Six Tips to Preserve and Protect the Outdoors This Summer

Posted: June 24, 2024 | Word Count: 417

Summer is here, and many Californians are headed out to enjoy the warmer weather and wonders of the outdoors with friends and family. Before recreating outside, be sure to think about your impact and do your part to keep public lands clean to protect the natural ecosystems.

Caltrans, Clean California, and California State Parks recommend a few simple tips to help keep public spaces and communities safe and free from litter and debris:

Pack it in, pack it out. Leave no trace by bringing a trash bag, especially if visiting a remote area. Put food waste, napkins, single-use food wrappers, and other waste in the bags until it can be properly disposed of. For human waste, the use of waste alleviation gel (WAG) bags or other portable toilet options is recommended. WAG bags can be safely disposed of in regular trash receptacles.

Person loading strawberries and other dried fruits in re-useable tin.

Choose reusable over single-use items. Reusable containers keep harmful toxins out of our water and community recreation areas and are more cost-efficient in the long run. If you do use cans or plastic bottles, be sure to properly recycle them to help mitigate their impact.

Pick up small, littered items to make a big impact. Keep an eye out for bottle caps, food wrappers, cigarette butts, and other small items and be sure to properly dispose of them.

Properly dispose of large items, such as pop-up canopies, beach chairs, and coolers. Leaving these items on the beach or in a park or near a trash receptacle may be considered illegal dumping. Please haul back broken items and dispose of them properly at a local garbage site.

Man securing a load in the back of his pick up with a tarp.

Secure your load. Whether you live nearby or are traveling to reach your destination, be sure to properly tarp and tie down items in truck beds, trailers, and boats to ensure items make it to your destination and do not fly out during the trip.

Prevent wildfires and toxic pollution. The hotter and drier climate in the summer makes for optimal conditions for wildfires. Litter adds to this problem, especially cigarette butts, as they can start and fuel the spread of wildfire. Litter, when burned, can also release toxins into the environment, harming wildlife and nearby communities. Do your part to properly dispose of all items.

More tips are available online at Before heading outside, do a little research on your destination to scope out trails, reserve picnic areas and campsites, and pack belongings accordingly. To find a state park close to you, visit

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