6 Ways to be Responsible While Outdoors

by Discover Davis

Spending time outdoors on trails and at parks is a great way to exercise, relieve stress, escape cabin fever, and improve your mood. Whether you are visiting a trail, state park, golf course, or even just a city park, we all must do our part in #ResponsibleRecreation.

“Responsible Recreation” means acknowledging that we all have a role in keeping one another safe. To help, we’ve outlined 6 key ways to help you play your part in being a responsible recreator. Following these guidelines will help keep our communities safe while preserving our beautiful mountains and land.

1: Know Before You Go

Before venturing into nature, it’s crucial to be well-prepared for a safe and enjoyable experience. Begin by researching your destination’s terrain, climate, wildlife, and regulations, and always have an alternative plan in case conditions change unexpectedly.

Carry both physical and digital maps, ensuring your digital ones are accessible offline, and learn how to read topographic maps and use a compass. Stay updated on current road conditions and weather forecasts, and be ready for rapid weather changes with appropriate clothing and gear. Pack essential survival items, such as a first aid kit, extra food, water, and a method for purifying water from natural sources. Identify reliable water sources along your route and plan accordingly. By preparing thoroughly, you can handle whatever challenges nature presents. Knowing before you go is essential practice in responsible recreation!

2: Be Wildlife Wise

Be wildlife-wise by understanding the animals you may encounter and how to safely coexist with them. Utah is home to a variety of mammals and reptiles, including elk, moose, deer, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Be sure to keep your distance and respect their space. Avoid approaching or feeding wildlife, as this can be dangerous for both you and the animals. Be aware of your surroundings, make noise while hiking to avoid surprising animals, and store food securely to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite. By respecting wildlife and their habitats, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable outdoor experience.

3: Stay on Designated Trails

It can be fun to go off and explore untouched areas, but one of the best ways to preserve our beautiful land is to stay on the designated trail paths. Staying on trails not only keeps you going in the right direction but also helps keep the areas outside the trail beautiful and lush. When too many people go off-trail, the vegetation suffers and over time becomes worn down, thins out, and has difficulty re-growing. Staying on designated trail and pathway areas is the simplest way to preserve Davis County’s beautiful land.

4: Pack It In- Pack It Out

Responsible Recreation Reminder

Tidiness is a key part of ensuring an enjoyable outdoor experience for everyone. Pack it in, pack it out. As you explore and fuel your body, make sure to pick up your crumbs and wrappers. Don’t leave anything behind for the critters, as that will make them more curious about people and disrupt their natural behavior. If you see someone else’s trash from not doing their part, pick it up. And don’t forget to pick up your dog’s mess either!

5: Keep Track of Furry Family Members

Dogs love outdoor recreation just as much as humans and its always exciting to bring along our furry family members. If you decide to bring your dog to recreation areas, check beforehand that animals are permitted. 

Please remember to keep your dog on a leash while enjoying outdoor recreation. You never know when you will come across someone who does not like dogs or another dog that might not get along well with yours. You should always pick up after your dog, especially near trails or pathways.

6: Share the Trail

One of the great things about many of Davis County’s trails is that they are perfect for a variety of activities. Hiking, trail running, and mountain biking are all possible on lots of our trails, which means we all need to make an effort to share the trail. When doing around curves or blind spots, be mindful of those who may be on the other side. Frequently check behind you to see if there is someone approaching who needs to pass you. 

When we share the trail and are aware of others around us, we can stay safe and create a welcoming environment for everyone.

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