September 26, 2023
Mesa Offers Eco-Conscious Travelers a Path for Creating a Planet-Friendly Itinerary
Sustainable Tourism in Mesa
If you love to travel, but want your journey to respect the planet, pack your eco-conscious mindset and recycled bags and head to Mesa. Traveling doesn’t mean you have to compromise your commitment to minimizing your carbon footprint – especially in Mesa, where it’s possible to follow an earth-friendly, sustainable path during your stay. Here, you can explore diverse sights and attractions, and participate in countless activities that strive to do no harm with an ecologically-sound itinerary that still offers a memorable tourist experience.
One of the easiest ways to protect the environment as a traveler is to get outside and engage in responsible tourism that helps keep the natural beauty of our destination intact and promote environmental stewardship of the land.
In Mesa, visitors can leave a positive mark by combining outdoor fitness in the Sonoran Desert with ecological awareness through “plogging” events hosted by Sarah Williams with Plogging Arizona. Plogging is a Swedish fitness craze that incorporates jogging with trash removal and litter pickup to benefit both individuals and the earth. Sarah leads the tours that give individuals the opportunity to combine exercise and reduce the effects of pollution in one adventure, helping clean up outdoor recreation and wilderness areas, as well as revitalizing natural spaces through replanting projects across Arizona.
Another way to be green is attending Natural Restorations clean up events to reduce unsightly and harmful litter pollution by hosting mass clean up efforts that incorporate trash pickup along the Lower Salt River, and neighboring hills and pathways of the Tonto National Forest throughout the year. This is on top of their regular mission to beautify the desert surroundings. Their incredible transformations can be seen on their social media channels.
In addition, visitors can volunteer for community cleanup events and maintenance of public land hosted by Keep Nature Wild, a Mesa-based outdoor apparel and accessory company that gives travelers a chance to become Wild Keeper Ambassadors and participate in earth-friendly activities and help keep the Southwest in pristine shape for the next travelers who follow. With every online purchase, guests join a community of passionate outdoor lovers – many based in Arizona - that are dedicated to cleaning up the planet.
You also can become one with nature – and be reminded about the importance of protecting our natural surroundings – at the Usery Mountain Nature Center. Located in the Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa – which has 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding – the educational center helps visitors learn more about stewardship and preservation in the area. Classes range from edible tours of the desert to scorpion hunts and weekly walks with volunteers sharing education about the flora and fauna unique to the region. Birders especially love joining the winter count and the park hosts regular birding meet ups and hikes along their desert wash trails – be on the lookout for hummingbird sightings.
The parks system is a member of the Leave No Trace initiative that provides research and education about how to enjoy the desert responsibly. Besides being a valuable resource to better understand the ecosystem and critters that call the Sonoran Desert their home, the nature center itself is an example of renewable building sustainability with 20-inch-thick masonry walls, essential skylights, solar panels, and a rooftop garden to insulate the building and reduce storm water runoff.
Travelers also can spot the true force of nature – and need to protect natural habitats for future generations – by observing wild horses on the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest and along the shoreline of Saguaro Lake in Mesa. Approximately 500 of the majestic, four-legged animals make their home in this area and have roamed the edges of the water for more than a century, delighting visitors who may happen to see them while kayaking, paddleboarding, and exploring the desert environment.
The wild horses are observed by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, a nonprofit dedicated to their preservation and ensuring the free-roaming horses remain wild and safe. Besides getting a chance to witness the rare horses as they feed and drink along the water, visitors can sponsor a rescued horse which has been injured. The best views can be enjoyed at sunrise or sunset, but use caution and watch from a distance.
Whether you clean up litter, visit farms and gardens that support community growing efforts and sustainable methods, watch wild horses frolic in the sun, buy locally made bread, or learn how critical bees are to our planet’s longevity and ability to coexist, Mesa offers visitor endless ways to create lasting travel memories that are earth friendly. We welcome you to explore and enjoy every inch of our city with environmental purpose, while making decisions that lessen the impact to our surroundings during your trip, so it remains a sustainable destination for those who follow.