New Guidelines Help Media Creators And Artists Leave A Positive Impact On The Outdoors

Outdoors coalition, Recreate Responsibly, asks creators to “take the pledge”

Recreate Responsibly, the rapidly growing coalition to promote responsible use of the outdoors, has launched #CreateResponsibly. These new guidelines are designed to help media creators and artists leave a positive impact on areas in which they create content such as film, photography or other mediums; employ greener production practices; and inspire audiences to safely and responsibly enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.

“Greening production practices are critical for addressing climate change and our carbon footprints,” said entertainment advisor Jeffrey Abramson. “But what about our literal footprints? When we utilize a location to create and share our art or message, we have a shared responsibility to one another, future generations and the land itself along with its inhabitants.”

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Creators are being asked to take a pledge agreeing to follow these guidelines for their productions at recreateresponsibly.org/createresponsiblypledge. Influencers, content creators, artists and productions who take the pledge and adopt these tenets will become a part of the growing #CreateResponsibly community. As a member of this community, creators will receive a badge from Recreate Responsibly to include in their content, websites, portfolios, end credits and promotional materials. The aim of the freshly launched initiative, profiled in the Outside Business Journal, is to develop a community of creators who harness the power of their resources to amplify responsible content creation practices and a shared stewardship ethos.

The guidelines were created by coalition members from across the film industry, social media influencers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and other government agencies to provide simple, easy-to-follow principles that creators can follow.

The #CreateResponsibly guidelines are:

Know Before You Go. Research and contact the location well in advance.

  • Permits may be required and take time to process.
  • Check for weather and hazards prior to arrival.
  • Talk to land managers and local film/tourism commissions.
  • Consider “under-visited” locations to limit your impact.

Plan and Prepare. The outdoors can be a high-risk environment with conditions that quickly change.

  • Consider terrain and arrange adequate transportation.
  • Know and understand drone “no fly zones.”
  • Try to film near your vehicle(s).
  • Bring plenty of water and safety equipment.

Respect Others. Minimize impact to other users.

  • Avoid blocking trails, vistas or byways.
  • Give space to people recreating or working.
  • Think about how your presence impacts the space.
  • Try to blend in with the landscape if possible.

Leave No Trace. Respect the land, water, wildlife and Native and local communities.

  • Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.
  • Always avoid sensitive habitats.
  • Consider the impact of disclosing specific locations.
  • Use your art to educate; showcase responsible use.

Build an Inclusive Outdoors. Inspire others to see themselves in that space. Historically, access to the outdoors has been inequitable—we can change that.

  • Consider the historic inhabitants of the land.
  • Showcase all backgrounds and abilities.
  • Embrace different meanings of “outdoors.”
  • Celebrate the many ways people connect with nature.

Make it Better. Inspire respect and caring for outdoor spaces.

  • Depict responsible recreation in action.
  • Provide characters with attributes that tie work, play or culture to the outdoors.
  • Create behind the scenes content to celebrate your backdrop.
  • Utilize sustainable practices.

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“As creators, we wanted to ensure that these guidelines weren’t just effective, but that they also didn’t increase budgets or workloads for people who want to film in the outdoors,” said Tom Putnam, Director and Producer of Debra Messing and David Cross’ latest film, The Dark Divide. “These principles are simple enough that anyone can follow them, from studio feature films to someone creating a TikTok video.”

“From full-time road-trippers to professional athletes, content creators in the outdoors have a responsibility to lead by example and help elevate an outdoor culture of stewardship and ethical practices,” said Katie Boué, president of Outdoor Advocacy Project. “Both how we create content and the stories we tell through that content are opportunities to make the outdoors better.”

Dusty Vaughn, of the U.S. Forest Service, said “As a federal land management agency, we love how people share their experiences and connections to the outdoors, especially when they follow practices that reduce the impact to others and the land while creating an inclusive experience. Content creators have the ability to reach more audiences and inspire all of us to work together as stewards of these landscapes.”

Since then, the group has grown into a diverse, international community of nearly 2,000 businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, outdoor media and influential voices. The coalition’s common ground is a shared love of the outdoors, a desire to help everyone experience the benefits of nature and a belief that by sharing best practices, people can help keep our parks, trails and public lands safe and accessible.

Media assets and resources are available in English and Spanish at RecreateResponsibly.org. Follow #CreateResponsibly on social media to keep up with the movement.

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