7 Conservation Guidelines for Hikers

Posted by Carmel Turner on

As hikers we have the privilege of seeing the world’s most magnificent places. If we want to continue enjoying these places, taking on the responsibility of caring for them and the wildlife that inhabit them, is essential. If more hikers can adopt conservation guidelines to help preserve the natural world we can aid in ensuring future generations get to see it as well. 

As current hikers there is much we can do as individuals and as a group to put these responsibilities into action.  

If you are not sure how to begin here are 7 conservation guidelines for hikers you can adopt to help you care for the earth. 

1. Make your vote count. Make sure you vote in politicians who champion conversation and let them know why.  Be vocal, sign petitions.  This is where change happens, with law creation to protect the environment.  One of the best examples of this was Bob Brown, the Australian Green Senator who through is activism helped save the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area in Australia. To read more about him check out this blog post https://travelswithmyhubby.com/index.php/2021/02/17/how-love-for-the-huon-pine-saved-the-gordon-river/

2. Consider becoming a citizen scientist and offer to document the environment you hike in. Supporting science is critical to saving the planet’s wild space. Science gives you the facts, the data, not some random’s opinion on the Internet based on belief or driven by a political agenda. As a hiker you get to see first-hand the effect of global warming especially if you have travelled to a place regularly over a long period of time. Take the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand for example.  You don’t even need to be a scientist to see its recession over the last 40 years from a plane.  On our last visit to it in 2017, where our buses parked was where the glacier used to reach in 1976.  A glacier’s journey is supposed to end in the sea.

3. Become a frequent public transport user or walk more places. Drive less. Get a carpool to you next trail head. According to the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2019 America’s Transportation sector was responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions. 


Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming which exacerbates habitat destruction.

4. Admire the wildlife but do not touch. Even if you would get 1000 likes on Instagram only allow the animals to choose the interaction.

conservation suggestions

5. Plant more trees. Plants help absorb carbon dioxide and offset carbon emissions. You can do this as an individual in your own backyard or as a volunteer.  See 7 below.

6. Say no to plastic containers. Buy products in either glass bottles or stainless-steel cans.  Take your own shopping bags to get your groceries especially fruit and veg. You don’t need a separate plastic bag for each group of fruit or vegies you buy.  Say NO to PLASTIC STRAWS. 

Here are a few quick plastic facts.

  • Even though we have been recycling plastics since the mid-70s only 9% of all plastic produced has ever been recycled, 12% incinerated and 79% in landfill or the ocean. Refer Green Technology  link.  https://bit.ly/3hxuVBH
  • In 2015 the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was found and mapped. It is roughly an area 1.5 times as big as Texas. Refer extract below from Wikipedia
  • “In March 2018, The Ocean Cleanup published a paper summarizing their findings from the Mega- (2015) and Aerial Expedition (2016). In 2015, the organization crossed the Great Pacific garbage patch with 30 vessels, to make observations and take samples with 652 survey nets. They collected a total of 1.2 million pieces, which they counted and categorized into their respective size classes. In order to also account for the larger, but more rare debris, they also overflew the patch in 2016 with a C-130 Hercules aircraft, equipped with LiDAR sensors. The findings from the two expeditions, found that the patch covers 1.6 million square kilometers with a concentration of 10–100 kg per square kilometer. They estimate an 80,000 metric tons in the patch, with 1.8 trillion plastic pieces, out of which 92% of the mass is to be found in objects larger than 0.5 centimeters.”

7. Volunteer and support your National Parks and other NGOs in their bid to conserve the earth. You will find organizations in your local areas where you can volunteer to help revegetation projects.  Check out https://friendsoftrees.org/volunteer/ to volunteer to plant trees in your area.

The above is not an exhaustive list of conservation guidelines for the hikers. It is merely a datum point from which to start if you are looking at ways you can make a difference in caring for our planet.  

In the United States alone the number of people hiking has risen from around 30 Million in 2006 to around 50 Million in 2019. (Taken from Statista.com) This represents around 15% of the total population which represents a real rise of 5% over the period.  More people than ever are wanting to visit and enjoy the natural world and its wonders.  Let’s make sure it is around and healthy for them as well as ourselves.



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