There is no denying that Colorado is beautiful. Its snow-capped peaks, rushing whitewater, and outback terrain draw in thousands of tourists and locals alike to connect with nature. Whether you are a native or a visitor, it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the land. The Leave No Trace – Care for Colorado campaign hopes to preserve Colorado’s natural beauty for generations to come.
The goal of the Leave No Trace program is to sustain a healthy environment by lessening the issues caused by human interference. Common problems include damaged trails, pollution, fire, and putting wildlife at risk. Fortunately, it’s simple to protect our lands – and our future.
If you are planning to hike, camp, or raft, here’s what you need to do to be a conscientious steward of the environment.
Never leave garbage behind, even if it is food. All litter, even apple cores or orange peels, need to be thrown away in the nearest waste bin. If you are in a remote area where bins are not accessible, take your garbage back with you. Limit your waste by using reusable containers for water and food.
Need to clean up? Make sure that you wash with a biodegradable soap that won’t pollute the water. Stay at least 200 feet back from waterways when you are washing – even if you are cleaning up your dog. Soaps can be detrimental to fish and plants.
Speaking of pets, be sure to keep them leashed on trails and clean up after them. No waste should be left behind.
Wildlife should be respected. Do not approach wildlife or feed them. We do not want to alter their natural behavior or put their health at risk.
Though it may be tempting to take a souvenir, leave rocks and plants where you find them. Do not carve your initials or mark rocks and trees. This disfigures them, spoiling their beauty for others and putting the plants at risk.
Stick to the trails. This helps protect plants and wildlife habitats. Colorado has thousands of marked trails and designated camping areas. Remaining in these areas helps keep other areas natural.
The low humidity can create dry conditions. Be very careful when smoking. Make sure cigarettes are put completely out and take the butts with you. Before you build a campfire, check the local fire restrictions. Information on fire restrictions and bans change frequently depending on conditions. If you do build a fire, make sure it is completely out by using water to douse it, and never leave a fire unattended.
That’s it! Being a good steward is a simple matter of being responsible for yourself. Stick to the marked areas, pick up after yourself, and respect nature to care for Colorado.