Community parks and wildlife preservation areas make it easy to step out into nature and immerse yourself in the beauty that it has to offer while also getting some great exercise or spending quality time with the family. When you visit a local park, remember that the space is for everyone to use, so it should be treated with care to reduce the impact on the native plants and animals to preserve the integrity of the area.
Pick Up Your Trash
One of the biggest human impacts in natural areas is trash. While a stray candy wrapper or water bottle may not seem like a big deal, garbage can pile up quickly and cause a big disturbance in natural areas by clogging up streams and releasing harmful chemicals into the water and soil. Therefore, you should be diligent about removing everything you bring to the park—including the trash that might be left behind from the day’s lunch.
Brush Off Your Shoes
If you’ve been hiking around in other areas or if your boots are particularly dirty, it’s a good idea to brush them off before taking a stroll in your local park. Noxious weeds and invasive plants have seeds that can hitch a ride on your shoes and infest new areas, so be careful about what you might unwittingly leave behind from your shoes.
Stay on Designated Trails and in Marked Recreational Areas
Whether your local park is full of walking trails or big, open spaces, it’s important to only tread in areas designated for human activity. There may be delicate seedlings sprouting in certain areas, wildlife restoration areas, or other sensitive spots where simple footsteps can do a lot of damage.
Only Bring Pets to Approved Areas
Another potential source of damage you might not think much of is pets. It may sound fun to walk the family dog through the park, but you should only do so if the park is open to pets. In addition, you should always keep your animal on a leash, so they don’t cause any disturbance to the wildlife in the area.
If everyone does their part to keep local parks beautiful, then they will thrive for years to come. For more information on the parks and preservation efforts going on in Northwestern Colorado, contact Steamboat Springs Parks & Recreation at (970) 879-4300.