 

Leave what you find, and be considerate of other visitors

Although it can be tempting to take natural souvenirs from the trail, it’s best practice to leave what you find. This allows others to experience the natural habitat as it’s supposed to be and avoids further damage. At campsites, leave a fire ring as you found it instead of dismantling it as someone will likely come and rebuild a new one.

Being outdoors in nature is one of the most calming or rejuvenating experiences one can have. Remaining courteous, knowing trail etiquette, wearing earbuds instead of a portable speaker, and keeping dogs on leashes are all ways to respect others on the trail. Help keep the outdoors a place where everyone feels welcome. 

Seeing wildlife out in the wild is a thrill. You are, however, in their home, and what may seem like a small disturbance to you may be very disruptive to them. Wildlife can also be unpredictable, so observing from a distance is always the best practice. Quick movements, loud noises (minus bear sightings), feeding, touching, or picking up wild animals are stressful to the animal. Not only can it cause immediate injury, but removing or touching a young animal can result in the parents abandoning their young. Rescue groups and land managers are resources to which to report sick or injured animals. 

Human food has no nutrients for wildlife. Feeding wildlife can change their habits and lead to food conditioning, which can ultimately damage the animal’s health. Extreme examples can lead to relocation or euthanization of wildlife. Respecting wildlife from afar benefits both you and the animal. 

Emergency preparedness

Different conditions require different emergency preparations. Make sure you have the right supplies for winter versus summer. Carrying enough water in arid conditions is a must, as is bringing enough layers in the winter. Basic first aid supplies are vital as you never know how long it will take for help to arrive. Knowledge of the geography of the area you are traveling in is the best thing you can do to prepare. Things like flash floods can be devastating to those unaware of the risks.

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