Leave No Trace
Sometimes we think the only way to conserve or support a cause is by throwing money at it. While we would always encourage people to donate to worthy causes if they feel it is the right thing and if they are following their heart. Each page we have linked in the conserve section is, in our opinion, a worthy cause. Sometimes we don’t each always have the means to donate. In those instances action can be easier and have an overall better impact than trying to solve problems through money.
The easiest way to “act well” is by individually choosing to be good stewards of the natural world around us. How often does the same person who would be horrified at someone littering, carelessly toss a cigarette butt onto the ground without a second thought? Although only one example of poor behavior, I think we all need to think and examine our behavior in the natural world and make changes. Among the art collections found at Castle Nature Studio, there is an abundance of National Park photos. National Parks are a treasure containing nearly untouched wild areas and should be an example to all of us. Despite the best efforts of park rangers each year brings new reports of vandalism, graffiti, litter, human waste, new unsanctioned trails and other problems.
Research leave no trace principles. We have linked more information below on how we can each do more, and “act well”. We have also posted the Yellowstone Pledge below. Like the Leave no trace principles we can use the Yellowstone Pledge Principles no matter where we are. If we each take personal responsibility for our actions and be mindful of the impact we each have on nature we can all make a change for the better and for future generations.
The National Park Service works hard to protect Yellowstone and we need your help. The best way to start is by taking the Yellowstone Pledge. It’s a personal promise you make to yourself and the park. It can be taken anywhere: it doesn’t need to be taken out loud or in front of anyone. Tag #YellowstonePledge and encourage others to do the same.
“I pledge to protect Yellowstone National Park. I will act responsibly and safely, set a good example for others, and share my love of the park and all the things that make it special.”
Top 10 Ways to Put the Pledge into Action:
- Give wildlife room, use a zoom. The safest way to view wildlife is through a telephoto lens, a spotting scope, or a pair of binoculars. Park animals are wild and dangerous. Bison, bears, and elk have injured and killed people. Do not approach, encircle, follow, or feed any animal. Stay 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. Stay 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals.
- Follow the beaten path. In thermal areas, boardwalks take you to amazing places, protect the park, and keep you safe. People have been severely burned and killed after leaving the boardwalk or reaching into hot water. Geysers, mud pots, and hot springs are delicate. Don’t throw anything into any hydrothermal features, touch them, or change them in any way.
- Be bear aware. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Be alert, make noise, hike in groups, and stay on trails. If you encounter a bear, never run.
- Watch out for water. Use caution around rivers, lakes, and streams. They are cold and fast and people have died from hypothermia and drowning after accidentally falling into frigid water.
- Practice safe selfies. No picture is worth hurting yourself, others, or the park. Be aware of your surroundings whether near wildlife, thermal areas, roads, or steep cliffs.
- Enjoy the ride. Drive defensively and cautiously. This park has hazards on the road you aren’t used to at home (like 2,000-lb. bison). Follow speed limits and stay with your car if you’re stuck in a wildlife jam. When you want to take a photo or look around, use pullouts to avoid blocking traffic and damaging vegetation. Turn off your vehicle when stopped in a traffic line.
- Leave your drone at home. Drones are not allowed in Yellowstone National Park. They disturb wildlife, interfere with park operations, and bother people trying to enjoy natural sounds.
- Clean, Drain, Dry. Help us prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Clean, drain, and dry your watercraft and fishing gear before you come into the park or move from one body of water to another.
- Stash your trash. Recycle what you can and put the rest in bear-resistant trash cans so animals can’t get to it. If a can happens to be full, find another.
- Leave what you find. Don’t take antlers, artifacts, rocks, plants, or other objects from the park.
Thanks for putting the Pledge into action! If you see someone, in person or online, whose behavior might hurt them, others, or the park, tell a ranger. If you’re in the park, dial 911.
Take the pledge. Tell a friend. Protect the park.