If you love the outdoors, make sure you act like it this summer and leave it the same, if not better than you found it.
With summer officially here, it’s a great time to explore the outdoors! As people go hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and engage in other recreation activities, there can be associated impacts on the natural environment.
In 2017, more than 330 million people visited national parks alone, with millions more visiting state parks, wildlife refuges and federally designated wilderness areas as well.
USGS scientists are working with many partners to study how these visitors are affecting protected natural areas. Some of the impacts include trampling of native vegetation, causing erosion of soils, contaminating water, attracting wildlife with food and displacing wildlife from preferred habitats.
“We’re doing research on the impacts people are having while they are out having fun in our nation’s wilderness,” said Jeffrey Marion, a USGS research ecologist. “The information we gather helps land managers make the best decisions on how to accommodate more visitors while limiting their overall impact, helping preserve protected natural areas for all generations to enjoy.”