Setting off into the wilderness on foot is a fantastic way to discover the beauty of nature. Many people see hiking as an eco-friendly outdoor activity. What they may not know is that the irresponsible practices of hikers can have lasting negative effects on the environment and surrounding communities.
Fortunately, there are ways hikers can be responsible for preserving the environment they’re visiting. Whether you are strolling to Dr Roberts Waterhole or are scaling Girraween’s Pyramid, always take these tips into account:
Follow The Rules
It’s important to be aware of the regulations in place for the area you are visiting. National parks and other protected areas have rules in place to help protect the environment. you’ll usually be given park information on entry – sometimes on signs, leaflets to take with you, or even a video to watch.
Manage Your Waste
Our planet faces a serious waste, plastic and pollution problem. Thankfully, managing your waste is one of the easiest ways to reduce your impact while hiking. Always pack up everything that you bring in, including food scraps and biodegradable packaging. If there are no garbage bins available, carry a small rubbish bag with you to store your waste until you can dispose of it properly.
Stick To The Paths
This is a rule that many of us want to break. While it is tempting to get off the beaten track, this can have a damaging effect on the environment. Clumsy, misplaced footsteps can kill delicate plants, disturb the habitats and nesting grounds of wildlife, and cause soil erosion.
National parks, such as Girraween, invest huge amounts of money to create and maintain paths to protect the wildlife around them, and for your own safety.
Look, Don’t Touch!
Wildlife and plants are easily damaged, so it’s important to respect them when you’re out on a hike. Many species are protected in Australia, so it’s illegal to touch or disturb them in any way. How far away you should stay depends on where you are, and how dangerous the animals are. Park information will also tell you specifically how to react to any animals that pose a danger.
Keep Water Sources Clean
Lakes, rivers, streams, and springs are a critical part of the natural ecology of an area and also act as a source of drinking water for fellow hikers. As such, it is important to take care when using them and to dispose of any waste appropriately. Never wash dishes, clothes or yourself in the water source. Soap, even the biodegradable kind can be harmful to the environment.
Leave No Trace
Last, but not least – leave no trace. When you’ve finished hiking, make sure that everything you’ve brought with you is back where it belongs. This includes rubbish, and other signs that you were there. If an area looks like it’s been trampled on, it probably has been – so be responsible and avoid this.
A Guide At Your Fingertips
Hiking can be a fun, rewarding, and eco-friendly activity, but only if done responsibly. Aussie Park Guides is your go-to app for all things Girraween and the Pyramid. Perfect for travellers and locals alike., it will guide you to the start of the Pyramid track, all while providing tips, information and must-see highlights to help you make the most out of your trip.