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Travel with Heart – Tips for responsible RV Travel in National Parks

 

Travel with Heart – Tips for responsible RV Travel in National Parks

National Parks are very special places for the millions who visit each year and renting a motorhome is a great option for your National Park adventure. Your RV has all the comforts of home when you are on the road driving through dramatic landscapes, relaxing by a tranquil lake, spotting wildlife or enjoying a star filled night sky at your campground. 

The National Parks Service NPS find a Park website is a great way to get inspired and start your trip planning. The recently launched a new NPS app  with information on over 400 parks in one place, including interactive maps, amenities, tours and activities, everything you need to discover and explore National Parks across the USA. 

Summer is a great time to celebrate the amazing places, cultural sites, landscapes and nature of our National Parks.  We can all do our part to help protect the Parks we visit, so to help you have fun, stay safe and make a positive difference when visiting National Parks here are 10 ways you can help.

 


Ten tips for responsible RV Travel in National Parks

 

  1. Plan ahead.

Planning and preparation will help you have a safe and successful RV trip. Travelling in an RV means you can be very self-sufficient and can easily carry everything you need with you on your road trip. Make sure to pack the Ten essentials for your outdoor adventure. Finding ways to reduce your impact starts at home with planning for your trip. For example by removing excess packaging from food or other items and recycling it at home you will reduce the amount of waste you take with you. Pack reusable bottles, cups, plates, containers and bags so that you can avoid having to use single-use disposal items, or consider renting a convenience kit which includes all the items you need for your trip. 

  1. Know before you go 

Check out the conditions in the Park you are visiting and the type of activities you want to do, this will help you make sure you have everything you need ready to load into your RV.   The Parks Service Know before you go has lots of helpful information and is a great resource to help you plan your trip. Check the website for the National Park you are planning to visit prior to setting off so you know what to expect and check the Park Alerts closures or hazards. On arrival check in with the local ranger station or Visitor Center to get orientated for your visit and for advice on current conditions. It is important to know the rules and follow them, so take the time to find out and understand what is required.

  1. Recreate responsibly

National Parks offer plenty of amazing experiences for recreation, relaxation and to reconnect with nature. Perhaps there is a new activity you would like to try, wildlife watching, photography, stargazing, birding- there are lots of great ways to discover and explore.  To get started, check out these 20 responsible recreation ideas for inspiration and opportunities at the Park you plan to visit. #RecreateResponsibly has lots of useful tips and ideas for your responsible RV road trip.

 

  1. Drive less while you in the Park.

Take a bike if you have one, or see if you can rent one, it is a great way to explore and will help reduce congestion and improve air quality in the Park.  Find out what biking opportunities are on offer in your chosen Park.  Consider using shuttle services where available, to help reduce the impact of vehicles and so everyone can relax and enjoy the views when you are travelling.  If you are driving, keep your eyes on the road, follow speed limits and be alert for animals that may suddenly appear on the road and to view wildlife, always use the designated pull outs. 

  1. Avoiding vehicle engine idling 

Try to avoid engine idling by turning the engine off if you stop to take in the view, or if you are waiting for more than a few minutes in a line of stationary traffic. It is good for people and the Park, as it helps reduce air pollution, lower emissions and saves you money. Here are more vehicle idle reduction tips and information which also apply when driving your car at home to save fuel, money and reduce emissions.

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle on the road

Trash is a major challenge for National Parks. With a fully equipped RV you can reduce waste and avoid needing to use single use or disposable items. We can supply rental kits with everything you need, or bring your favorite travel mug, reusable bags and kitchen utensils from home. Set yourself a challenge to have a zero waste picnic in the Park on your visit.

 At your campground always store any food and trash safely, follow the guidance and dispose of any waste properly and use the trash and recycling bins provided. Make sure to not to leave any trace where you camp and follow the principles of Pack it in, Pack it out and keep all trash, waste and plastics out of waterways and safely stored away from wildlife.

  1. Watch wildlife safely

National Parks are home to an amazing array of wild animals and wildlife watching is definitely high on the list of things to do.  This will vary by season and location but there is always something special to see. Stop in at the local Visitor Center to find out what is happening and for any guidance specific to the area and wildlife you may be able to see. To help keep wildlife wild, and visitors safe, avoid disturbing wildlife you encounter and never try to feed or touch wild animals and ensure your food and trash is safely stored out of reach and keep a safe distance to give wildlife room to move. The seven ways to safely watch wildlife are the important things to remember.

  1. Join a guided tour or take part in one of the ranger led programs or events.

 Ask at the visitor center, or check out the NPS events calendar to find out what is happening.  If you are travelling with children the Junior Ranger program is a great way to learn, explore and have fun, it includes resources and ideas for your trip can do at home. 

  1. Become a Volunteer 

The Parks Service also offers a range of volunteer programs there are a number of ways you can volunteer so find out what you could do to volunteer and make a difference.

 

  1. Contribute to Citizen Science project

All you need is a smart phone and a sense of discovery. The data collected by Citizen Science  projects about the plants and animals makes a valuable contribution to building knowledge about the natural world, which can be used by scientists and managers s to better understand and protect nature.  It is also great fun and being a citizen scientist doesn’t stop when your Park visit ends.

We hope these Travel with Heart responsible travel tips and ideas will help you have a more sustainable holiday. 

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