Apparently it is now Hip to Hike!
August 19th, 2016 in High Camp Happenings
At Scottish Lakes High Camp this past August we have had a strong month with many visitors! It is impressive how many folk are getting into hiking and introducing their kids to the back country. It is wonderful, great for kids, great for families, helps individuals focus on what is truly important in life…nothing but good!…or is it?? We need to be aware of our impact on the back country. If we hike with this intention we can preserve the wilderness for generations to come. So since it is so “hip to hike” now, let’s also make it “hip to hold this beautiful country in high respect and be aware of how to make our way as gently as possible”.
It is our responsibility to be aware of ethical practices regarding use of the back country and also keeping ourselves safe. Below I have listed the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. Begin or enhance your knowledge of back country ethics by reviewing these and deepening your understanding of how we need to walk in this beautiful world.
Leave No Trace
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. In popular areas
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
Deposit solid human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Leave No Trace copyrighted Seven Principles, trademarked logo, associated artwork and texts are the property of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. With permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and under specific circumstances, the organization extends use of its logos and texts. Please read the following document to learn more about how you can use and incorporate the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics logo, the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and associated texts.
See you in the High Country! Christine