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Keeping the Wild in Wildlife and Wilderness
Utah with its unique geology and abundant wild lands is a popular spot for vacationers. With all these visitors, the land is being loved to death. While there are many organizations dedicated to keeping the land and wildlife around and beautiful for generations to come, we must all do our parts to help so that our grandchildren will be able to enjoy Utah as we enjoy it now. Can you imagine the tradgedy of not being able to sit in a field of wildflowers, or watch a baby buffalo frolic, or watch the sun set on the desert?

Here are some simple (but widely appreciated) steps to take to help keep the "Wild" in Wildlife and Wilderness:

  • Practice Low-Impact Activities
      Follow the old adage: Leave only footprints, take only pictures, kill only time.
  • Leave the Place CLEANER Than When You Got There
      It's usually somebody else that left the mess. If it is possible, pick up items left by the previous visitor. But, don't try to clean up messes that could cause health problems (such as something rotting) or injury (such as broken glass) to you. If someone has left a smoldering firepit, douse it with water or sand.
  • Do Unto Others...
      Noise conservation is something to pay attention to as well. Don't be so loud that it bothers the wildlife (or the neighboring campers). The animals will run away, but the neighbors could get downright mean... Just because you like the music doesn't mean everybody and everything around you likes it too. Also pay attention to smells, light levels, and anything else that could cause a disturbance. If in doubt, think about how you would feel if you were quietly resting and your neighbor did the thing you were wondering about. If it would bother you, don't do it to them.
  • Don't Harass the Wildlife
      Not only is it rude, it could be deadly. Just because an animal looks cute doesn't mean he will ACT cute if you bother him.
  • Don't feed the wildlife
      Feeding the critters can cause their death down the road. If they become accustomed to people they could learn that "people" means "food", and will stroll into camp and try to help themselves. Most campground bear encounters happen because the bears think they can get easy food. Bears in camp often means hurt (or dead) campers. Then the bear has to be destroyed because once they have attacked a human, they will do it again. Don't let your foolishness cause the death of a magnificent animal. Also, if you feed the critters, they can become dependent on humans for food and will lose their ability to fend for themselves. How will they survive in the winter months when there are no campers around to feed them?
  • Secure Your Food Tightly and Out of Reach of Critters
      Another way to get easy food, even if you don't actively feed the critters is to steal some morsels that you carelessly left out in the open. Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night to a skunk sitting on your chest trying to get at the beef jerky in your pocket??? (True story but fortunately not my story - it was a friend of mine.)

    A few more, not-so-easy steps to take are to volunteer time or money to an organization committed to some type of conservation. Be sure to visit the Conservation Page for a list of some of the organizations that are trying to help keep Utah alive, well, and beautiful.

  • Backroads of Utah
    by Theresa A. Husarik

    In stores now.