Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace principles remind us to be mindful of other users of the outdoors and the animals and plants that live in the places we visit, whether it is a neighborhood park or a national park. For Leave No Trace tips and ethics, please visit lnt.org.
Paying It Forward
If you would like to enhance the value and meaning of your visit, volunteer your time to a local cause or project while you’re in the area.
There are many organizations that work to preserve the beautiful, scenic open spaces we call home. By volunteering you can learn more intimately about the nature of our communities, whether your interest is in hiking, watchable wildlife or riparian restoration, there are opportunities to see firsthand what it takes to sustain this unique landscape.
Keep Wildlife Wild
Maintain a respectful distance, use binoculars and telephoto lenses, refrain from feeding wild animals, and protect wildlife by securely storing your meals and trash and pets, especially when camping.
Our area is home to many sensitive and endangered species. Sometimes there are restrictions on where you can travel and when, like near Bald Eagle nesting sites during breeding season. Find out about current restrictions from a local ranger.
Be aware of where you place your hands, where you sit, and where you step to avoid contact with wildlife. Many creatures may seem foreign to you, but please remember this is their home and they are a valuable part in our ecosystem.
Hunting and fishing require permits. Please check with the local ranger station for current information.
Honor Protected and Fragile Landscapes
Archeological sites abound in our region. Well-known sites are managed by federal, state, or local governments and are open to the public. Please stay on trails and refrain from touching artifacts. The historic homes and structures, native art and sacred sites are part of the living culture of the local native communities today, so please respect their history.
Help us protect soil crusts. Please walk, bike, and ride horses on trails. Biological (cryptobiotic) soil crust is a living groundcover that forms the foundation of high desert plant life. Without this crust, constant soil erosion and water loss would drastically limit life in our high desert.
Follow advisories and regulations when visiting protected areas (such as staying on established trails). Remember the usage fees you pay support local management programs and conservation efforts necessary to protect and maintain these areas.
Recreational Boating on the Verde River
The Verde River draws many recreational boaters to kayak and canoe along its cool, green corridor, and enjoy the fun riffles and generally approachable rapids of the river. Most of the Verde River is suitable for beginner and novice paddlers, particularly the stretches running through the Verde Valley.
The most popular areas to paddle include:
- Lower TAPCO river access point to Tuzigoot (the Verde River @ Clarkdale stretch)
- The Black Canyon river access point to Bignotti in the Prescott National Forest
- White Bridge river access point in the Town of Camp Verde to Beasley Flat river access point outside of Town limits
Paddle guides and information about length of time for trips, gear and equipment that you’ll need, and obstacles in the river channel can be found at http://www.bluetrailsguide.org/rivers/verde/
When you visit, please remember to be safe, and respectful of the river. Verde River flows vary greatly with the season and with storm events, and a normally fun paddle for beginners can quickly become challenging with flood events. Always check current conditions before pushing off shore.
Tips for a safe, enjoyable, and low impact excursion along the Verde River include:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Never paddle alone.
- Be mindful with your consumption, as alcohol and boating don’t mix.
- Much of the land along the banks of the Verde River is private property.
Please don’t trespass, and only seek out public access points to put in and take out.
- Practice Leave No Trace ethics, and pack out your trash.
- Always bring a first aid kit, repair kit, and rescue equipment on boating excursions.
Be Prepared, Stay Safe
Preparedness is not just for you. You are also doing this for the rest of your party and your loved ones. Please evaluate yourselves.
Often, campfires are not permitted in our arid region due to wildfire danger – in some areas they are never permitted; in other areas, it may depend on the season or specific location you visit. Wildfires can cause significant damage to natural resources and property loss in our region, so please know the restrictions and follow the guidelines.
Learn about local weather conditions before venturing out:
The weather changes quickly in the high desert of the Verde Valley and temperatures are more extreme – both for heat and cold – then in most places in the world. What’s the weather forecast? How are the roads and trails? Dress in layers - it’s not uncommon to experience several seasons during the same day.
Remember that many mountain roads are gravel can be single lane, and always carry tire chains during the fall, winter, and spring.
Consider hiring a local guide for challenging activities or remote areas.
Value Your Destination and Resources, Especially Water
You’ve heard it before – water is precious in the desert. All of the water we use comes from groundwater, which helps feed the flow of the Verde River and its tributaries. Help our river and creeks through conserving water as best you can.
Help conserve the natural resources you’ve come to visit by following the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Continue to think globally while on vacation – the earth isn’t on vacation.
Support tour operators, outfitters, and service providers that incorporate green practices in their operations. Tipping is always appreciated.
Keeping Money Local
By giving your business to local guides and recreation businesses, and our state and local parks, it helps us, but it also helps you get the most authentic experience.
Seek an authentic experience in shopping - support the true regional character you’ve come to see by consciously spending your time and money at local businesses with local employees, who offer locally produced food and products, handicrafts, and art. Your dollars will benefit the region and also help communities preserve traditions and protect natural resources.
Respect Local Cultures and Communities
Be aware that you may encounter cultural differences. Please research local customs, social norms, and environmental issues before you arrive, especially when visiting tribal reservations. Be respectful of private property.
Seek Off-the-Beaten-Path Opportunities
Interact with nature, landscapes, and culture, rather than other visitors. Visit popular places at off-peak times. Seek outstanding experiences of our natural landscape, wildlife, and scenic views at some of the lesser-known attractions.
Explore by Bike and Foot; Get Out of the Car
Explore the area by getting out into it—try walking, biking, or taking public transportation for a portion of your travels. Rent fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicles when a car is necessary. For additional traveler tips and tools for offsetting your carbon footprint, visit sustainabletravelinternational.org.