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Best practices for interacting with nature in Portland

Help keep Portland’s nature scenes beautiful with these pro tips.

A little kid puts their hand on a tree in Hoyt Arboretum during the fall.

Here are some ways you can be an environmental steward in Portland.

It’s no secret that locals and visitors alike love Portland’s vibrant outdoor spaces.

We want to help maintain these places, and when possible, leave them better than the way we found them. Here are some examples of best practices to keep in mind when interacting with Portland’s nature and wildlife.

Leave every stone unturned

We’ve all seen the aesthetic rock-stacking photos, but moving stones (and toppling existing cairns) can destroy important habitats and displace fish and aquatic invertebrates. Listen to the Washington Post’s advice — skip the photo op and leave the rocks in place.

Pick up trash

This one is easy, but if you come across some trash while out on your nature adventure, pick it up. Better yet, get involved with Trailkeepers of Oregon, a statewide group of volunteers that maintains our precious access to the outdoors. SOLVE also hosts cleanups in the city.

Ditch the single-use plastic

On your next Portland outdoor adventure, bring your water and snacks in reusable containers. Single-use plastic water bottles or bags that end up in our waterways introduce pollutants and microplastics that are damaging to the environment. Check out this PDX carpet water bottle.

Stay on the trail

When you head out on your next hike, make sure to stay on the trails that have been marked to help keep the areas off-trail preserved. Apply the “leave no trace” principle to help make conscious decisions that serve to lessen our impact on nature.

Don’t feed wildlife

Feeding wildlife can cause them to suffer nutritionally or become dependent on unreliable food sources. It’s best to leave these furry and finned friends alone, opt instead to stop by Portland Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary to learn about and get up close and personal with Portland’s native wildlife.

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