Yes, 2020 has been quite a year. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected every single person in some way. Everyone is stir crazy, and rightfully so. This is a very stressful time in humanity’s history. From my perspective as an outdoor guide, one positive is seeing Americans explore their own beautiful country.

This year, due to COVID-19, my clients have been overwhelmingly Americans. This is different from previous years when overseas travel was safe and permitted. I am also noticing more and more people who, under normal circumstances, would not choose an outdoor activity for vacationing. Right now, being outside is the safest place to be. I am so happy that my fellow citizens are experiencing the beauty that I have dedicated my life to sharing with others. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to remind people that we must share and respect this beautiful land where we live and play.

This year, more than ever, I have found myself frustrated with the lack of respect my fellow countrymen have shown for our national parks. At first I thought it was confined to the area where I guide tours. After talking with friends who guide in other areas, I have learned that this disregard of our cherished natural treasures is widespread.

We all share this incredible nation with its unique and varied landscapes. The reason one is able to get that pristine Instagram photo in nature is because the people who visited before left no trace of their visit. I would like to urge my fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters, to do the same. Respect the land we all share and please, please, take only photos and leave only footprints.

Siobhan

Petrified Forest National Park. Arizona – Photo by Jiho Sohn (www.jihometric.com)