Things Not to Do While Hiking: Ethical Behaviour In the Outdoors
by Emily Jannet on Mar 25, 2023
Hiking is a popular activity that many people enjoy, but with more and more people heading out into the wilderness, it is essential to be aware of the impact that we have on the environment and the wildlife that live there. In this blog post, we will discuss hiking ethics and etiquette and the importance of being responsible hikers.
What are Hiking Ethics?
Hiking ethics are the moral principles that govern the conduct of hikers while they are on the trail. These principles are based on respect for the environment and the wildlife that inhabit it. Hiking ethics are designed to help hikers minimize their impact on the environment, preserve the natural beauty of the trail, and ensure that other hikers can enjoy the trail as well.
Hiking ethics are based on several principles, including:
Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace principle is the most important of all hiking ethics. It means that hikers should leave the trail as they found it, without leaving any traces behind. This includes not only taking all trash with you, but also minimizing any other impact you have on the environment, such as not disturbing wildlife or vegetation.
Wildlife is an essential part of the environment, and hikers should always respect the animals that they encounter on the trail. This means keeping a safe distance from wildlife, not feeding them, and not disturbing their natural habitat.
Respect Other Hikers
Respect for other hikers is another important hiking ethic. Hikers should be mindful of other hikers and avoid making unnecessary noise or disturbing their experience on the trail. Hikers should also yield to other hikers on the trail when appropriate.
Respect the Trail
Respecting the trail means staying on designated trails and avoiding shortcuts that can damage the environment. Hikers should also avoid leaving any marks on the trail, such as carving into trees or rocks.
Why is Hiking Ethics Important?
Hiking ethics are essential for several reasons. First, they help preserve the natural beauty of the environment. By following hiking ethics, hikers can minimize their impact on the trail and reduce the damage caused by human activity.
Second, hiking ethics help protect wildlife. Many animals live in the wilderness, and they are vulnerable to human activity. By respecting wildlife and their habitat, hikers can help protect these animals and ensure their survival.
Finally, hiking ethics help ensure that other hikers can enjoy the trail as well. By being mindful of other hikers and respecting their experience on the trail, hikers can help create a positive and safe environment for everyone.
In addition to hiking ethics, hikers should also be aware of hiking etiquette. Hiking etiquette is a set of informal rules that hikers should follow to ensure a positive experience on the trail. While hiking etiquette is not as strict as hiking ethics, it is still essential for hikers to be aware of these guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the trail.
Here are some examples of hiking etiquette:
Yielding to Other Hikers
When two hikers meet on the trail, the hiker going uphill should yield to the hiker going downhill. This is because the hiker going uphill may have more difficulty stopping and starting again.
Passing Other Hikers
When passing other hikers on the trail, it is essential to announce yourself by saying, "on your left" or "on your right." This allows the other hiker to move over and make room for you to pass.
Staying on the Trail
As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to stay on the designated trail to avoid damaging the environment. If you need to step off the trail for any reason, be sure to step on durable surfaces, such as rocks or gravel, to avoid damaging vegetation.
Keeping Dogs under Control
If you bring your furry friend along on the hike, it is essential to keep them under control. This means keeping your dog on a leash at all times, picking up after them, and avoiding letting them off-leash in areas where it is prohibited.
Hikers should always be prepared for their hike by bringing enough water, food, and appropriate clothing. They should also be aware of the trail's difficulty level and plan accordingly.
In conclusion, hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it is essential to be responsible and respectful while on the trail. By following hiking ethics and etiquette, hikers can minimize their impact on the environment, protect wildlife, and ensure a safe and positive experience for themselves and other hikers. So, before you head out on your next hike, be sure to review and follow these principles to be a responsible hiker.