Most of us who enjoy spending time on public lands for recreation have probably been exposed to messaging about how to minimize our impact on the environment while still doing the things we love. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints,” is a well-known example adapted from a quote from Chief Seattle of the Duwamish people, “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” The sentiment of this simple yet powerful statement has been incorporated into the growing and evolving #RecreateResponsibly movement. The coalition of organizations and companies began by distilling research and expert advice to provide six principles aimed at maintaining a safe, inclusive, and sustainable outdoors. The principles are: know before you go, plan and prepare, build an inclusive outdoors, respect others, leave no trace, and make it better.  Being aware of the conditions (weather, trail closures, impacts from recent fires, etc.) of where you plan to visit, as well as having a plan and being prepared for those conditions, are all of utmost importance for safely recreating in the outdoors. Search and rescue operations in Washington have steadily trended upwards since 2010 as the number of people engaging in outdoor activities has also increased. Many organizations offer training for outdoor preparedness. The Mountaineers is a Pacific Northwest-based organization whose mission includes advocacy, stewardship, and education about the outdoors, and they offer excellent training for people at all levels of experience. 
Movements aimed at providing equity for outdoor recreation such as Diversify Outdoors are doing important work detailing the disproportionate impacts of environmental pollution and lack of access to green space experienced by communities of color. It is a hard and sad fact that a legacy of racial and social injustice exists in the world of outdoor recreation. Understanding these inequalities and working to expand opportunities to enjoy the outdoors for people of all backgrounds is a major way to recreate responsibly. Regardless of who you are and what joy you choose to chase in the Great Outdoors, please follow the guidelines to leave no trace:
Plan ahead 
Camp and travel on durable surfaces 
Dispose of waste properly 
Leave what you find (except litter!) 
Minimize campfire impacts  
Be respectful of wildlife 
Be considerate of other visitors 
Another guideline, of course, is to have fun! People interact with the natural environment in so many different ways and each is important, both for our well-being as humans and for our inspiration to help protect the Earth!