Wildland Ethics – Avoid Places Where Impact Is Just Beginning

Most campsites can recover completely from a certain level of use. However, a threshold is eventually reached where the regenerative power of the vegetation cannot keep pace with the amount of trampling. Once this threshold is reached the site will deteriorate more rapidly with continued use. This will result in the development of an established campsite with a discernible “barren core.” The threshold for a particular site is affected by many variables, including vegetation type, soil fertility and length of growing season.

Avoid sites and trails that show slight signs of use. Campsites which show slight evidence of use are best left alone to regenerate. In places with no well established campsites, camp on a pristine site; in popular areas always select pre-existing campsites.

backpack

Wildland Ethics – Pack It In, Pack It Out

backpackPick up and pack out all of your litter. Trash and litter have no place in the backcountry. On the way out-when your pack is light try to pick up litter left by others.

Reduce litter at the source. When preparing for your trip, repackage food into reusable containers or remove any excess packaging. This simple practice lessens the chance that you will inadvertently leave litter behind.

Trash. Trash is the inorganic waste brought into the backcountry, usually from overly packaged products. It is best to pack out all your trash even if it appears burnable. Much of the “paper” pack aging used today is actually lined with non-burnable foil or plastic. Tin and aluminum cans, plastic, tin foil and glass must always be packed out.

packing

Wildland Ethics – Properly Dispose of What You Can’t Pack Out

packingAs visitors to the backcountry, we create certain types of waste which usually cannot be packed out. These include human waste and waste water from cooking and washing.

Human waste. Proper disposal of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water sources, the spread of disease and the aesthetic consequences to those who might see it. Burying human feces in the correct location and manner is the most effective practice for avoiding these problems.