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Do Better Than Leave No Trace

Posted by davidrosslevy , 22 June 2017 · 291 views

leave no trace camping backpacking stewardship
As we head into the heart of summer many of us will be venturing out to campgrounds and backcountry destinations. I'm confident that our community (and your friends and their friends) is well-practiced and well-versed in Leave No Trace Ethics.
 
And it's because you're already applying these best practices that I both encourage and challenge you to do more. This summer, do better than Leave No Trace.
 
I recently took a two week road trip across several states and stayed in a number of campgrounds and backcountry sites. 
 
On one hand I was heartened to see that most were clean and minimally impacted by frequent use; on the other I was still dismayed by the amount of trash left around. 
 
This is not meant to be a lecture, nor a rhetorical catharsis ("why can't people just be responsible?). I don't want to determine what was legitimately accidental or a wanton act of disregard for ethics and other people.
 
Instead I simply pose that we - a community of conscientious outdoorsmen - do better than Leave No Trace by cleaning up after ourselves and others who've been less particular about the practice. 
 
It can be frustrating (I got particularly annoyed with cigarette butts), but the end result is positive - a cleaner site, a cleaner campground and a higher standard for future visitors.
 
Take a few minutes to do a 'power-clean' around the campsite - it's amazing how much improvement you and a friend can make in just a few minutes. Removing trash, disassembling an improper fire ring, re-scattering compiled materials that have no purpose, etc - it makes a big difference.
 
Most importantly, it sets the bar higher for the next visitor. It says, "This is a spot people take care of, and it's your responsibility to do the same". Setting a good example typically begets others to follow in kind. 
 
So, this summer, don't just leave it as you found it - make it better. 
 
-Dave

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