July 28, 2008

Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints

Tread Lightly, a non-profit organization striving to enhance the outdoors experience for everyone, suggests 10 ways outdoors-types can be more environmentally sensitive, especially when camping on public land. This is, perhaps, more applicable to backpacking, but it is always useful.

Use existing campsites, camp on durable surfaces and erect tents on a non-vegetated area. NO trenches around tents.

Camp at least 200 feet from water, trails, and other campsites.

If you carry it in, carry it out, including the litter of others when possible.

Repackage snacks and food in baggies to reduce weight and trash.

Use a camp stove instead of a campfire for less impact.

Observe all fire restrictions and rules, use existing fire rings, build a mound fire, or use a fire pan. Use only fallen timber, no standing trees. Remove ground litter in a 10-foot circle around fire. Avoid overhead dangers with fire.

Let wood burn to a fine ash if possible. Drown all embers until the hissing sound stops. Stir the campfire ashes and embers until everything is wet and cold to the touch. Use dirt in the absence of water.

Detergents, toothpaste and soap harm fish and other aquatic life, so wash 200 feet away from streams and lakes.

Use a portable latrine if possible, and pack out your waste. You may need to bury your waste if you don't have a portable latrine. Human waste should be placed a shallow hole six to eight inches deep, at least 200 feet from water sources, campsites, or trails. Cover and disguise the hole with natural materials, pack out your toilet paper. Check local regs and follow them.

Wash your gear and vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species when finished.

For more information, see treadlightly.com.

(c) 2008 Intelligencer Journal. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.