Skills & Techniques

Take Me to the Beach

Guest - October 18, 2017

Oregon Inlet, NC: Hurricane season is here with a force this year. Unprecedented energies have pummeled coastal environments in the southern United States and secluded islands of the Atlantic. These storms, so devastating to locals and the environment, significantly alter the lay of the land. With each storm surge and the flooding which follows, coastal ecosystems are proving their vital role in aiding to protect people, homes, and shoreline habitats.

Sand dunes are most effective barriers from winds and flooding when left intact. Footprints, although small individually, accumulate quickly in sand dune environments due to the characteristics of this loose material. After time, dune vegetation and this unique habitat can be severely damaged by beachgoer foot traffic resulting in tremendous impacts.

Like all recreation, impacts will increase significantly with growth in visitation. Learning how to properly experience unique environments like these, help to maintain the pristine position of dunes and the habitat they provide for unique flora and fauna only found in this ecosystem.

Help protect sand dunes by following the following tips while visiting your favorite beach…

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare: Read up on weather, trails, and boardwalks to prepare for your time at the beach. Always research local rules and regulations for the area you plan to visit.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Dunes are not a durable surface. Stick to trails and walkways to limit the limit the impact from your visit.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Use reusable containers like these from Klean Kanteen to pack food, and consider bringing a trash bag to pick up litter found along the way.
  • Leave What You Find: Turtles, shorebirds, shells, and plants all live in sand dunes environments. Help protect these creatures by leaving them be, consider taking a picture instead!
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts: Check to see if fires are permitted on the beach you are visiting. Each beach has unique rules and regulations, know before you go.
  • Respect Wildlife: Store food properly during your visit, feeding wildlife can lead to safety concerns for both people and the animals.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Consider visiting the beach to avoid high times of use. This will reduce condensed impact during the weekends and holidays.


Enjoy Your World & Leave No Trace.

Steph & Andy

Leave No Trace’s Stephanie Whatton and Andy Mossey are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, Smartwool, and Taxa Outdoors.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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