Responsible travel is important to Backroads. We’ve said it many times: Traveling on two feet or two wheels is the ultimate minimal-impact approach to traveling. Still, we recognize that any travel has an impact. So, in addition to creating wonderful walking trips, hiking tours and biking adventures, we also find ways to support the communities in which we travel to offset a little of the small footprint we leave behind.
Here are some of our favorite ways to travel responsibly. We hope you adopt these principles when you’re on a Backroads tour, as well as when you set out on your own vacation adventures, and even during daily life when your next vacation is just in the planning stages:
- Buy locally grown products and donate leftover foods to charities.
- Shop at local retail stores.
- Recycle where recycling exists.
- One of the easiest things to do is remember the motto: Leave No Trace. This especially applies to camping. If you pack it in, be sure to pack it out.
Here are a few of the organizations Backroads supports. In recent years, we’ve donated more than $1 million to causes or organizations like these:
National Parks Conservation Association
This group has been around since 1919 and sparked a nationwide effort to preserve our national parks. Chances are, if you’ve visited a scenic vista, a vast landscape or even historic sites, the National Parks Conservation Association has had something to do with preserving the integrity of that area. Backroads is proud to offer active national park vacations, including Wrangell-St. Elias, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Maine’s Acadia and Alaska’s Glacier Bay. For more information about NPCA, call 800-628-7275 or visit www.npca.org.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
This organization aims to make tourism a viable tool for conservation and sustainable development. It works with outdoor travel entrepreneurs, researchers and conservationists. Every year, the International Ecotourism Society picks an ecotourism issue and works with its network to not just raise awareness, but bring about change.
Costa Rica and Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands - two favorite Backroads destinations – are just two areas benefiting from TIES attention. For more information about TIES, call 202-347-9203 or visit www.ecotourism.org.
Leave No Trace
What we love about traveling the back roads is that there is so much beauty. Sure, we travel in and to a few big cities, but we always try to take the road less traveled. We have a number of trips that involve camping and it’s the Leave No Trace motto that we make sure everyone in the group understands. This motto was developed in the late 1970s and is a cooperative effort among the U.S National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and dozens of other private partners such as Backroads.
“Leave No Trace” principles include:
• Camping and traveling on durable surfaces: On our walking, hiking and mountain biking trips, we avoid and discourage cutting switchbacks, creating new trails or adding new trail markers. Minimal impact on the trails and surrounding areas is key.
• Pack it in, pack it out: While we aren’t doing any backpacking on our trips, we are very conscientious about picking up all our food and trash items when we are picnicking, camping or stopping for refreshments.
• Leaving what you find behind: We discourage the urge to take away even a small souvenir piece of lava or coral or wildflowers. We need to leave things the way they were when we found them, so others can enjoy the same beauty we did. For more information about Leave No Trace, call 800-332-4100 or visit www.Lnt.org.
So enjoy your adventure tour with Backroads but be mindful of your environment and the impact you leave behind.