Denali-National-Park

Denali National Park

The rewards of hiking in Denali are many: spectacular vistas, encounters with wildlife, and the experience of being alone in wilderness. However, Denali has practically no trails. Most hiking is cross-country. Be prepared for uneven terrain, streams and brush. The different Denali terrains present distinct challenges, as well as distinct fascinations.

The taiga forest, found in the lower elevation areas, consists of primarily spruce trees, willow and other brush. This dense cover may impede hiking, but the struggle is often worth it for the vistas possible when you break through to the higher tundra areas.

The front country of Denali offers trails through the taiga forest making it easier to travel in this scenic area. The taiga forest is home to many different plants and animals including moose, bear, red squirrels, woodpeckers, and many varieties of berries.

Denali-Highway-wildlife

The Denali Highway – Wildlife Watching and Birding

Denali-Highway-wildlifeThe alpine tundra and lake districts are home to a fabulous diversity of wildlife. Moose, black and grizzly bears, and caribou roam the open spaces and forests. Bald eagles, gyrfalcons and long-tailed jaegers circle overhead. Trumpeter swans, ptarmigan, loons and more birdlife are common.

The BLM, which administers the highway, recommends several spots for wildlife watching. Mud Lake just out of Paxson is a clear shallow lake frequented by trumpeter swans, bald eagles, and moose. Sockeye salmon can be seen in the waters. Fiftymile Lake is another good place for spotting swans, bald eagles and moose, along with grizzly, caribou and beaver. Caribou migrate through an area west of the Susitna River.

William-B-Bankhead-National-Forest

William B. Bankhead National Forest

William-B-Bankhead-National-ForestOne of the Deep South’s finest pockets of deep woods, Alabama’s William B. Bankhead National Forest has a potential for adventure and natural beauty you’d expect of a bigger, wilder place. The forest’s 180,000 acres encompass pine-clad and hardwood forest, burbling streams, deep gorges, and an arkful of wildlife. Bankhead is part of the Warrior Mountains, the western terminus of the Appalachian Mountains; before Europeans arrived, the forests here had been hunted for some 12,000 years by the Choctaw and Cherokee peoples.

backcountry-hiking

Concentrate Impacts in High-Use Areas

backcountry-hikingConcentrating use in popular or high-use areas is a simple and effective method to reduce the impact of a backcountry visit. Main travel corridors and popular destinations usually have well-established trails and campsites. Continued use causes little additional impact to these features although overcrowding diminishes the overall experience for some.

Respect other visitors’ need for solitude. When traveling in the backcountry, care is required to minimize disturbance of other visitors. The feeling of solitude is enhanced when contacts are infrequent, party size is small and behavior is unobtrusive.

outdoor-visitors

Reduce your impact on other visitors

outdoor-visitorsReduce your impact on other visitors. Being friendly and outgoing toward other hikers and campers is a natural trait of backcountry visitors, but every visitor has a desired level of socialization or solitude. Around shelters or designated camp sites, share news of the day’s events with other groups, and enjoy the camaraderie fostered by a dry spot in a rainstorm, but remember to be respectful of others’ needs for cooking and sleeping space, and for a good night’s sleep.

Portable radios and tape players often disturb other visitors and wildlife. Technological “conveniences” such as cellular phones, GPS devices, etc. harms the integrity of the wilderness experience for many people. If you plan on using such items, do so unobtrusively and consider whether they contribute to the backcountry experience you are seeking, or instead cause you to miss elements of it.

woodpecker

Leave What You Find

Historical and archeological sites:

woodpeckerRemnants of the past can be found on national, state, and private lands. Enjoy and learn from these sites, but remember that some of these are sacred to Native Americans, or are important cultural reminders of our heritage. Respect these sites and treasures. Help pre serve the past for the future: do not disturb historical and archeological sites or remove any objects from them. This is prohibited by federal law. Do not camp in or near these special features as this can disturb valuable information that can never be reclaimed.

Protecting wildlife and plants:
Good hunters and naturalists learn by quiet observation. They do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a “better look.” Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. If you’re hunting, know your game and take only safe, good shots.

Two great examples of how anglers working together can produce noble achievements

1. The Ban the Nets project, which virtually eliminated commercial fishing in Florida, is a great example of how angling groups and individuals can work together. The Save Our Sealife committee conducted a very effective petition drive on November. 10, 1992 by collecting over 200,000 signatures outside the poling sites in Florida. This might be the most successful one-day petition effort ever in America. Florida Sportsman and its publisher Karl Wickstrom were important players in this fight.

Ban the Nets had tremendous assistance from many outdoor writers, numerous associations and federations including Florida Conservation Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Tropical Audubon Society of Miami, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and others. The result: An overwhelming victory on November 8, 1994, when 72 percent of the people voted to ban the nets. The formula for success includes sportsmen, magazines, outdoor writers, grass roots campaigning and associations working together.