Ninety-two percent of Coloradans recreate in the outdoors – on our public lands – at least once a week. That means the responsibility to respect our lands and wildlife falls onto our shoulders’. As human population rises, our protected lands carry even more value to the wildlife that call these places home. For all of the wildlife lovers enjoying the outdoors this summer, we have created a small list of things you can do to mitigate impacts on Colorado’s cherished outdoor playground.
1.Take pictures and observe from a distance.
Maybe you’ve seen it. The video of a casual tourist that starts to invade the space of a rather large animal while attempting to get a close up photo. Not only is this behavior dangerous but most animal defenders consider it harassment when an animal has to flee or engage their defense mechanisms. These defenses take up valuable energy. The increased stress of the encounter might spiral into a host of other unintended negative consequences. Instead, bring your binoculars and keep your distance!
2.Pack it in, pack it out.
Whether you are enjoying a family picnic or fishing, it is important to take ALL items you brought back with you. This includes food scraps like orange peels and tangled fishing line (though it may seem invisible). Food scraps may be poisonous to wildlife or take years to decompose. Discarded fishing line is responsible for many wildlife injuries. Over the years at Greenwood, we see hundreds of injuries from fishing line, particularly in birds. These injuries are often fatal. Now, in order to prevent these accidents, there are nifty contraptions that make it easy to bring your discarded line with you.
3.Leave the babies be!
Mothering changes from species to species, but one thing holds true: mom wants healthy and happy offspring. That is why it is of utmost importance not to touch, carry, or remove baby wildlife from their nests and burrows. Most babies will be just fine without our intervention. If you think a baby is hurt or orphaned – call our animal care professionals before you remove it from the wild.
4.“Shhhhh” on the trail
Cranking up the volume is great for on your ride home but it is best to limit loud, unnatural noises while traversing the backcountry. Loud sounds put wildlife on unnecessary alert.
Coloradans love their outdoor spaces, leaving little trace will ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy them as they are.