Show your mountain love: How to practice responsible stewardship during outdoor recreation

Whether you are heading to a mountain destination for a weeklong vacation or a day visit, you can play an important part in retaining beautiful natural settings for recreation. Developing good mountain citizenship skills involves following best safety practices and taking responsibility for environmental stewardship. Modeling this responsible behavior can encourage children to follow best practices, too.

At Smugglers’ Notch Resort, a designated Environmental Leader in Vermont, resort departments such as mountain operations and ski patrol work to ensure the resort’s mountain playground can be enjoyed and preserved. They offer the following mountain caretaking tips to keep in mind as you plan and enjoy your outdoor adventures. How many of these tips do you already follow?

Family hike Smugglers' Notch Vermont

 Prior to your day on the mountain

  • Make sure your recreation equipment is properly maintained to ensure optimal use.
  • Familiarize yourself with your destination’s recreation policies.
  • Don’t let your car idle too long when starting out for a day of mountain recreation. Excessive idling releases harmful pollutants into the air. Typically, in cold weather, it’s fine to begin driving after about 30 seconds of warm up time. Excessive idling also may harm your engine.
  • With local travel, seek out a carpool, or look for rideshare opportunities or public transportation to access your mountain destination.

On the mountain

  • Respect the mountain environment by not littering, and pick up and dispose of any trash others may have left behind.
  • Use refillable water containers to stay hydrated. This minimizes your trash production.
  • Stay clear of any wildlife you might see. Never feed wildlife.
  • Leave the natural environment as is. Never cut trees or brush to make trails. Illegal trail clearing can damage the soils on steep slopes, which can lead to erosion.
  • Follow the rules and respect directions given by mountain personnel such as ski patrol, hiking guides, or rangers.
  • When recreating on unmarked and unpatrolled terrain, stay in groups of three or more.
  • In winter, familiarize yourself with the National Ski Area Association’s Skier and Rider Responsibility Code to prepare for a day on the slopes.

Children's hiking program Smugglers' Notch Vermont

Making sure that mountain surroundings remain pristine and beautiful should be a goal that all outdoor recreation enthusiasts are invested in. If you’re already following these suggestions, we’re glad to hear you’re one of the mountain caretaking tribe! Pass along your stewardship practices to your family and friends!

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