The outdoors is a place that I have always called home. It’s a place where I get to escape to whenever the noise of a busy city and a busy mind starts to deplete my appreciation of the world around me. It is my way to kick back and restart my mind when drinking coffee and reading a book just doesn’t work. My favorite childhood memories are the ones of my mom teaching me how to cast a line into Brownie Lake, my grandparents teaching me how to drive a Honda Rubicon in Irish Canyon, and my ski instructor Steve telling me to “PIZZA!” when all I really wanted to do was “French Fry”. These are all factors that made me who I am and why I chose to go down a path that involves outdoor recreation.
So what better way to wrap up a college education than with an internship with Tread Lightly!? In school I have read multiple textbooks, looked at so many PowerPoint’s, and listened to an endless amount of instructors tell me about how people put value on the outdoors. And that is why it is important to help others understand that we need to take care of these places so everyone can enjoy them. There are a plethora of tools out there that help educate people on what it means to recreate responsibly so these valued places can remain in tact. I think Tread Lightly! is one of the best tools anyone can use.
I recently practiced one of Tread Lightly!’s five principles; do your part. I went on a hike in the West Desert with a few of my friends a few weeks ago. It was strenuous route we picked. And as we were moving up the trail I noticed wrappers on and off all along the side of where we were walking. I kept picking them up and putting them in my pack. About five miles up my friend asked me why I kept stopping to pick up all this garbage. I told her, “Because garbage is trashy. Hahaha.” It sparked a discussion about how trash changes the aesthetic value of our favorite hiking trails and I asked them if they would be willing to do something and help clean up. They didn’t like the thought of it at first, but the more we talked the more they agreed they would. By the end of the day the trail looked better coming down than going up.