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.