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3 Essential Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel Through State Parks

3 Essential Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel Through State Parks

Last Updated on April 15, 2024

There are almost 7,000 state parks nationally, and so anyone who wants to kick back in the natural world and reconnect with what’s important can usually find one on their doorstep, or at least a short drive away.

If you do have a trip planned, it’s important to ensure that it doesn’t leave any kind of negative impact on the ecology of the park you visit. 

So to that end, here are a handful of strategies that allow for a memorable and responsible expedition.

The Art of Leaving No Trace

Keeping the landscape of a state park as untouched as you found it is a minimum requirement for this sort of excursion. 

However, it can be tricky if you’re not properly prepared beforehand. So for instance, if you’ve found an exciting activity to experience in Cloudland Canyon, how do you ensure your presence doesn’t disrupt this natural wonder? 

Here are some steps to take:

  • Pack up and take away everything you bring in – from food wrappers to biodegradable apple cores.
  • Stay on marked trails to protect undeveloped areas and local flora.
  • Camp on designated sites where ecosystems won’t be damaged by your tent stakes.
  • Use refillable water bottles and containers to reduce plastic waste.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance without feeding or disturbing them.
  • Keep campfires small and manageable, only using established fire rings or pits.

utah Dead Horse Point State Park Dani2

Eco-Conscious Travel Arrangements

Arrival and departure are as crucial to your eco-friendly state park visit as what you do while you’re there. The journey can either increase or decrease your travel footprint substantially – so here are a few tactics for minimizing your impact en route:

  • Carpool with fellow explorers to slash emissions and enjoy shared experiences.
  • Opt for public transportation where available, aligning travel plans with bus or train schedules. A train can have an 80% smaller footprint than a car, so this is the gold standard.
  • Select hybrid or electric vehicles when renting a car to drive greener – and be sure to check up on the availability of charging points if necessary.
  • If biking is an option, embrace it for both health benefits and its zero emissions nature.
  • Plan a route that allows you to visit multiple attractions efficiently, cutting down on fuel use.

Packing with Purpose

Equipping yourself for an eco-friendly adventure in state parks involves a deliberate selection of gear and supplies that are pro-planet. Here’s what to keep in mind as you pack for your trip:

  • Choose biodegradable soaps and toiletries to prevent chemical contamination of water sources. Since 45 million people are impacted by contaminated water sources a year, you really don’t want to be a proponent of this problem.
  • Bring reusable utensils, plates, and cups to avoid single-use plastic consumption.
  • Select eco-friendly sunscreen from brands like Maui Naturals and Thinksport that won’t harm aquatic life.
  • Invest in high-quality outdoor gear that will last for years, reducing waste. You might pay more for products from the likes of Patagonia and The North Face, but this will pay dividends in terms of durability.
  • Opt for digital park maps or guides on your smartphone to limit paper use.


Final Thoughts

If you’re really serious about the environment, then you want to travel to enjoy it and also take action to protect it so future generations can do the same. These tips should give you a good starting point, but you also have to follow through on your plans to uphold them. 

Leave nothing behind, travel sustainably, and take eco-friendly items with you to ensure your next state park sojourn is both good for your mental health and good for the planet as a whole.