Your guide to Earth Day and How to Leave No Trace by MangoRV

Your guide to Earth Day and How to Leave No Trace by MangoRV

“The Earth is what we all have in common.” Beautiful words written by American novelist and poet Wendell Berry who, like many people all over the world, is an environmental enthusiast. You know who else shares the same love for nature? You guessed it, RVers. Some of the most exciting adventures and memorable vacations for Americans have happened at National Parks, State Parks, Beaches, Islands and Mountains to name a few. The Earth is fascinating and almost everyone who loves the outdoors has a desire to explore by camping, hiking, bike riding, paddle boarding and rving. This is why in celebration of Earth Day; we’re sharing ways you can be earth friendly when rving.

About Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, to raise awareness about our planet and what we can all do to take better care of it. Since then, people from all over the world have celebrated and observed Earth Day on April 22 of each calendar year. The Earth Day flag, as shown below is dark blue and displays a photo of the earth by NASA. To learn more about Earth Day and green initiatives taking place you can read about the Greenline Earth Day 2022.

Leave No Trace 

It’s no secret that the Earth is extraordinary and has offered amazing opportunities for recreation. In order to continue having such wonderful experiences, our ecosystems need to thrive and the best way they can do that is if they’re protected and left unbothered. This is partly why the Leave No Trace Seven Principles was created by The Leave No Trace Center for Ethics in 1999, built on the work of the US Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The seven principles serve as a guide for “backcountry” users to be environmentally conscious when participating in recreational activities including rving. More specifically for visitors of natural sites to be conscious and mindful when coming in contact with plants, wildlife, people, trails and bodies of water. You can find the seven the principles provided by the NPS below:

Plan ahead and prepare.

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass or GPS to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

  • Durable surfaces include maintained trails and designated campsites, rock, gravel, sand, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
    • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
    • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
    • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
    • In pristine areas:
    • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
    • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of waste properly.

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite, food preparation areas, and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • Utilize toilet facilities whenever possible. Otherwise, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave what you find.

  • Preserve the past: examine, photograph, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use down and dead wood from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect wildlife.

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, [habituates them to humans], and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be considerate of other visitors.

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
To read more about the seven principles and see reference cards, visit the National Park Service.

Get involved! 

There are many ways to be an eco-friendly rver. You can attend local events, become an Earth Day advocate by sharing pertinent information on social media, attend virtual conferences and join local environmental or volunteer groups. You may also donate to wildlife conservation or sign up for volunteer opportunities with the National Park Service. Your state and local parks may also offer volunteer opportunities listed on their websites. 

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