Traveling and exploring the world is great, but it can come at a cost if you’re not careful. Many vacationers abandon all cares when they visit the Rocky Mountains, greatly increasing their impact on the environment. They might ride around the area in exhaust-emitting cars, throw their trash blindly through the untamed wilderness, or even trek through sensitive areas, destroying the natural habitat. If you’d like to be more conscious of your impact on the environment, here are several tips for a green visit to the Rocky Mountains.
The best way to reduce your impact during your stay is to minimise driving by staying close to the park. While you’ll still likely need to drive to trails and other attractions in the area, it cuts down on a lot of the back and forth. Grand Lake is a popular vacation destination, as it offers pristine views and is just a five-minute drive to the Rocky Mountain National Park Grand Lake Entrance.
While it’s a little further away, Vail also offers great lodging, as it’s nestled at the base of Vail Mountain. The city is a good place to stay if you plan on starting your trip in White River National Forest and then heading north into Rocky Mountain National Park.
Watch Out for Wildlife
One of the best parts of traveling through the Rocky Mountains is the chance to catch myriad species of birds, animals, and insects in their native habitat. If you’re lucky, you might see bighorn sheep rams, great horned owls, elk, marmots, pikas, and more.
Observing these animals causes no harm; it’s when people try to get closer that things start to go wrong. Trying to approach animals can spook them into a daring and dangerous escape. Even worse is trying to feed natural wildlife. This is harmful for a number of reasons, but the biggest is that human food is generally not good for the animals. What’s more, animals could become dependent on snacks from visitors, creating a nuisance when they beg incessantly.
Don’t Start a Fire
Wildfire blazes are a real threat to the Rocky Mountains. While Rocky Mountain Natural Park usually has five to seven fires caused naturally by lightning each year, that number would be much higher if visitors were allowed to build fires wherever they wished.
Luckily, Rocky Mountain National Park is cognisant of the danger and prohibits campfires or grills from being used outside designated areas. Follow these rules to keep the terrain safe.
Leave No Trace
Perhaps the biggest and most crucial thing to consider when traveling through the Rocky Mountains is to pick up your trash. Rocky Mountain National Park has a “leave no trace” policy, which asks visitors to limit their impact on the land as much as possible by carrying out all their waste.
Other parts of this policy include staying on designated trails to keep from widening the terrain, camping in areas without vegetation growing, and burying one’s bodily waste in a hole that is at least 6 inches deep.
Use these tips to minimise your impact on the Rocky Mountains, so this treasure will still be there for future generations to enjoy.