A beautiful mountain view.

Simple Ways to Respect the Mountains

If you’re a nature lover, you’ve likely always taken care to be a responsible traveler on your trips. While there are many reasons to spend more time in nature, sometimes people forget how much of a responsibility that is. Whether you’re hiking a mountain trail, going on a ski weekend, or even moving to a home in the mountains, learning about ways to respect the mountains is a noble act. Luckily, doing this doesn’t have to be a lot of work, and there are plenty of simple things you can do and change about your routine to become a more mindful mountain dweller. Let’s list the most popular ways to be more respectful of the mountains and see some examples of how you can follow them. 

Book the trip mindfully

The first thing you can do is make sure to book your trips smartly. You can do this by traveling during the low or off-season. Or choose to go to some of the less popular mountain ranges and resorts. This tip can benefit both you and the mountain. Firstly, you’ll reduce the amount of impact and stress that peak season produces for the mountain. With fewer people at once, it’ll be easier for those responsible for preserving the mountain to reduce its human footprint. Secondly, doing this will also benefit your pocket. By traveling during lower-demand seasons, you’ll be saving money and getting the most bang for your buck. 

Travel mindfully

This one applies to travelers and those starting a new life in the mountains. By being proactive and choosing lower-carbon transportation methods to get around the mountains, you’re significantly contributing to its preservation. For those who are just traveling, it’s recommended to use communal transportation methods to reach the mountains. This could mean anything from taking the bus/train to carpooling with your friends. The fewer cars on the road, the better. Additionally, once you arrive at your resort, you could: 

  • Use local public transport, 
  • Walk wherever you can, 
  • Ride around on a bike, etc.
A bike in the mountains

If you’re moving to the mountains, the rules are similar. Your best bet is to get a bike you can use to get around without leaving a huge footprint. Additionally, when it comes to the move itself, experts from number1movers.ca recommend enlisting the help of professional movers who can get your belongings to your new home in one fell swoop. That way, you’re not driving your vehicle(s) back and forth and spending way more gas than necessary. 

Sustainable practices are one of the key ways to respect the mountains

The best thing you can do as a tourist is to seek out and support businesses known for following sustainable business practices. Let’s be honest – a lot of preparation goes into something like a ski weekend. There are booking hotels, getting in touch with travel agencies, buying skiwear and gear, and looking at transportation options. There are many businesses and brands you’re getting involved with here. And it would be much better for you and the mountain you’re visiting if you took the extra time to ensure that the ones you’re working with are sustainable.

If you’re a new mountain resident, you should (in addition to all of the aforementioned) also look into alternative energy solutions for your home. While you’re living here, you could buy locally grown produce and support small local businesses.

Be respectful

This mainly applies to tourists because of their all-too-common “Not my backyard” mentality. It’s a way that tourists commonly rationalize being disrespectful to locals and the environment in the mountains. Therefore, you must break away from this mentality and be open-minded to locals and their customs. Additionally, not thinking like this will make you more aware of how you’re treating the environment in the mountain.

Be responsible

In most cases, respecting the mountains benefits the mountain itself. But the first person to reap the benefits of you being a responsible mountain traveler is you. If you plan on leaving the designated ski area boundary or stepping off the beaten path when hiking, it’s vital that you make sure you’re ready for it. Research weather conditions and talk to local park services/ or guides in advance to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to achieve a safe and risk-free adventure. A very costly search and rescue can be entirely avoided if you do your research or (even better) go with a guide.

Don’t leave a trace

Mountain tourism is just as much of a curse to mountainous environments as it is a blessing. On the one hand, contributing to local economies by traveling to mountains and supporting small businesses and local resorts is a great way to contribute to better budgeting for nature preservation. On the other, however, many tourists can be detrimental to the mountain’s environment if too many are disrespectful to it. There are two ways you can take yourself out of the negative part of this equation. Firstly, whatever you bring to the mountains (trash, plastic, etc.), remember to also take it away with you. This way, you’re not contributing to the accumulation of waste in nature.

Trash on the ground

Secondly, you should stay on the paths that local authorities have created. These are meant to keep tourists safe and protect the local environment. Furthermore, they are cleaned and maintained more regularly.

RRRU rule

This is especially important for those who are moving to the mountains to keep in mind. RRRU stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, and upcycle. Since you’ll be a part of this environment now, your impact over time is even more important. The less of it there is, the better. Researching ways to respect the mountains in this sense in advance is very important. For example, if you’re new to cold weather climates, you should prepare for this change well. You can spend some time looking at ways to sustainably keep yourself warm (ex. reusing old towels as draft stoppers). 

Spread the word about mountain travel

Last but not least, you should try to entice others to follow in your footsteps and go on a mountain journey as well. Seldom will a person visit the mountains and not enjoy themselves. But, many people just need that push from a friend to take their first step and go on a mountain trip. You can spread the word online by sharing pictures, videos, and stories from your travels. And you can talk about it to your close friends and encourage them as well. Just remember to be a good role model.

A woman taking pictures of the mountains.

Final thoughts

There are countless reasons people should spend more time in the mountains. And why some should even choose to live there. From serious physical and mental health benefits to simply engaging in a fun and adventurous activity from time to time. But, if we are going to take this step toward connecting to nature, we have to learn about all possible ways to respect the mountains. Remember to take your time when preparing and be mindful of your steps while you’re there.

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