Connect with nature like never before and follow the 6 principles to help preserve the natural beauty of our local community and the state. Currituck Outer Banks is partnering with Visit NC, the Outdoor NC Recreation Industry and Leave No Trace in this environmental initiative and we hope you will join us!

So how can you get involved? As a start, no matter where you go in our community or throughout the state of NC, pledge today to follow the 6 principles.

Take the Pledge

Plan Ahead And Prepare

  • Be Attentive to weather conditions. Weather at the coast can change rapidly. Summer storms roll in quickly - if you see dark clouds, assume there is lightning and leave the water.
  • Know the tide schedules, check the RIP current reports and learn to identify them, be mindful of shorebreak, and watch for flags at the beach signifying water conditions (red flags mean no swimming).
  • Always swim near a lifeguard, if possible. Pack food, water and the right clothes to protect you from the elements.
  • Remember to park only in designated parking areas. If that area is full, drive to another one.

Stick to the Trails

  • Stick to designated trails to and from the beach or water, the durable surfaces on the beach such as sand, gravel and bare rock. Coastal grass is fragile and can easily be impacted by visitors traveling across them.
  • In coastal ecosystems, there can be entire marine microbiomes beneath your feet! Avoid rocks covered in barnacles, seaweed and other sensitive areas as much as possible.

Trash Your Trash

  • Trash can appear in many ways. We can all do our part by picking up our trash and food scraps and taking them with us, but also consider taking an extra bag to pick up anything along the way. It is helpful for everyone, especially the animals that often ingest trash after mistaking it for food.
  • Don’t forget to pack out your pet’s waste (TAKE IT WITH YOU), as it contains harmful bacteria that can get into water sources and cause other animals, or even humans, to be sick.
  • Pack it in and pack it out. Take your umbrellas, tents, chairs and other personal items off the beach at night for both the safety of wildlife and so they don’t wash into the ocean.

Leave It As You Find It

  • Our rivers, sounds and ocean are home to many sensitive habitats for wildlife and plants, some of which are endangered. Instead of gathering plants, moving rocks, and taking shells and sand dollars – take a picture instead.
  • Fill in sand holes and keep flashlights and outdoor house lights off so they are not a hazard to nesting sea turtles.

Be Considerate Of Others and Share The Outdoors

  • People have a range of skill levels and different ideas about how to enjoy the outdoors. Respect others so NC’s natural spaces will be welcoming and relaxing for all.
  • Be mindful of your noise level so others can listen to nature. Remember sound travels better over water and winds can carry your sounds in other directions.

Keep Wildlife Wild

  • The NC coast is full of wildlife from black bears, wild mustang horses, and different species of birds and marine life. All wildlife should be treated with respect and observed from a distance, so you don’t cause undue stress and harm.
  • Never feed wild animals, including seagulls. It alters their natural behavior and puts them, and you, at risk. When in bear country, always be sure to properly store food, trash and any smellables (like lip balm and deodorant) to prevent unwanted encounters.
  • When fishing, remember to clean up all lines, hooks and bait so wildlife doesn’t get hurt or tangled in it.
  • Remain at least 50 feet away from the wild horses and please do not feed them. Feeding wild horses is against the law, as apples and other foods can be toxic or choking hazards.

Get the Kids Involved

  • Stop by our Currituck Welcome Center, Corolla Visitor Center, Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education or participating vacation rental companies to receive a free kid activity book that includes activities around the 6 principles above. They too can do their part to Make It Your Nature.
  • For a free kid’s activity book please complete the online form to take the pledge and provide your online submission receipt or email verification to one of the staff members.

Want to get future information about Make It Your Nature, and additional information about the Currituck Outer Banks?

Fill out the form below.

Thank you for your interest in the Currituck Outer Banks. By filling out and submitting the form below (U.S. and Canadian addresses only), you consent to allow the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism to collect your information, and to receive email, text and/or print mail communication from the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email ([email protected]) or phone (877-287-7488) with any specific questions you might have during your planning process. We’d love to hear from you!

Make It Your Nature NewslettersVisitor Guide