If you love to participate in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, kayaking or hiking, then you already have a large stake in local water quality. Keeping local waterways clean ensures that you and your children will be able to experience stunning views and healthy wildlife for years to come. In many cases, the steps necessary to protect water quality begin on land and even in our own homes. Consider taking the following steps in support of your outdoor hobby:
- Use environmentally friendly practices at home. This can be as simple as recycling, picking up after your pet, and washing your vehicle on the lawn instead of the driveway (which allows dirty, soapy water to absorb into the soil rather than wash down the storm drain). You can also plant trees and native plants, or install a rain barrel or rain garden to increase your impact. Check out the Reduce Your Stormwater website for more information.
- Join a cleanup event to pick up trash. Throughout the year, environmental and other local groups host trash cleanups to improve their communities. Any litter left on the ground will eventually reach local waterways, so it’s important to pick it up before it harms wildlife and dirties our streams. One annual event is the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Project Clean Stream, which assists site captains in organizing cleanups across PA and the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.
- Join a local watershed/conservation group and become a clean water advocate. There are many like-minded people around you who share your love of nature and want to protect it. Joining a local watershed group will help achieve environmental results, give you a sense of fulfillment, and will create lifelong memories and friendships! You may also have the opportunity to participate in educational events and share your cause with the public. Some local groups include Trout Unlimited- John Kennedy chapter and the Juniata Clean Water Partnership.
- Make sure your boat is properly maintained. Check regularly to see that your boat, jet ski, all-terrain vehicle, etc. are not leaking oil, gas or other chemicals that will pollute the water.
- Purchase durable, eco-friendly outdoor gear. Lead by example and buy from retailers who use recycled materials or other sustainable practices.
- Finally, share your passion with others! Whether it be a friend, student, coworker or relative, take someone with you the next time you go outdoors. Connecting people to their local waterways is one of the best ways to get them interested in the environment. You just might inspire them to become a clean water advocate, too.
Tread Lightly!, a national nonprofit, offers environmentally friendly tips and guidelines for campers, fishermen, boaters, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. Keep PA Beautiful provides materials and resources for hundreds of cleanups events across the state each year. There is a Blair County affiliate located in Altoona.
The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is your source of information on PA’s State Parks, including Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County.