Guidance for Tour Guides and Nature Travelers
Texas offers the traveler a diverse menu of nature based tourism opportunities from the mountains to the sea. A Texas Guide to Wildlife Watching (TPWD publication, PWD BR W7000-659, 9/01) provides guidance on how to observe animals in action, minimize the effects of your presence and take candid, authentic photos.
The following are some guidelines for tour guides and nature travelers in Texas which will enable visitors to enjoy and conserve these irreplaceable resources:
Plan ahead and prepare
- Know and obey the rules and regulations of the area you are visiting.
- Equip and clothe yourself appropriately for the activity you are planning.
- Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Take and use sunscreen and insect repellent. Wear a hat that will protect your face from the sun.
Respect all living things
- Know and obey all local wildlife regulations.
- Many animals can be dangerous during breeding season or when raising their young.
- Don't walk on, pick or otherwise disturb beach and dune plants, especially sea oats.
- Do not pick or cut plants.
Minimize the use and impact of fire
- Know and obey fire use regulations.
- Be aware of weather conditions.
- Gather only downed wood, wrist size or smaller, for fires.
- Burn wood to fine ashes.
- When you are ready to leave scatter unused wood.
- In high use areas, use only existing fire rings or designated cooking facilities/areas.
Stay safe in the outdoors
- Alcohol impairs judgment. If you drink, be a careful and responsible drinker.
- Hang food high so animals will not be tempted.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Take a first aid and CPR course. Carry a first-aid kit and a compass. Know how to use them.
- Be careful with matches and cigarette embers.
- File a trip/float plan. Let someone know where you'll be and when you'll return.
- Don’t climb up, unless you know you can climb down.
- Always wear an approved personal flotation device when on the water.
- Use the "buddy system" don't participate in "never before tried" activities alone.
- Take a course from recreational professionals before trying difficult and dangerous activities on your own.
Camp and travel on durable surfaces
- In areas of intensive visitor activity, use established trails, camp sites, boat landings, etc.
- In remote or wilderness areas, reduce impacts by spreading out use: avoid creating trails; camp only one or two nights at any single location, and steer clear of areas where impact is just beginning to be visible.
IN THE WILDERNESS
Pack it in, pack it out
- Take a minimum of disposable items with you.
- Remove excess packaging from food and other items before you leave home.
- Do not bury or burn refuse, carry it out.
- If you smoke, save your cigarette butts and take them home.
- If waste receptacles are available, use them.
Properly dispose of what you can't pack out
- Bury human waste in holes 6-8 inches deep, away from streams and waterways.
- Scatter all cooking waste and dirty water well away from water sources and camp sites.
- Dispose of hunting waste in an unobtrusive manner.
Leave what you find
- Minimize site alterations. Don't trench around tents. Don't build structures, such as benches, lean-tos, etc.
- Clean-up after yourself. Make the area you leave look as if no one has been there.
- Do not damage trees or alter habitat.
- Do not collect shells, wood, bone, horn, artifacts or other natural and man-made objects. Stop, handle and enjoy them, then leave them for others to observe and enjoy.
*Adapted from guidelines developed by Clemson University in a cooperative project with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.