At Portwest - The Outdoor Shop, one of our favourite ways to unwind is to head for the hills to hike. You’ll be delighted to know hiking is an eco-friendly activity because you’re using your own legs to propel yourself.
But every activity has an impact on your environment. Here’s how you can take reducing your environmental impact on your next hike to the next level.
1. Stay on designated trails:There’s valid reasons why you should stick to established trails. If you wander off trail it encourages others to do the same. And this contributes to soil erosion. We encourage you to avoid taking shortcuts, even if it seems like a faster route. You don’t want to destroy plants and vegetation by hiking off trail. And get this, there are over 900 native species of plant life in Ireland. Staying on trails helps reduce the introduction of invasive plant species.
2. Leave No Trace:You never want to see litter anywhere but seeing litter at your favourite hiking spot hits right in the feels. You can do your part by following the #LeaveNoTrace principles. You can help by taking all your rubbish home with you. And we mean all of it. You’re unlikely to find a bin. If you can’t take it home with you, you probably shouldn’t pack it. And you should never bury or burn trash because this can attract wildlife and harm the O-Zone layer.
3. Use eco-friendly products:
There’s no way around it, there’s some things you need to bring on your hike. But you can do your best by using reusable water bottles and reusable containers. We hear you, it’s not always possible but when you can, minimise your use of single-use products. Use local foods that aren’t wrapped in tons of plastic and didn’t cross thousands of kms to get to your hands. And let’s not forget your outdoor equipment. If only we could recommend a sustainable, Irish outdoor clothing brand in business for nearly 120 years? 😊
4. Respect wildlife:
Hands up if you’re a sucker for a cute lamb bouncing in the fields this time of year? If you’re hiking the hills around Ireland, you’re bound to encounter wildlife like sheep and goats. You need to keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding them because this can disrupt their natural behaviour and cause them stress. Do you want a stressed lamb on your conscience? Animals will eat anything you leave behind so please be mindful of this and take all rubbish with you.
5. Leave what you find:
We’ll be honest…. This is a tough one. You see a heart-shaped rock shinning back at you. You think, it’ll look lovely on the table beside your front door. But that rock you put in your pocket could be home to hundreds of small critters. So, it’s important you resist the urge to take home souvenirs from your hike.
Take nothing but photos.
Leave nothing but footprints
By following these 5 easy steps, you can reduce your environmental impact on your next hike and help preserve the natural beauty of the nature for you to explore for years to come.
So, the next time you’re setting off on your favourite hike, pause to think, what if this trail no longer existed because you contributed to a negative impact on your environment?
You can’t change the behaviour of every person on the trail, but you can change yours. We’re not looking for perfection, just progress. Your actions will have a direct impact on your planet.
What would you add to this list? Comment below.