In most towns, Earth Day comes and goes on April 22 each year. But we do things differently in Bend.
We sip from reusable water bottles year ‘round and pick up litter on the trails. We watch out for wildlife and reduce fossil fuel use by biking to our favorite restaurants.
Sure, we’re not pillars of perfection, and there’s always room for improvement. But here are 7 ways you can add a little Bend-inspired Earth Day spirit to your life.
Leave no trace
If you’re a fan of Bend, odds are good you’re familiar with Leave No Trace principles. They’re those little golden rules urging you to respect wildlife and be kind to the environment.
Picking up your own trash is a given, including hauling out your own soda cans and string cheese wrappers. Even organic materials like banana skins get packed out (go here to learn why it’s not cool to leave them behind).
Want to take it to the next level and inspire those fuzzy, feel-good Earth Day vibes? Carry a small garbage bag when you hike and scoop up gum wrappers and cans that don’t belong to you. Congratulations! You’ve left Bend better than you found it.
Don’t invent trails or parking spots
You love animals, which means you don’t want wildlife veering off migration paths or sweet forest babies separated from their mothers. That’s one reason it’s vital to stick to established hiking trails instead of inventing your own. Wildlife aside, it’s about preventing trail erosion and preserving fragile ecosystems, and isn’t that at the core of Earth Day?
The new Central Cascade Wilderness Permit System is another tool for protecting trail systems we all know and love, so make sure you’re up to speed on when and where you need a permit.
Parking can be a pain point at popular trailheads, and Mother Earth winces each time someone parks a gas-guzzling SUV on the fragile forest floor. You know a great thing to come out of the pandemic? It’s our ability to formulate plan A, plan B, plan C…maybe all the way to Z because life’s full of curveballs. If you arrive at a trailhead to find the parking lot full, it won’t faze you to find another trail. Just head on down the road and spread Earth Day spirit elsewhere.
Doo your doody
Bend is one of the nation’s dog-friendliest towns, and you’ll find man’s best friend everywhere from trails to breweries.
The not-so-awesome thing about dogs? Your pup can’t figure out how to use the toilet. Stock up on biodegradable baggies so when Spot does his doody, you can do your duty. If you forget yours, most Bend parks have dog doo bags available.
Also, don’t forget there’s no magical poop fairy who removes full bags from the trail. Remember to cart yours to the trash, even if it’s miles away. Oh, and I have it on good authority you can create good dog doo karma––the kind that spares you from stepping in a big, squishy pile––by picking up stray canine landmines not left by your pup. Consider it a kindness to your fellow trail users.
Take the Bend Pledge
While you’re not making a commitment to sustainability for selfish purposes, it’s nice to have the potential for reward. That’s what you get when you take The Bend Pledge. It’s a small way of putting it in writing that you promise to be a good steward of Bend’s natural resources and abide by a code of conduct. Every six months, we draw a name from among the pledge takers to win a Bend vacation that includes lodging, meals, and activities—all for just doing the right thing. Score!
Buy a book, protect the trails
Know what makes an excellent Earth Day gift? A coffee table book filled with Bend photography. Ineffable is a locally-produced publication featuring stunning images of Central Oregon landscapes. With a $15 donation to Pledge for the Wild, you score one of these beauties while supporting the Deschutes Trails Coalition and their work to protect and maintain Bend’s wild places. Learn more here.
Find an Earth Day event
If you’re reading this in the days surrounding Earth Day itself, odds are good there’s a socially distanced event happening near you.
While COVID put a crimp in plans for Bend’s annual Earth Day parade (again), the Central Oregon Environmental Center has plenty going on, including virtual, in-person, and hybrid options. Check out their website for details on an Earth Day-themed scavenger hunt app, kid-friendly story time, a film screening with panel discussion, and even a virtual parade.
Local eateries and watering holes are being extra cautious with COVID protocols, but a few are planning Earth Day acknowledgments. Saturday at Worthy Brewing, you can enjoy an outdoor celebration on their spacious patio with social distancing enforced. They’re offering live music, tasty beer, and a chance to learn more about Operation Appleseed––their initiative to plant one million trees.
Planning ahead to make Earth Day happen another time? Gobs of Bend businesses are teaming up to look out for Mother Nature. Wanderlust Tours paired with Crux Fermentation Project to sponsor their Brews and Views Canoe Tour this summer and Shoes, Brews, and Views Snowshoe Tour in winter. Best of all, $1 from each of these two tours will go to Pledge for the Wild. See more special events info here.
Even if you’re not game for an event or a tour, consider small ways you can make a difference. That takeout meal you’re ordering to eat at home? Ask them to skip the plastic utensils and paper napkins and get out your own reusable ones. For more ideas, check out this page from the Central Oregon Environmental Center.
Sip something earthy
Since you care about the Earth, you’re already a champ at swilling beverages from reusable vessels and trekking the Bend Ale Trail on foot. Now that you’ve got responsible drinking down, here are some ideas for supporting the environment while swilling your grownup beverage.
First up, Crux Fermentation Project is donating all proceeds from their Lawn Party Golden Ale to Pledge for the Wild. Yep, all the proceeds, which is an awesome excuse to pick up some of this summery ale with hints of pine, citrus, and melon from Strata and Centenial hops.
Then we’ve got two Earth-inspired drink recipes to help you celebrate. You can enjoy these in the comfort of your home with a quick trip to your local liquor store.
The first Earth-themed drink comes to us courtesy of Oregon Spirit Distillers, and you can grab the ingredients anywhere their tasty spirits are sold.
Keep Oregon Green
- 1.5 oz Oregon Spirit Cascadian Vodka
- 1 oz fresh pressed cucumber juice (or 3-4 slices of cucumber)
- .5 oz simple syrup
- .5 oz lime juice
- 4-5 mint leaves
Muddle mint leaves and syrup in a shaker tin. (Also muddle cucumbers at this time if using slices.) Add cucumber juice, lime, and vodka to the shaker with a scoop of ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain into glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice and mint.
Up next, we have a yummy Earth-inspired concoction from Crater Lake Spirits. Pick up the ingredients anywhere you find their delicious Bend-made beverages.
Campfire Whiskey Sour
- 2.25 oz Crater Lake Spirits Rye Whiskey or Reserve Rye Whiskey
- 1 six-inch rosemary stalk
- 1 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz dark maple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rye, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Light the sprig of rosemary on fire and add to the shaker still lit. Cap the shaker and let stand for 30 seconds so that the mixture can infuse with smoke. Fill the shaker with ice; cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with the remaining rosemary sprig.
Cheers, everyone! And happy Earth Day to all of you, no matter where you are or what day it may be.