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There are a million ​things that make Bend, Oregon, one of the coolest spots on earth, and the folks who live here don’t take a single snow-capped mountain peak or alpine lake for granted.

For Bend locals, taking pride in the region’s special places is what keeps them, well . . .  special. Bend residents live by the “Leave No Trace” code of ethics. They pack reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones, and they pick up litter along their favorite hiking trails.

Is ​that what makes locals such all-around happy people? Maybe. It goes without saying that being stuck in traffic isn’t so bad when you’ve got killer mountain views peeking over the stoplight. If the parking lot’s full at a favorite trailhead, locals know to head on down the road instead of parking on fragile ground. There’s always another great hike just a few miles away.

Are you vacationing in Bend, and want to experience it like a local who lives and plays here year-round? Give it a shot, and be sure to share your memories on social media using the hashtag #visitlikealocal. You might just earn a prize, and you’ll feel totally awesome about doing your part to keep Bend beautiful.

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