Let’s discover Appalachia! It’s a big, beautiful place stretching from New York to Mississippi. Here, you’ll find amazing nature and cool culture.
This guide will give you a list of sustainable travel tips for your next trip to the beautiful Appalachians. So, your trips are fun, mindful, and good for the environment too!
Why Sustainable Appalachia Travel Matters
It’s a special place with a lot of different plants, animals, and a rich culture. We should do what we can to explore carefully and mindfully. Sustainable travel is a way we can lower the negative impact of our travels.
Vibrant woods and communities are all over the Great Smoky Mountains and Tennessee. These communities love their land and have a deep history. Here are just some of the reasons why we need to protect this environment:
- Diverse Animals and Plants: The Appalachians are home to many amazing creatures, like the Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel. The Shenandoah National Park gives you beautiful views full of greenery. According to the Landscape Partnership, marine-life is particularly threatened. They account for 102 of Appalachia’s 198 endangered species.
- Local Shops Need Support: Without tourism and support from the communities, local businesspeople may lose their livelihoods. Shop and eat at local places, like craft shops in Berea and diners in Asheville.
- We should protect nature: The area is losing trees at an alarming rate. Reforestation in Appalachia is close to VisitorsCoverage’s heart. It’s exciting to explore Appalachian Caverns and the Chattahoochee National Forest. You’ll want to make sure people can experience these wonders for generations to come.
Eco-Friendly Appalachia Travel Tips
So, what can we do to help Appalachia when we visit? Here are just a few tips you can put into practice the next time you head into the mountains.
1. Take ‘Leave No Trace’ to Heart
- Pack It In, Pack It Out: This is important in camping locales like West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. Pack light, take what you need, and when you’re ready to pack up, make sure you take everything with you.
- Stick to the Trails: Safeguard the Appalachian Trail’s biodiversity, spanning 2,000 miles across 14 states.
- Wildlife Respect: This is one of the most important green travel tips for Appalachia. You’ll get the chance to see a lot of amazing wildlife. But remember to keep your distance. Admire the elk herds in North Carolina’s Cataloochee Valley from afar!
2. Green Transportation in Appalachia
- Public Transport: Leverage the Smoky Mountain Hiker Shuttle in Tennessee.
- Biking Adventures: Navigate through the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail from Abingdon, Virginia.
- Walking Tours: Explore Charleston, West Virginia’s historic districts on foot.
3. Green Travel in Appalachia: Lodgings
- Green Lodging: Choose eco-certified lodgings like Dawsonville, Georgia’s Hike Inn.
- Camping: Use marked sites in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest.
- Homestays: Connect with local communities in Floyd, Virginia.
4. Mindful Eating in Appalachia
- Support Local farmers: Explore Boone Street Market in Jonesborough, Tennessee, where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Conserve Water: Water is the life force behind the natural wonders of Appalachia. As a guest, you’ll want to be sure you don’t waste it. This is really important in places like the Cumberland Plateau’s karst landscapes.
- Avoid Single-Use Plastics: Use refill stations in eco-aware towns like Boone, North Carolina. Pack sustainable travel accessories so you don’t have to waste community resources.
5. Engage in Responsible Adventures
- Guided Nature Walks: Continue guided tours, like the one offered in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park.
- Eco-Adventures: Engage in responsible white-water rafting in West Virginia’s Gauley River.
- Wildlife Safaris: Choose ethical bird-watching tours in the Great Smoky Mountains.
6. Join Sustainability Projects
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy: Participate in trail upkeep and conservation initiatives.
- Friends of Blackwater: Help protect the ecosystems of West Virginia’s Blackwater Canyon.
- MountainTrue: Join clean-up campaigns in Western North Carolina.
7. Cultural Respect and Preservation in Appalachia
- Respect Traditions: Engage respectfully with North Carolina’s Cherokee communities. The effects of climate change and deforestation significantly impact indigenous communities
- Support Local Artisans: Shop at the Tamarack Arts Center in Beckley, West Virginia. This money goes right back into the community.
- Join in Cultural Events: Attend the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia. This might seem like just a fun thing to do, but it’s more than that. When you attend these events you’re preserving history.
8. Educate on Sustainable Travel in Appalachia
- Spread Awareness: Share information about Appalachia’s endangered species, like the Virginia Big-Eared Bat.
- Support Nature: Support projects like Appalachian Voices in protecting the region’s natural resources.
Nurturing Sustainable Tourism in Appalachia
When you visit Appalachia, make sure you keep it pretty and safe. Our trips and how we experience them can show that we value keeping it nice for others in the future. Green travel means we explore and save nature at the same time.
Always remember: Follow the local rules to stay safe and be kind while traveling. Want more sustainable travel tips? Check out our recent post on green travel.