Experience nature but stay off my ‘peeve list’

Earlier this month, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial. While August 25th marked the official celebration date, the NPS has been celebrating all year long. I’ve seen numerous articles celebrating and encouraging others to get out and #FindYourPark. The one thing that kept playing in my mind was all the things that get under my skin: the peeve list.

Of thousands of miles and endless hours spent in parks and on the trails from the Appalachian Trail to the local mountain trails I once enjoyed near daily in Virginia, there are those things that just get under your skin. Most of it boils down to one of two things or both: education and respect.

The Peeve List

  1. The top of the list actually includes what I’ve experienced online via Twitter. I often get immediately blocked or accused of being a part of a certain political leaning when someone sees my profile. Conservation has nothing to do with political parties. There are things that we can all do to preserve nature. Those who love nature come from all walks of life. Stop putting people in boxes and do your part.
  2. Take your trash with you. It’s simple. Pack it in and pack it out.
  3. Stop feeding the bears, mice, rats, raccoons, etc. Not all of us welcome their nightly visits. Again, pack it in and pack it out. Don’t leave food out or “leave it behind for someone else”. Hang your food suspended out of reach of bears and other animals.
  4. The Appalachian Trail shelters aren’t outdoor party houses. If you want to throw a party, do it at your house.
  5. Turn off the loud music and lower your voice.
  6. Showing up late to a shelter? Life happens: sometimes you’re late. Be respectful of those who may be sleeping. Keep the noise down and don’t blind people with your bright lights.

The Do-do

  1. Do volunteer your time or donate if you can.
  2. Do share your story and encourage others to visit nature and keep her safe.

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