Frontcountry

In praise of Colorado 13ers

Westcliffe, CO : 14ers are a point of pride in Colorado, for better and for worse. These 14,000+ peaks set the state apart, and nearly every resident can tell you how many they’ve hiked. The most difficult peaks call for serious mountaineering skills, but even relatively accessible 14ers require lung-busting climbs. It's Colorado credibility. But as the state’s population grows, these peaks are getting loved to death. There are only 54 to 58 14ers ( depending on who you ask ) , meaning all aspiring peakbaggers direct their attention to the same limited number of...

3 Tips for Protecting Sea Turtles

Hampton, VA: Going to the beach this summer? You may not know it, but the months of May through early October are prime sea turtle nesting season in North America. Right now, there may be a mama turtle laying a nest of over 100 little eggs on a beach near you. Check out our video and blog below for three easy things you can do to help protect these beautiful creatures! Tip #1: Pack up your stuff and throw away trash - It's easy for your things to get away from you on a windy day on the beach, and it might seem convenient to leave your beach chair or sun shade out on the sand...

10 Ways to Create Less Trash at Camp

Cape Hatteras, NC - Ever seen a ton of trash piled next to trash cans at your campsite? What about litter scattered around the campground? Maybe you pack things out, but are you doing these 10 things to create less trash in the first place? Why Does it Matter? We all produce a lot of trash while camping. From cooking, to cleaning, to hydrating, much of what we do creates waste and adds to our footprint. Camp trash can cause a lot of impacts too. If we do not Dispose of Waste Properly it can attract wildlife and lead to unintentionally feeding them. Our food and trash can...

How to Leave No Trace in City Parks

Washington, DC.: Visiting your local city park is a great way to get outdoors and connect with nature. While these parks are a little different than visiting the backcountry, humans can still have a big impact on the landscape. There are some things you will want to take into consideration when visiting to help minimize those impacts. Consider the paths you take while walking around the park. When you can, stick to trails or boardwalks to avoid damaging non-durable vegetation. Try not to cut corners or take shortcuts, as these areas can be hot spots for impacts. When you do veer off the main...

Skills Series: Grey Water Disposal

Pocahontas State Park, Virginia: When camping, we produce wastewater, or “grey water,” whenever we wash ourselves or our clothing, clean our dishes or brush our teeth. Check out our video to learn more about how you can protect your favorite camping areas by properly disposing your grey water: Improper grey water disposal can pollute streams, harm wildlife and diminish other visitors’ experiences, so it’s important to learn how to deal with it properly. Even biodegradable soap can linger a long time in streams and lakes, and the food scraps from dirty dish water can attract wildlife, who...

Fees vs. Taxes: Feed the Iron Ranger

Loma Mar, California: Ever hiked right past that “Iron Ranger,” one of those tamper-resistant fee boxes found at a day-use area, trailhead, or campground, and thought, “I pay my taxes, don’t I?” It’s true that tax revenues help fund our public lands, but as a percentage of the federal budget, we’re not talking about a lot of your tax money. Let’s say your family paid $7,000 in federal taxes last year. According to our modest calculations, [1] you’ll have contributed $5.38 toward the National Parks’ budget and $8.49 toward the U.S. Forest Service budget. And, with wildfire suppression costs up...

Coffee at Camp

Ocala, FL: Each new day brings the joy of a fresh brew of coffee. While camping we use different methods depending on the circumstance of our travel. This week’s video highlights our favorite 3 techniques for brewing up a warm cup o’ joe. Instant: A backpacking classic! Light, little waste, and getting tastier each year. Easily a go to for when our camping adventures require a light-weight solution. Pour Over: A personal favorite. You can get as fancy as you like with the brewing cone. We use a cheap $3.00 version found...

Campfire Alternatives

Amboy, CA: We are about to blow your outdoors-loving world. Ready? You can have fun camping WITHOUT A CAMPFIRE. Yes, we mean it. And, for the record, Leave No Trace is not anti-campfire. We, too, grew up roasting s’mores and hot dogs over campfires; that is, if by roasting, you mean burning into oblivion. We’ve strummed guitars and had deep (okay,“deep”) discussions by flickering flames. So we’re not anti-campfire. What we are is pro-responsible campfire and, sometimes, that means choosing to go fire-free. Maybe there’s not enough fuel to make a fire without destroying vital habitat or food...

Parks are Taking Action to Protect Vital Resources

Ocala National Forest, FL: Trash is an eyesore when hitting the trails! While on the road, we have observed (and picked up) our fair share of other peoples throw away items. Our favorite trails, and public spaces don’t always have to look like a rubbish bin however. In fact, in Juniper Springs Recreation Area land managers have prohibited single use, disposable items on the popular Juniper Springs Run; and guess what? It works! This pristine paddle enters protected wilderness and is a very unique ecosystem with a gorgeous subtropical climate. It is because of these...

Successes, Great and Small

Page, AZ : So it's February. You've had a month to settle in to your New Year's Resolutions - and while they could be going great, some of us have inevitably done a bit of backsliding over the last month. Life has a way of getting in the way, and when you don't have the time you hoped you'd have, it's easiest to let the new things slide. It can be hard to feel unable to do as well as you'd like to at a new habit, whatever you're trying to do. But we're going to let you in on a little secret that's helped us out a lot: You don't have to be perfect. It's so...

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