It is likely you have heard term “ecotourism” and are familiar with the phrase, “Take only pictures, and leave only footprints.” At the heart of the philosophy of ecotourism is a deep respect for the earth and a desire to protect and to keep it clean for all who share this beautiful planet. Whether you’re planning a Sedona vacation to see the red rocks, enjoy the sparkling creek waters, or visit a vortex and meditate among the crimson canyons, it’s the perfect place to practice traveling in an eco-friendly manner. Here are five practical tips on how to help preserve the stunning natural beauty of the area.
1. Conserve Water: Arizona is located in the Upper Sonoran Desert, which means awareness of water usage is always important. Help conserve local resources by consciously taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and shaving.
2. Limit Your Energy Use: If you are renting a room in Sedona, turn off the lights, air conditioning, or heater and TV as you leave or whenever not in use. Reusing towels and linens for multiple days instead of having them changed daily is another way to help save both energy and water.
3. Reduce and Recycle: Many Sedona hotels and resorts offer recycling containers for the public. A little extra awareness can help keep recyclables out of landfills. Bring your own BPA-free water bottle to carry while hiking and refill from larger containers. Go all out and visit one of the local water stores to purchase reverse-osmosis, distilled water, or structured waters and refillable quality plastic hiking bottles. Return or recycle any pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines you collect along the way and consciously reduce the number of bags, cups and napkins you use at fast food restaurants.
4. Leave only Footprints . . . and make sure those footprints are on marked hiking trails to avoid harming native flora! You can obtain free advice and maps from local stores that sell hiking gear and supplies, and guided tours are always a great option. Pack a small bag to contain your trash as you hike, and also consider picking up anything left by others along the way. This not only helps keep Sedona beautiful, but also protects wildlife from ingesting or becoming tangled in the trash as well.
Be mindful to use the hotel restroom or facilities at the trailheads before you depart. Dispose of sanitary waste properly and please, to avoid contaminating Sedona’s beautiful creek waters, never ever leave diapers or other waste along the trail or worse yet, place them in or near the creek’s edge.
5. Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist: Sedona has much to offer so take time to explore the region, visit the dynamic rock formations, and learn about the extraordinary diversity of plants, birds, and animals, including many rare species present here. At times, the area can be extremely dry, so be sure to light campfires only where permitted, extinguish them well before you leave, and never throw a cigarette butt from your car.
Sedona’s recreational areas and historic sites should be visited with the utmost reverence and respect. As Ilchi Lee states in The Call of Sedona, “Every land has a sacred mountain or a place of wonder where people gather, drawn by the extraordinary energy there . . . I have traveled to many places around the world . . . but I have yet to encounter a place that draws the heart as does Sedona.”
Love Sedona as if she is your own and leave her as you found her; a rare jewel indeed! Remember, consciously being an eco-friendly traveler and paying attention to how you travel helps conserve our beautiful planet for the enjoyment of generations to come.
For more information on how small changes in our behaviors as individuals can add up to big results for Earth, visit the Earth Citizens Organization’s website at earthcitizens.org.
By Lynn A. Trombetta: A freelance writer on nature, creativity and wellness, Lynn is also a visual artist, professional flutist, recording artist, and published author.