I decided to take a more direct route with this week’s post, and concentrate on not necessarily urging people to let wilderness be, but to responsibly interact with nature itself. Above is a link to a very good informational page about ‘leaving no trace behind.’ One of the main reasons why we are losing a lot of the wilderness we have today is due to the irresponsible acts we do in the wilderness. Many of these are not intentional, but are done by mis/uninformed everyday people, that do not know the results of their actions. The wilderness does indeed needs to manage not just the wilderness itself, but also the humans that interact with it. Yes, it is true for more people to enjoy and respect the wilderness, we must make it available not only for the highly experienced or nature extremists, but also for the every day-to-day ‘Joes’ that wish to relax with their friends and family. Making it available for more, however, should not mean making nature have to bend it’s will or be made readily available at the expense of its health.
To do this, we must all remember we all have the same amount of responsibilities to be made reliable for to make sure the wilderness can stay healthy and be physically able to support us as we enjoy it. I don’t want to explain too much of the context of the website, as I would rather people explore it and learn more about it in detail, but I do want to highlight a few of their main points.
Most of the rules generally found on the website (and in many other nature guiding resources) follow the big idea of ‘leaving no ecological footprints behind.’ Naturally, we can’t make it look perfectly as it had before we had gotten there, but there are many steps we can take to minimize what impact we have on the nature around us:
- Plan Ahead! The more you plan ahead, the better you can be prepared for anything that can happen. Always prepare for the worst.
- Rely on more durable grounds during travel and camping. This means, staying on trails, sticking to camp areas where other have been already or specifically marked areas. (Note: If you do go off trail, stick to walking on rocks, boulders, and hard-packed dirt/ground.)
- Take out whatever waste you brought it. Don’t rely on burning the trash as this can be harmful for the air in the area, and the burnt remains could be potentially hazardous. Bring ALL trash you make out with you.
- Leave what you find. Try not to change the wilderness around you as much as possible. Don’t hack down branches, cut into trees, take out foliage or anything of the sort. This could be a potential habitat for a creature or food for another.
- Minimize campfire. Follow the local regulations and stick to burning only wood/paper. Try not to use any sort of liquid fire starter if possible. Use only the wood you bring in or can see obviously lying on the ground–don’t cut down more of the trees or branches.
- Respect the wildlife. Just as you shouldn’t change the physical woods around you in the wilderness, don’t do anything to disrupt their habitat. Be quiet or mindfully aware of your noise, not feeding animals or chasing them, disturbing their nests or resting areas, and be in FULL CONTROL of your pets AT ALL TIMES. Your pets are domesticated and don’t know how to interact with wild animals.
- But above all, have fun and be safe.