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4 Ways to Enjoy Memorial Day Sustainably


Memorial Day is a day to honor the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives for their country. It’s also the first taste of summer vacation for many people and also marks the kickoff of traveling and camping season. AAA is predicting nearly 44 million Americans to be traveling for Memorial Day, making it the second busiest on record. They expect 600,000 Oregonians to be traveling this year! Be safe on the road, whether you’re traveling or not, and make sure to check out these tips to a sustainable holiday weekend. 

  1. Proper Camping Practices: Camping is a great way to connect with friends and family in nature. Put down the screens and enjoy each other’s company! However, camping can have negative impacts on the environment. Be sure to camp in designated camping spaces only as spontaneous camping can degrade habitats, pollute, cause soil erosion, and more. Be sure to bring non-toxic sunscreen, bug spray, soaps, and other products, and avoid brushing your teeth and bathing within 200 feet of water sources. Lastly, be sure to pick up all of your trash and recyclables you bring with you. Check out the National Park Service Camping tips.
  2. Hiking Etiquette: Hiking is another great way to enjoy nature. And like camping, it can be done with friends and family or by yourself (just make sure to let someone know where you’re going). Make sure you stay on designated trails to avoid degradation and damage to surrounding areas and avoid restoration areas. Like camping, bring non-toxic sunscreen and bug spray to avoid polluting soil and water, and harming wildlife. Be smart and bring water, sun protection like hats and sunshirts, proper footwear, a first aid kit, a trail map, and other essential items to stay safe. 
  3. Go for a Picnic: You don’t have to go hiking or camping to be outdoors on Memorial Day. Why not break bread with a picnic in the park? It’s an accessible activity for be of all ages and physical ability and another great way to get outside. Choose organic, locally sourced foods and beverages, and pack them in reusable containers and utensils to reduce single-use plastic waste. Opt for eco-friendly picnic blankets made from sustainable materials, and pack out all of your trash.
  4. Volunteer: Give back to the environment and honor the memory of fallen heroes by participating in environmental volunteer activities. Join conservation groups for tree planting initiatives, trail maintenance projects, or shoreline cleanups to improve and protect natural spaces. Make Memorial Day a day of service and environmental stewardship in remembrance of those who served.

This Memorial Day, let's celebrate with a sustainable mindset, honoring the sacrifices of our heroes while safeguarding the planet they fought to protect. Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend!