Outdoor Ethics

Family visiting with a park ranger
Damon Parrish, REI
Wilderness conservation requires us to carry more than our packs into wild places. A thoughtful frame of mind and understanding of outdoor ethics are also essential.

Every kind of outdoor recreation raises its own ethical questions. Here are some bits of guiding wisdom about wilderness conservation.

What are outdoor ethics?

Wilderness conservation depends on respect for our wild places and the idea that we do not inherit wildlands from previous generations. Instead, we are borrowing these places from our children, and that notion motivates many to pursue sustainable recreation that follows the principles of “Leave No Trace.”

Think about it like this: Developing an outdoor ethic means getting personally involved in wild places because for many, time spent outdoors is a cherished and essential part of life they wish to pass on.

A past “President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors” found that it’s good to develop “a sense of appreciation for, and obligation toward the air, land, water and living things of the earth. It includes statesmanship: courtesy for others using the outdoors; and stewardship: our obligation to ensure future generations’ enjoyment of our natural heritage.”