We love the outdoors! And we drive tens or thousands of miles to go appreciate them, or even (without irony) fly around the globe to see more.
Massive carbon-footprint aside, there are plenty of other big ways to leave a trace. This Earth Day, if you really want to screw it up for yourself and everyone else who loves your sport, consider these green offenses — and change your ways, punks.
One of the quickest ways to wreck a trail (and the surrounding environment) is to go out for a hike, run or ride right after it rains or snows and widen it.
“I’ve seen a 2-to-3-foot trail go to 20 feet wide in one afternoon because there’s a wet spot,” says Steve Mertz, of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks department.
Puddles! The horror! Like you’re not wearing Gore-Tex trail runners.
Stay on the trail. That applies to Fido, too. Even if your dog doesn’t kill or chase wildlife, Mertz says, dogs can interrupt wildlife from feeding or disturb a nest.
Heli-skiing is hella bad for the environment, says Chris Steinkamp, of Protect Our Winters.
He didn’t really say “hella.” But seriously, hella gasoline.
For the full anti-green monty, drive alone to go heli-skiing with a non-eco-friendly wax, which rubs off onto the snow.
“It’s actually a bigger deal than you might think,” Steinkamp says.
OK, cyclists, you win — you’re riding your bike instead of driving your car. Congrats.
Unless you’re going through tubes and tires like a fiend. Ah-ha! What did you do with your last punctured tube?
Don’t pitch it. EcoCycle will recycle tubes, tires — most of your bike, in fact.
Boulderers: Don’t stash your crash pads in the woods for the whole freaking summer.
Bear scat on your pad? Marmot chewed through it? Aw, karma’s a bitch.
Haul it. It’s good training for when you become an alpine climber.
This might seem obvious, but Nathan Fey, Colorado stewardship director for American Whitewater, says not to leave your boat behind. (?!?)
Kayak can get stuck during high water, he says. Paddlers who don’t know how to swim back to them sometimes leave their kayaks behind.
Not exactly “leave no trace.” Nor are cans of beer floating in the river — although, occasionally, you get lucky and find an unopened one.