Exploring the Outdoors in a Socially and Environmentally Responsible Manner

To travel ethically, visitors to national parks need to be more mindful and better understand the history of the parks and their impacts on these spaces and surrounding communities.

September 22, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By clementkhlau @clemusc

National Parks

DanielNevares / Shutterstock

The great outdoors have been incredibly popular with the public during these COVID times. Numerous studies and articles provide evidence of this, with examples including "Return of the National Parks," "National Forests Were Highly Popular in 2020," "Parks Overwhelmed by Record Numbers of Visitors," and "Avoiding Crowds at National Parks."

In this article, Amanda Machado discusses an aspect of outdoor travel that is often overlooked or neglected: how to travel in a socially and environmentally responsible way given that the national park system was built upon land stolen from Native Americans. As Machado explains, we really need to consider how "the way we take advantage of our national parks has often caused harm: the genocide of Indigenous communities to make 'space' for outdoor recreation, the unmanageable waste that accumulates from large crowds of tourists, the scarcity of resources for people living near parks."

The article offers four tips for travelers to think about before their next visit to a national park:

  1. Research how the pandemic has affected local communities surrounding national parks.
  2. Consider alternatives to popular tourist destinations.
  3. Seek out opportunities to acknowledge Indigenous communities.
  4. Explore ways to abandon the mindset of chasing after "pristine wilderness"

For details on each tip, please read the source article.

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