5 Tips on How to Be a Better Traveler

We all love getting out and enjoying the fresh air, but some don't know how to keep mother nature happy at the same time. Next time you head out for a Cle Elum area adventure, be aware of your surroundings and help conserve nature and wildlife to keep our lands flourishing for generations to come. Here are some tips on how to be more aware and conserve nature and wildlife while visiting.

Don't Feed Wildlife

People love feeding birds and squirrels that they see on campsites or trails. What people don't often know is how damaging this can be to the animals, other hikers or campers, and the environment. Feeding wildlife while camping puts you and other campers in danger. Wildlife will keep coming back to you because they expect you to feed them, oftentimes bringing in bigger animals such as bears, coyotes, and cougars. When camping, make sure all food is put away when you go to bed as most animals can smell food that is left out and will keep coming back for more. When hiking, keep your snacks to yourself and remember to pack out what you pack in, meaning everything that you bring on your adventure should go back home with you, including food, trash, and any other items you may have.

Don't be a Litterbug

Littering products that don't decompose is a habit that causes our environment to deteriorate. In addition, animals attempting to eat or play with plastic or cans often end up getting injured or poisoned. Littering also destroys the ecosystem because plastic doesn't break down easily, and just takes away from the natural beauty. Our trails can become less attractive and unsanitary if travelers often leave their trash behind. Keep our environment clean for the campers or hikers that follow you, and they'll be more likely to do the same!

Prevent Forest Fires

Don't get us wrong, we all love making s'mores over a campfire while camping. Not putting out the fire correctly can lead to causing a forest fire, which isn't good. Here are some ways you can prevent fires from happening during your next camping adventure:

• Check fire hazard warnings & respect burn bans

Some areas in Central Washington can get pretty dry in the middle of summer. Make sure to ask your campground host if it is okay to start campfires the day you arrive. If there is an official burn ban in effect during your visit, pack pre-cooked or no-cook foods and be mindful of other items that could spark dry lands such as a running vehicle or a cigarette.

• Keep campfires in fire pits

Make sure that your fire stays in the fire pit. If you are camping where they do not have any, make sure you build one correctly. To build one, you will need a lot of big rocks placed in a circle so the fire will not spread.

• Never leave your fire unattended

Leaving your fire unattended causes unexpected forest fires. Always assign the task of keeping an eye on the fire to someone in your group.

• Extinguish your fire thoroughly

Just because the big flames are put out doesn't mean that the fire is all the way extinguished. Coals can stay hot for hours after your fire has died down, making it possible for another fire to start. A few sparks could also fly out and catch a pine needle outside of the fire pit.

• Skip the fireworks

While it may sound fun to bring fireworks on your camping trip, fireworks are illegal in Washington State. Fireworks are one of the main causes of forest fires, so it's best to leave them to the professionals during holiday celebrations.

Stay on Trails & Observe Posted Signs

We know that kids and even some adults love going off the main path to explore more, however this can be harmful to hikers as well as nearby flora and fauna. When people go off-trail, they can get hurt by stepping on something slippery or could get a rash from harmful plants. Going off the trail can also harm new sprouts when they are stepped on and may spook wildlife, driving them away from their home. Paths are maintained regularly by local organizations to make sure they are safe for everyone to use, so it's always best to follow them rather than risk your safety or the health of our environment. Similarly, recreating responsibly means observing posted signs and sticking on the trails designated for you.

Thank you for helping us protect our natural areas and preserve local wildlife during your stay. With these tips in mind, explore local trails and campsites to adventure to during your visit to Cle Elum! We look forward to sharing our beautiful lands with you.


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