Happy Earth Day to you

Take a kid on a hike. It's good for him or her, you, and the future of outdoor recreation and conservation.

Thursday, April 22, is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Here are a few simple tips for what we each can do as backcountry enthusiasts to limit our impact on and help protect the places we know and love. 

  • Leave No Trace. This includes your most personal waste.
  • Take a kid outside. Children need a personal connection to nature, for their own physical and mental health, and for the future of wild places. Start them young and keep it up.
  • Volunteer. The National Park Service and the Forest Service offer volunteer opportunities. Or find local opportunities to protect and preserve. Contact your local trail organization or conservation group.
  • Speak up. Be an informed citizen on conservation and outdoor recreation decisions and legislation. Contact your reps. Get involved.
  • Donate. Whether through time, expertise, or money, support environmental non-profits you believe in. One Percent for the Planet, of which Trailspace is a member, has a searchable database of more than 1,500 environmental non-profits doing work around the world.

I realize that we, and our Earth, face a lot of serious challenges, challenges that won't be fixed by a few token gestures once a year. We all need to be informed and act on ways we can reduce our consumption and impact, in the backcountry and at home.

The bright spot is that, as fans of wilderness places, we already know their intrinsic value and can use that personal passion and connection to stand up for them.

So, what's your big (or little) idea to help save the world, or at least your favorite parts? Share it below.

Filed under: Events


51 reviewer rep
71 forum posts
April 22, 2010 at 5:31 p.m. (EDT)

I did a bunch of recycling today.

1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
April 22, 2010 at 10:05 p.m. (EDT)

One way to make a difference is to find a way to get involved with the youth, whether it be the Scouts or other group, or just friends and family.

In my experience the best way to have an impact with youth is to teach by example. Make sure you (and me) follow the rules and practice exactly what you teach, the young ones might not say much, but they notice everything.

Hiking, camping, & adventuring builds confidence and character. Without a connection to nature it is easy to be apathetic about environmental issues I think.

Here are some photos of my son, now 23, I have photos of my daughter as well now 19, but apparently I have to ask her if I can post them. Haha.

The young man on the far left is my son Mike, we were out for a day hike in a river gorge with some of his friends in tow. He was about 12 years old there.

Here is Mike at about 8 years old on a three day backpack with me on the Cumberland Plateau Escarpment / Waldens Ridge area of TN

Here is Mike at about 13 years old, standing on the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, on the NC / SC state line, the view is Southward.

My son is now 23 years old and if I ever got hurt and someone needed to go for help, he would be the man for the job.

244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts
April 24, 2010 at 12:00 a.m. (EDT)

In Earth Day setback, Brazil OKs dam that will flood swath of Amazon

São Paulo, Brazil – Environmentalists preparing to celebrate Earth Day received a hefty setback this week when the Brazilian government gave the green light for plans to build the world’s third biggest dam that will flood a large swath of the Amazon rainforest

With a proposed operating capacity of 11,200 megawatts, Belo Monte will be the third biggest dam project in the world behind China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu dam Brazil currently runs with neighbor Paraguay.

However, it has caused huge controversy ever since the first feasibility studies were carried out in the 1970s. The 516 square kilometers due to be flooded are on the Xingu River and the amount of earth and rocks to be shifted will surpass that moved in the building of the Panama Canal.

Displacing local tribesIndians from 14 different tribes live nearby. While the government says only 19,000 people will be affected, a review published last year by specialists in their respective fields said it could be as many as 40,000.

110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
April 24, 2010 at 7:55 a.m. (EDT)

Earth Day was a very busy time for me, and I loved it! Earth Day Festival in Jim Thorpe, local trash clean ups, and of course - Lots of drumming!

Recycled 2X4 marimba

The kids loved "Recycled Rhythm!"


Jam at the Opera House


Look closely at the caption on the bag :-(

In .48 miles on my way to work, on only one side of the road. :-{

244 reviewer rep
5,248 forum posts
April 24, 2010 at 12:09 p.m. (EDT)

I remember when I lived in Lake Placid NY in the summer of 1996 and collected 36 lbs of plastic bottles and aluminum cans along the road around the town of Lake Placid in just one day. I could not believe that in an area where all cans and bottles could be taken back to any store and be recycled and redeemed for 10 cents each, that there would still be so much thrown out on the sides of the roads. It reminded me of the 1960-70s when everything was glass and could be redeemed for either the cost of a new drink or the drink itself. That was when a soft drink was 15 cents.

And in Arkansas in the late 70s I once collected 40 lbs of aluminum cans along 6 miles of roadway counting both sides. I had gone for a walk while home visiting my parents. I crushed the cans and moved them closer to the edge of the road, later when I got back home from my 12 mile walk to and fro, my dad and I drove back along while I collected the cans. When they weighed them at the recycling center there was 40 lbs of cans. At that time it took an average of 16 cans to make one pound.

1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
April 24, 2010 at 2:04 p.m. (EDT)

I hear you guys!

The whole litter thing is a real pet peeve for me. It's nothing but laziness, and a lack of awareness of course. This age of throw away convenience we live in sure makes for a lot of waste & litter.

Alicia MacLeay (Alicia)
848 reviewer rep
3,901 forum posts
April 26, 2010 at 8:51 a.m. (EDT)

Nice pictures, everyone. Thanks for sharing. I don't have any Earth Day 2010 pictures. It was school vacation week. I took my kids hiking two of those days.

On Earth Day we went to story hour at our library, listened to stories, and planted beans seeds in yogurt cups. My son also very much wanted to pick up trash for Earth Day. So, that evening he went out and picked up everything he could find in front of our house along the road.

We did the same on one of our hikes this weekend. It's a simple thing to do that makes an immediate impact. He was quite proud of our small bag of beer cans we carried back to the trailhead. He's been reminding me that we need to keep extra trash bags in our backpacks.

Here's a comic for you on this subject:


1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
April 26, 2010 at 9:39 a.m. (EDT)


Sadly not far from the truth in places.

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