Some experienced backcountry hikers and backpackers may already practice the Leave No Trace principles as part of their backpacking culture, but you would be surprised at home many visitors to our Nations state parks and protected lands, leave thousands of traces each year. Historically it’s the “Car Campers” who have the most bad habits to overcome when caring for our wilderness. So let’s review some of the Leave No Trace Principles!
2. Travel and Camp on durable surfaces – Choose the Right Path!
Durable surfaces include rock, gavel, sand, bare soil, most grasses, and existing trails within campsites. Areas not durable – aquatic areas, marsh, fragile plants, muddy areas, or spring melt.
On some backcountry trips you may not find a popular campsite with well worn path. Some backcountry trips require you to make your own way. When that happens do you know the right path to choose? The goal of dedicated backcountry backpackers and hikers is to leave as little trace of their visit as possible. How will you make that a reality?
When hiking on established trails:
Attempt as much as possible to hike in single file to avoid widening trails. Keep them narrow to reduce the human imprint on the wilderness. Avoid shortcuts that wear new paths.
Take breaks off the trail to preserve the serenity for other hikers, The bottom line to keep in mind is “walk softly on the Land”.
When hiking off trail:
Spread out with your hiking buddies to avoid making new paths that kill vegetation, and can lead to erosion. The likelihood of permanent damage increases when more people hike the same path, so limit that damage by letting each back country hiker and backpacker go their own route. Don’t mark your path. Pay close attention to where you place your feet and step lightly on the land.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly – Trash your Trash!
This principle starts at home. Think before you pack. Whatever you Pack In must be Packed Out. plan meals, to reduce the left over food. Never leave your leftover food for wildlife! All toilet paper and hygiene products must be removed and human waste properly disposed in catholes dug to 8 inches depth and at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. To wash yourself and your dishes use biodegradable soap air baking soda, and do it 200 feet from water sources.
Preserving our Nation’s land is the only way to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy it! When you’re packing up for your next backcountry trip, call the experts at Outdoors Geek! Let us help you plan your off trail trip. We can make suggestions on the best hear to help you minimize the weight in your pack and the imprint on the land. We specialize in only the best gear tomato every outdoor experience a positive one. The best rental camping gear anywhere in Colorado and Nationwide is found right here at Geek headquarters.