Tips for Taking a Green Lake Vacation
If you try to keep your carbon footprint as small as possible when you’re at home, chances are you want to tread the earth lightly while you’re vacationing on the lake, too. When planning your next lake vacation, consider these four tips for making your trip to the lake as ecologically thrifty as you can while still having lots of fun.
Roam close to home.
When it comes to being green, a vacation close to home is best.
Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, going a long distance expends fossil fuel and generates more pollution than a shorter one. Driving your hybrid, electric or low-emission car to the nearest lake with accommodations, however, rather than selecting some far-flung locale, is about as green as most of us can get.
Choose the most earth-friendly accommodations available.
State and national parks with lakeside camping and/or cabins are probably the greenest accommodations you’ll find.
This summer the standard log cabin we booked at Babcock State Park in West Virginia has no cable, Internet service or air conditioning. It does, however, have indoor plumbing, a full kitchen and a full bed. (The economy cabins have bunk beds.) It also has a picnic table and a charcoal grill out back.
We’re not too concerned about the lack of air conditioning. Since the cabin is situated in the mountains close to the water, we’re expecting the temperatures to be comfortably cool, especially at night.
During the day, we’ll spend most of our time kayaking, rafting, hiking or cycling, so our energy consumption will be much lower than it is when we’re at home. At night, we’ll use almost none, save for the humming appliances in the cabin.
During our work-a-day lives, most of us use computers, smartphones, cellphones and/or other energy-expending technology practically from the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed. To be really green while on vacation, leave all that behind.
Pack an old paperback instead of an e-Reader. Talk to the people you’re with instead of those far away. Rather than read the news online, walk down to the park lodge or information center for the local paper. Use a compass and a park map instead of a GPS.
Sure, take your cellphone. In the event of an emergency, you may need it. But keep it turned off unless a crisis does develop.
Taking a vacation from technology will reduce your stress level and your stress on Mother Earth, too, making your lake vacation a little greener.
Leave no trace.
Remember that really big rule you learned in Scouts? Leave no trace. In other words, when you’re out and about in nature, disturb the environment as little as possible.
What does that mean when it comes to a vacation by the lake? Lots of planning and preparation.
Plan your vacation by the lake well so that you disturb the environment as little as possible. That means preparing for the activities you intend to engage in as well as contingencies like bad weather, illness or accidents.
“Leave no trace” also means taking all of the trash and other debris you create while you’re at the lake with you when you leave so that the lake and the surrounding environs are as pristine when you depart as they were when you arrived.