Most Americans love the outdoors. On weekends and vacations we flock to mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes. Its a way for us to escape the hectic pace of city life and reconnect with our youth. Of course the way we play may be playing havoc with the places we love. Some people say we may be loving our wild places to death. Many of us flock to the same high-profile destinations half a world away. That takes a lot of fuel and creates a lot of pollution. It also stresses the places we visit.The solutions simple. Look in your own back yard. "If you look right under your nose a lot of times you can find nature hikes… nature trails… wildlife viewing scenery areas. You can also find caverns and lakes… all kinds of things that are probably right in the area you live in." When you do get to your destination remember to play hard but land lightly. Any boy scout can tell you what that means. Enjoy the great outdoors but leave them as you found them or even a little better. It doesnt make much sense to reduce pollution on travel, and then spark a forest fire with an untended campfire. Visit any sporting goods store and youll find a treasure house of eco-friendly outdoor gear. "When they see products made from recycled merchandise it definitely makes you kind of take a step back and think about what youre doing to keep the earth clean." "Not only is it ecologically smart… its financially smart. Its just good for everybody. Its a win-win." The top four outdoor activities in America are bicycling, fishing, hiking and camping. Its estimated that over 70 percent of Americans participate in at least one outdoor activity.Thats a lot of people enjoying the great outdoors. It can also represent a potential environmental risk. When your vacation is over ask yourself… what kind of footprint did I leave?