Good Outdoor Manners

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Good manners outdoors help to create good viewing experiences for humans, animals and plants.

I follow these guidelines wherever I may roam. They are environmentally responsible and respectful.

These guidelines are crucial to follow on public lands and natural areas.

Following the guidelines in your own land  or garden is practicing good land and habitat management.

Tread Lightly  ( has a list of guidelines and tips for responsible hiking. Guides for other activities are also available.

Guidelines and Tips

These are the guidelines I follow when I am out in parks and reserves.

  • keep a safe distance from animals – use binoculars to avoid disturbing them
  • do not feed animals junk food or human food they would not naturally eat
  • animals get the right of way
  • no feeding touching, harassing, or disturbing animals is allowed
  • if an animal stops what it is doing, you are too close
  • keep food scraps away from animals so they won’t form bad habits that might lead them into future trouble
  • give animals a wide berth during breeding, birthing and nesting seasons
  • do not remove rocks, feathers, leaves, etc. In national parks and some other protected areas it is illegal to remove natural objects. Collect responsibly.
  • do not remove cultural artifacts found on public lands -pot shards, arrowheads, antique bottles, etc. It is illegal to remove or disturb archaeological sites, historic sites, or artifacts.
  • do not pick flowers or other plants – The over collection of plants has led to many species disappearing or becoming endangered. Take a picture or sketch the flower instead of picking it (except in your own garden).

“Take only photographs, leave only footprints” is a standard motto often repeated by naturalists .

“Pack it in, pack it out.” – What you take into a natural area comes back out with you. This includes all trash and garbage.

And one final piece of guidance: “The quieter you are, the more you will see. Walk in silence.”

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