Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Friday, November 4, 2016

Leave No Trace

The following is by contributing writer Lee.  Here he expands on the principles of leave no trace.
Leave No Trace: How to Enjoy Backpacking Without Damaging Nature

One of the most enjoyable ways to spend time is to go backpacking. Getting out of the concrete city and back into the embrace of nature is one of the best ways to recharge your batteries and satisfy your soul. You have to be careful when you go hiking not to let the dirtiness of the city enter into the pristine wilderness. The only ethical way to hike is to leave no trace behind. You have to embrace this philosophy totally. Here is a guide on how you can enjoy backpacking without damaging nature.
Travel the Proper Paths
Although they say you should leave nothing but footprints when you go into the wilderness, even your footprints can be damaging if you are hiking in sensitive areas. You can hurt wildlife and plants alike when you go tromping through areas where you don’t belong. You can also contribute to damaging erosion if you hike off-trail.
To prevent this, you should always stay on the marked trails whenever you go hiking. Don’t cut across switchbacks or look for shortcuts that leave the marked trails in a wilderness area. If you are hiking in the backcountry, try to blaze trails that go through open areas where you will do as little damage as possible. Always keep your eyes open to avoid stepping on wildlife or sensitive plants. If you are hiking the backcountry in a group, do not travel single-file so that you keep the damage you cause to a minimum.
Campsites Are Best Found
Whenever possible, you should always try to camp at an established campsite. Camping at a brand-new campsite will always damage nature at least a little bit. If you are camping in the backcountry away from campgrounds, you should camp at least 200 feet away from water sources to avoid disturbing wildlife. Try to select a flat, level area that has as little vegetation as possible to keep your impact on the site to a minimum.
 Leave Nothing Behind
The most important thing you must do when you go hiking is to leave no garbage behind of any kind. This includes every kind of waste. If nature calls when you are in the middle of it, then you need to have a trowel with you so that you can bury your waste. You need to pack out every scrap of waste that you create when you are hiking in the wilderness. The most conscientious hikers will actively look for garbage while they are on the trail, picking up anything they spot so that they can leave the area more beautiful than they found it.
Use Fire Responsibly
Gathering around the campfire to sing songs and cook s’mores is one of the most enjoyable ways to finish up a day of hiking, but you need to enjoy your campfires responsibly. Always follow the rules of the area you are in. Sometimes, campfires will be banned because of dry conditions or hot weather. You need to respect these bans.

Always use caution when you are making fires out in the wild. Use established fire pits if they are available. If they are not, keep your campfire small to reduce its impact. Burn all your wood down to ash, and then completely douse the fire with water before you leave the area. Make sure the ashes are cool to the touch before you go.
Don’t Smoke
Cigarettes and hiking don’t mix. The smoke won’t do your lungs any favor on the trail, and you don’t want to haul around dirty old cigarette butts your entire hike. Instead, you should use e-liquid vaporizers when you are hiking. This will satisfy your cravings without damaging the environment.
Hiking is a lot of fun. You must respect nature so that generations from now your ancestors will still be able to enjoy the beauty of our world. Following these guidelines will allow you to keep your impact to a minimum when you are hiking through the great outdoors.

Lee Flynn is a freelance writer. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy living, food storage techniques, and self reliance

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