Etiquette School is in session! > The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly

The Great Outdoors

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Hawkwatcher:
Etiquette can be very important when hiking, camping, skiing, birdwatching, etc.  Indeed, some of the worse etiquette offenses I have personally witnessed have been doing outdoor activities.

Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing

1. Be realistic about your abilities and your companion's abilities.  If you are fast hiker or skier and you decide to go hiking or cross-country skiing with a person who is not in as good as shape, go at their pace or do not with them at all.  It really stinks for a slow person to be left behind. You should also not nag them.

On the other hand, if you realize your companions are all interested an intense, physical experience while you are interested is simply enjoying nature, you should respect that and go another day.

2. Come prepared.  Make an effort to learn about where you are hiking or cross-country skiing.  If you are going on a seven-mile hike in Death Valley, bring plenty of water.  Dress appropriately. Remember that comfort is more important that fashion. Do not expect that your companions are going to be able to provide anything you forget.

3.  Children.  Parents need to be realistic about the abilities and tolerance level of the children.  While a fourteen-year old might be able to go on a fairly vigorous hike, a five-year child may need you to carry him or her.  Realize that you are responsible for providing for the needs of the child.  Do not expect your companions and others to help.  You should also be willing to walk at the same pace as the child and not to expect the child to walk at your pace.

Wildlife Viewing and Birdwatching 

1.  Respect all wildlife especially large mammals.  While a cow elk may look gentle and her calf might be the cutest thing you have ever seen, do not get to close.  She may take your behavior as threatening and you may be in big trouble.  You also do not want to stress wildlife.

2.  Be careful about disturbing wildlife.  Realize you are not the only person who wants these animals.  You should also realize that you are forcing the animal to burn of calories and that this can be dangerous during certain times of the year.

3.  The same is true for birdwatching.  Be careful not to disturb the birds.  Do not use a cellphone to call you fellow birders while birdwatching (yes, I have seen this happen).  Walk slowing and quietly, you will see more birds.

4.  If you encounter a fellow birder who tells you about a unique species bird, do not argue with that person even if you think he or she misidentified the bird.  That person probably thinks that he or she is doing you a favor by telling you what to look for.  That person may also correctly identified the bird.

Camping

1.  Be respectful of your fellow campers.  Do not play loud music all night long.  Remember of your fellow campers might be planning to get an early start to go hiking or to photograph the sun rising.

2.  Be prepared.  Do not rely on other campers to provide you with food and other supplies.

3.  Clean up after yourself.  Throw everything away in the garbage cans.  If there are no garbage cans, haul the garbage out yourself.  If you are camping in bear country, this is especially important.

demarco:
Hiking 5.  Don't leave a trail of trash on the hiking trail.  This includes cigarette butts. 

Lisbeth:
Don't carve in tree bark-it kills the tree.

ginlyn32:
Outdoors rule in general:

Take plenty of pictures but leave only footprints behind.

Camping:

*Do NOT store your food in your tent! The animals can smell it, even though you have removed it! Even if it is stored in a cooler.

*If you have leftover camping wood, leave it behind in the fire-ring for the next camper.

*Moderate your voice. Voices carry outside, especially at night.

*The showers are for getting clean, not for using the bathroom. Yes, I have seen this happen!

ginlyn

Outdoor Girl:
Know the rules of the area you are in.  For example:

If cans and/or glass bottles are banned, don't bring them.

If there is an alcohol ban for a particular weekend, don't bring alcohol.

If the limit for trout is 2 fish/day, then don't have five in your cooler at the end of the day.


If the trail is maintained by Park staff and there is an issue such as a tree down over the trail, report it when you complete your hike so the trail can be repaired quickly.  They can't fix it if they don't know about it and they often don't have enough staff to hike every trail regularly.


As ginlyn32 said, the mantra to live by is:  Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.

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