Outdoor Ethics - Leave No Trace
by Christine Reed - iConquer Adventures - Division Manager
As an avid hiker and leader of walking adventures, protecting the beautiful places that I visit is important to me personally and professionally. Hiking in Colorado, it is easy to see the effects of overuse of trails and the surging popularity of outdoors activities and uneducated hikers.
Last summer, on a popular trail in Boulder, I watched as a woman offered a bite of a bagel to a curious chipmunk. I see this kind of behavior often, and am absolutely baffled by it. When I told the woman not to feed the wildlife, she innocently replied that she "didn't know if it was OK." So, I provided her with a short list of reasons why it is NOT in fact OK, and several other curious hikers listened in. She was grateful and receptive for the information, which just goes to show that the problem (which seems like a lot of people not caring) is more likely a lot of people not knowing.
Thankfully, there is an amazing organization that is putting energy and resources into educating hikers and outdoors enthusiasts on how to be better stewards of the trails and parks that we love so much.
Leave No Trace has a name that says it all, but also lay it out in 7 Principles:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on the 7 Principles, visit the Leave No Trace website.
And when you're out on the trail - be conscious of what you are doing and ask yourself if your actions are leaving a trace.
When you walk off trail, it leaves a trace. If you feed an animal, you have changed the way that animal behaves, which leaves a trace. If you leave your trash behind, you are leaving a huge, tangible, trash colored trace.
If you are out enjoying a beautiful place, don't forget that someone else will be there enjoying it tomorrow and you don't want to be the one that made it less enjoyable.
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