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Leave no trace while enjoying outdoor activities

By Sun Advocate

Many people are using the backcountry these days. It has become quite popular to spend a day or even a few weeks in the wilderness. Because of this, there has become an increased need for people to leave as little impact as possible.
The most important suggestion is to take pictures, not souvenirs. When visiting the wilderness, anything that can be undisturbed should remain this way.
Don’t cut trees for firewood. In order to preserve the wilderness, firwood should be brought in along with camping gear.
Leave the interesting rocks in the wilderness, don’t take them home as souvenirs.
The wilderness belongs to the animals and humans are only visitor there. Therefore, humans must respect this home.
Instead of removing things, take pictures of it. That way the land will remain unharmed and will be the same for the next person to enjoy.
Often times, outdoorsmen leave evidence of being in the wilderness. This can be avoided by participating in the old saying, pack it in, pack it out.
If it can be packed in, it can be packed out. Don’t throw food wrappers or anything else away. Carrying food wrappers and empty pop cans is not any extra weight in a pack. Also, pack out as much trash as can be found on the trail and at camp as is practical. Leave the wilderness in better condition than it was found.
Use existing restrooms whenever possible, when not available, dig a cathole. All catholes should be at least 200 feet from any water source. Water sources include streams, lakes, gullies, and springs.
If bathing is a must, then soap must not be used, even if it is biodegradable. Generally, it is alright to bathe in a stream, but be sure not to use it as a toilet.
As for washing dishes, also avoid using any soap. A way that works well is to boil water in a pot, and use the hot water to sterilize the dishes after food crumbs are wiped off. If a pot that needs to be washed, simply boil water in it, and then scrape all food out of it. Rinse it out, then let it dry.
With extreme drought conditions continuing to raise, fire is an issue which all outdoor visitors must use caution when using. If lighting a fire can be avoided, do so.
By avoiding campfires, animals may roam around the area. With a fire, it is less likely that wildlife will approach an area.
If cooking, use only backpacking stoves that do not require any natural fuels. Buy the most fuel effecient one that can be found, as this will also cut down on pollutants put out into the atmoshpere.
Fire restrictions may apply in certain wilderness areas. Use caution and make sure that no restrictions are in effect before lighting a fire.
The wilderness may also be harmed with simple acts. Many are not aware of the fact that when walking on trails, evidence is left in the form of footprints. The size of the lugs on the soles of shoes directly affects the impact that is made to trails.
Simply put, bare feet leave the least trace possible. The print left by a bare footprint is far less than that left by any type of footwear. Many people are somewhat aghast at the thought of going barefoot outside of their own homes. Feet can, however, become accustomed to all sorts of surfaces.
It is not necessary to travel bare foot however. By wearing the lightest boots possible, less damage to the land will be made. If heavy hiking boots are not necessary, don’t wear them.
When choosing a campsite, always choose the sight that will have the least impact. When possible, camp on a rock( a large flat one), on dirt, or on sand. These places are very hard to damage in any way. Never camp in a meadow, or on forest duff( unless you cannot avoid doing so), these areas show damage much easier than others.
While camping use caution in order to leave the area as prestine as possible. Do so by camping as far from other people possible. By doing so, noise can be avoided from nearby camps.
Bears can also be avoided by camping away from others. Bears know where people usually camp, and frequent those areas to get food.
There are several ways to avoid bears in a campsite. The first is to avoid cooking near the campsite. This reduces odors that will attract bears to the food.
Camp above tree lines when possible. There are usually few bears up there, because there is almost no naturally occuring food there.
By preparing in advance for outdoor adventures, humans can ensure that the wilderness will remain unharmed. This will benifit all who visit the wilderness in years to come.

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