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Best practices for interacting with nature in Asheville

Help keep the local landscape beautiful with these pro tips.

blue ridge parkway sunset

Be a steward of our environment.

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It’s no secret that Asheville is a haven for outdoor activities. From green spaces within the city to rivers and mountains to explore nearby — there’s no shortage of ways to connect with nature in the Land of Sky.

We want to help maintain these spaces, and when possible, leave them better than the way we found them. So in honor of National Public Lands Day this Saturday, Sept. 23, here are some examples of best practices to keep in mind when interacting with nature + wildlife.

Leave every stone unturned

We’ve all seen the aesthetic rock-stacking photos, but moving rocks can destroy important habitats for hellbender salamanders and eastern small-footed bats (among many others). Listen to the Great Smoky Mountains NPS — skip the photo op and leave the rocks in place.

Pick up trash

This one is easy, but if you come across some trash while out on your adventure, pick it up. Asheville Greenworks makes community cleanup even easier for you by providing materials needed to pick up + discard trash when you register for a DIY cleanup.

Ditch the single-use plastic

Opt for bringing your water + snacks in reusable containers. Single-use plastic water bottles or bags that end up in our waterways introduce pollutants and microplastics that are damaging to the environment. You can find plenty of alternatives to single-use products in spots around the city, like this bottle from the Asheville Art Museum or a lunch box from WARE.

Stay on the trail

On your next hike, make sure to stay on the trails that have been marked to help keep the areas off-trail preserved. Apply the “leave no trace” principle to help make conscious decisions that serve to lessen our impact on nature.

Don’t feed the wildlife

Feeding wildlife can cause them to suffer nutritionally or become dependent on unreliable food sources. In an area that’s home to lots of black bears, it can also be downright dangerous. It’s best to leave furry and finned friends alone, and opt instead to stop by the WNC Nature Center to learn about + get up close and personal with Asheville’s native wildlife.

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