It’s Natural for Destinations to Want to Celebrate Our Earth!

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Written by Emily Prickett, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Major

Earth Day is almost here! With this in mind, how can residents, destinations, business owners, and tourists contribute to appreciating the planet and its one of a kind resources? Visit NC’s initiative Outdoor NC supports these values (Outdoor NC Website). Constantly searching for ways to preserve the state’s natural beauty and make it accessible to all, the organization has partnered with Leave No Trace and NC Outdoor Recreation Industry to reach and convince visitors of the importance of their impacts.

Leave No Trace highlights seven key principles that summarize the priorities that should be adopted by every stakeholder when considering traveling to and experiencing the outdoors: Plan ahead and prepare, Stick to trails and overnight right, Trash your trash, Leave it as you find it, Be careful with fire, Keep wildlife wild, and Be Considerate of Others and Share the Outdoors. These have changed slightly over the past couple of years to adapt to the changing needs of the different environments. Overall, these partnerships aim to educate participants while displaying their active efforts to improve the sustainability of North Carolina’s tourism and places for outdoor recreation (Leave No Trace Website).

In addition to North Carolina’s direct efforts to maintain its natural resources, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, has created its own set of standards to encourage sustainable practices. These include guidelines to meet the standard of a “Green List” destination (IUCN Green List Website). Achieving this status exemplifies the business’s commitment to conservation practices such as good governance, sound planning and design, effective management, and successful conservation outcomes.

While North Carolina has not yet made it on the Green List, it is taking steps in that direction as it is the first state on the East Coast to partner with Leave No Trace. Narrowing down these shared principles into a simple phrase, Visit NC encourages locals and visitors to “Make it your nature to protect North Carolina’s outdoor spaces.”  No matter the relation one has to the state of North Carolina or any other location around the world, everyone should be committed to the care of this wonderful planet that has so much to offer to the current and following generations.