Whatever you love doing in the great outdoors—hiking, camping, birding, or kayaking—make sure you adhere to the Robert Baden-Powell principal of “Leave it better than you found it.” Of course, there are plenty of ways to do this, but here are three that are particularly easy to adhere to.
Pack it in; pack it out. Some day-use areas and hiking trails have trashcans available on-site, but many don’t. If you’re going to spend multiple days in the backcountry, make sure to bring adequate trash bags, bungee cords, zip ties, and any other supplies you might need to collect your refuse and pack it out. Try to go “zero-waste” if at all possible.
Stay on designated trails. Hiking and biking trails are there for a reason. While it can be tempting to wander off, doing so can severely damage the surrounding ecosystem, including plant and wildlife. In some areas, trails are built to preserve areas of historic interest. Pay attention to signage and do your part to preserve the area for future generations to enjoy.
Don’t bother the wildlife. Chipmunks, songbirds, and deer are just some of the wildlife Washington has to offer, and it’s not uncommon to encounter them when outdoors. However, it’s important that you’re respectful and give them their space. Watch, but don’t feed. Take pictures and video, but don’t harass or try to touch.