How You Can Help

A group of volunteers holding shovels and loppers on National Public Lands Day
A group of volunteers on National Public Lands Day after a successful barberry removal along the Brown's Farm Trial.

NPS/Connor Henzel


Get Involved with your Public Lands

Volunteers, scouts, and trail stewards are a crucial part of conservation. Catoctin Mountain Park is looking for people who care about our natural and cultural resources and who care about people. Fulfilling our National Park Service mission of preserving unimpaired the natural and cultural resources d for the enjoyment of future generations is an exciting challenge. We can't do it alone. We need your help in keeping Catoctin a very special place for our visitors to enjoy.

You can help right here in your park by volunteering to pull invasive plants, helping with trail maintenance, or volunteering on National Public Lands Day. These conservation activities increase forest resilience to climate change by reducing pressure from invasive plants, and keeping foot traffic on trails and away from fragile native plants and soils. Find a volunteer opportunity at Catoctin Mountain Park.


Minimize your Impact in Nature

It may not seem like it, but our presence in nature as hikers, bikers, and campers has an impact. Natural areas can sustain heavy damage through repeated misuse and disrespect. The Leave No Trace principals were created as a set of ethical practices to use when recreating in nature, to keep your impact to a minimum. Please consider following them at Catoctin Mountain Park, and any other natural areas you love. There are Leave No Trace principles available for a variety of outdoor recreation activities, whether you like to hike, camp, raft, or fish.

  1. Know Before You Go Be prepared and, remember to take plenty of food, water, and proper clothes. Plan your trip and learn about potential hazards.
  2. Stick to the Path Native plants grow by the inch, and die by your foot. Shortcutting, leaving the path, and following unofficial “social” trails causes erosion and compacts soil.
  3. Pack It In, Pack It Out Put litter –even crumbs, peels, and cores – in garbage bags and take it home with you. Animals are attracted to the smells on our garbage and may become habituated to humans.
  4. Keep Wildlife Wild Observe wildlife from a distance, never feed them human food, or leave scraps behind.
  5. Leave It As You Find It Leave plants, rocks, and historical items as you find them. Treat these objects with respect for others to enjoy. Collecting is illegal in many protected areas.
  6. Manage Your Pet Keep your animal under a control and on a lease to protect it, other visitors, and wildlife. Be sure to pack out pet wastes.
  7. Share Our Parks Respect other visitors by keeping nature peaceful. Loud voices and wireless speakers are significant sources of noise pollution in nature. Yield to other visitors and let them pass, hikers heading uphill have the right of way.

Your Impact at Home

There are many changes to your routine you can make to reduce your impact at home. Something as simple as lowering your thermostat when away from home, or during the night, can also lower your energy bill. Try to think about your consumption patterns. Many of us recycle, but reducing consumption in the first place (or reusing what we already have) is even more important.

Simple changes you could make today:

  • Use your blinds. Opening them in the winter allows heat from the sun to warm up your home, and closing them in the summer can reduce heat gains by nearly half.
  • Compost food waste, rather than tossing it in the garbage. Even if something you throw out is biodegradable, the conditions in a landfill don’t allow it to break down.
  • Maintain or give away possessions instead of discarding them.
  • Ditch plastic for biodegradable materials that will safely breakdown in the environment rather than harming animals.
  • Start researching other ways to live more responsibly.

Do you know what your "carbon footprint" is? The Environmental Protection Agency has developed tools to help individuals and households reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take action, such as a Personal Emissions Calculator. This calculator provides an estimate of household greenhouse gas emissions resulting from household energy use and waste disposal, and it gives you information you can use to identify ways to reduce your personal greenhouse gases.


Fuel Saving Driving Techniques

The way you drive could be increasing your impact on the planet – and your wallet.Simple changes to your driving habits and vehicle can increase its fuel efficiency and save money. These include driving conservatively, removing excess weight, performing regular maintenance, and slowing down.

Fall foliage on display at the Hog Rock Overlook
Eastern Forests and Climate

Changes in seasonal weather could have an impact on eastern forests, and the animals that call them home.

Extreme closeup of a deer tick on a blade of grass.
Health and Climate Change

Mosquito and tick-borne diseases are on the rise in a warming climate.

Close up of a solar flare
Climate Change

The greenhouse effect is becoming stronger due to human activity.

An electric car is plugged in and charging.
Sustainability in the Park

From alternative fuels to energy saving appliances, the park is working towards a low carbon future.

Last updated: May 2, 2020

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6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788


301 663-9388

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