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Leave Nature as You Find it

A lovely blue sky summers day over the stunning Chisos Mountains

Our Outdoor Sustainability Tips

Since 1976, we’ve loved Big Bend and so have our visitors. We’ve had guests travel from far and wide, returning annually to come and visit us here in Big Bend. But as the number of tourists coming to explore this amazing part of the world increases every year, so too does the number of incidents of people leaving their mark on the surroundings.

Practicing outdoor sustainability is important because we want to protect and preserve the natural environments we visit. Finding a big pile of trash in the middle of a beautiful hike will ruin the experience, but by adopting some eco-friendly habits, we can help conserve the beautiful world around us. We believe you can enjoy your surroundings while respecting nature and all that call it home and leave nothing behind except a dusty footprint.

1. Decide on your plan

Before heading out on an adventure, do a little research into where you’re going. Having a fully thought-out plan will ensure you have all the correct information and equipment ready for your trip.

Picking quieter or more off-the-beaten-path trails will help reduce overcrowding in some national parks. Another reason to research the area you’re visiting is to get an idea if there’s a particular time of year that a certain animal or vegetation is prominent, and will your visit disrupt it?

2. Choose the right clothing

Sustainable outdoor clothing has been a hot topic recently. It may not directly affect the place you’re visiting but selecting ethical brands will have a positive impact in a number of ways:

  • You’ll be paying for something that will last and avoid the cheap brands.
  • The sustainable company you buy from may help environmental initiatives.

Keep an eye out for sustainable clothing certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard, OEKO-TEX, Better Cotton Initiative, Bluesign, Credible to Cradle, and many others!

3. Food & drink

Depending on where you’re heading on your trip, taking a single-use plastic bottle isn’t the greenest option. 14% of all litter is made up of drinks containers, help reduce this number and take a reusable water bottle with you. If you’re heading deep into the middle of nowhere, you can find water purification bottles that’ll make most water safe to drink!

In regards to food, avoid taking things wrapped in plastic. Make your own snacks and meals to help reduce any unnecessary waste — and of course, save you money! Have a look at our hiking food ideas for inspiration. Please also remember to take any waste disposal bags with you on your hike to ensure you have somewhere to store any waste and keep it separate from the rest of your belongings.

4. Don’t leave trash behind

This goes without saying but you’d be surprised by how much litter we come across in national parks! There are many reasons to pick up your trash from endangering local wildlife that mistake it for food, the chemicals released into the ground by packaging, to animals being trapped in cans or bags, etc. Everything from cigarette ends to apple cores need to be taken with you, leave nature as you found it.

5. Respect the wildlife

Respecting the land you’re visiting and the animals that live there is so important. Firstly, avoid taking any natural souvenirs with you: plants, flowers, rocks, etc, as over time, it could make an impact on the environment by removing possible forms of shelter and food. Secondly, if you do come across any type of wild animal, big or small, avoid coming into close contact with it and observe from a distance. Always be sure to stay clear from feeding the animals.

We feel these small changes can positively impact the beautiful outdoor places that we have come to love and adore. For more sustainability tips and pointers, head over to the Leave No Trace program and keep up to date with their goings-on. For any Big Bend specific tips, don’t hesitate to send me an email at

– Greg