As state parks and forests open their doors to visitors, be ethical to keep mother nature pristine and minimise coronavirus exposure.
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With Selangor State Park Forest areas re-opening for hiking activities, the return to outdoor adventure is officially here.
And that means many urbanites who had been locked up in this pandemic season will likely hit the trails.
From mountains to waterfalls, hordes of out-of-towners will be looking to stretch their legs out as they search for that perfect Instagram picture.
But the surge of hikers might bring unwanted destruction to vulnerable mother nature.
Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY) advises the public, especially wannabe hikers, to enjoy outdoor activities responsibly.
ECOMY chief executive officer Andrew Sebastian is optimistic that seasoned hikers will be especially mindful of what to do, including social distancing best practices.
“It’s the newbies who usually pose a threat to these popular outdoor destinations.
“The good thing is, going on a hiking getaway while minimizing negative impact to the environment is not difficult at all,” said Sebastian.
The intrepid naturalist offers some simple tips on how not to be a bozo in the outdoors:
Find some hiking buddies
If you are new to the hobby, it’s wise to bring a partner especially seasoned outdoor goers, to keep you company and lend a helping hand if needed.
Research your trail
Outdoor activities can be dangerous, so study your trail beforehand to know what to expect and where the turns are so you don’t get lost.
Warm-up before hiking
Stretching your body before hiking is essential. It will help minimise potential injury or pain. For optimum results, stretch your body after five to 10 minutes of a general body warm-up.
Make sure you have enough time
Be mindful of timing, and always make sure your phone has enough battery to last. Phones can be used as a torchlight and compass, even without a network.
Read up on local regulations
Have respect for the rules. Don’t litter, and don’t disturb the environment around you. Some trails require a permit. Call the park office to check if you are unsure.
Get the weather forecast
Pack appropriately. Sunny or rain, it’s always good to bring a poncho to cover not just your body and backpack but also wounds in case of injury.
Dress for the outdoors
Wear the proper footwear, so you don’t slip. Choice of colour is also essential. Wear apparel with earthly colours to fully immerse yourself in nature but bright colors will help people find you in an emergency.
At the end of the day, these do’s and don’ts are there to ensure your visit, and that of others, is a safe and pleasant one.
There is very little enforcement out there, so we all need to self-regulate.
After all, civic-mindedness is everyone’s social responsibility.
And remember, we get to enjoy mother nature because those before us have taken care of it.