Treading Lightly this Fall

As the days get shorter and the intense hustle and bustle of summer activities slows down, we can’t help but get outside in the refreshing brisk air and marvel at the magnificent display of color as we enjoy the last bit of warm weather. Whether enjoying a rigorous bike ride through a scenic forest or a casual stroll along a leafy trail, we must remember the basics of outdoor preparedness and courtesy to maximize our enjoyment of this special time of year. Here are a few tips to help you safely enjoy your time in the autumn wonderland.

Travel Responsibly
Prepare for the unexpected.Even when we check the weather and plan for a routine stroll along our favorite trail, an unexpected cold front or drop in temperature can surprise us. Be sure to always bring a jacket and extra layers with you on every trip.

The sun setting earlier every day can catch us in the dark if we’re not careful, so be sure to bring a headlamp on those beautiful afternoon and evening hikes.

It’s always a good idea to pack emergency items especially if you’re traveling long distances or are far away from help.

Respect the Rights of Others
Be considerate of others. Everyone wants to enjoy the magnificent fall colors and the magical feeling autumn brings, and there is no reason why we all shouldn’t be able to. Being courteous to others by respecting their privacy, keeping noise to a minimum, picking up trash, and being considerate to your fellow recreationalist will ensure a good time for everybody.

Educate Yourself
Check the Weather. Although this applies to every outdoor adventure, transitioning seasons of spring and fall can have surprising and unpredictable weather. A sunny walk through the woods can turn into the season’s first snowstorm in a matter of minutes, catching the best of us off-guard. So be sure to check the forecast before your next autumn adventure.

Avoid Sensitive Areas
Research where you plan to go. Before you embark on any adventure, always know the distance, difficulty, route, important locations on a map and the estimated duration it should take. A wrong turn or an underestimated trail can prolong the trip, which means you could wind up hiking in the dark.

Don’t spook or harass wildlife. With the transition from summer to winter, life in the wilderness becomes much more difficult, and most wildlife experience extra stress and strain. The least we can do for our little friends is to not add additional stress to their lives. We can easily do this by keeping our noise level down, a close eye on our pets, and not approaching or spooking the animals.

Do Your Part –
Practice all of the Tread Lightly! Principles. For more tips on your chosen type of recreation, visit Tread Lightly!’s tips page.

Autumn is a wonderful time of year, and we should be excited to get outdoors and experience its unique and colorful splendor. By being aware of sporadic changes in weather, adequately preparing with appropriate clothes/equipment/knowledge, and respecting others (both recreationist and wildlife residents) we can all enjoy the great outdoors during this special time of year.


About treadlightlyoutdoors

Tread Lightly!® is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship. The organization was launched in 1985 by the US Forest Service and became a nonprofit organization in 1990. Tread Lightly!’s educational message, along with its training and restoration initiatives, are strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them. The program’s goal is to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our need to maintain a healthy environment. Tread Lightly!’s core focus is on supporting and encouraging stewardship from those engaged in outdoor recreation on America’s lands and waterways. The organization offers unique programs and services to help remedy growing recreation issues. The federal government officially recognizes the organization as a sole-source service provider of education and training on how to be environmentally and socially responsible while using motorized and mechanized vehicles.
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