This last summer I spent a lot of time in the backcountry backpacking to fill my soul with the sweetness of nature. There is nothing like spending weeks at a time bathing in the pureness of natures energy. Unfortunately, as I traveled along I was so saddened by the mess that people left behind. Trash and toilet paper was everywhere. While hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail in the middle of pristine country I followed piles of toilet paper. A lot of the toilet paper was from women peeing and just leaving it behind. Really??? It’s not difficult to pick up your toilet paper and carry it out! I know that it’s not hard because because I do it every year and it is not an inconvenience at all. My husband Scott Williamson who holds many records on the Pacific Crest Trail shares with me every year how upset he is by the amount of trash and toilet paper left behind. This year he was also upset by how many fires rings that were left behind. He even found one in the middle of the trail with firewood stacked beside it. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t just limited to the PCT – but can be found in the front-country, at the lake, on the river, etc.
The reason that I bring this up on my healing blog is because nature is the only place in this world where you can fill your cup with pure bliss energy. Mother Earth is in need of healing. Every little step that we take to be present around her healing is so very important. It saddens me to see that many people who obviously are enjoying being in her presence and are benefiting from her greatness do not take care of her and nurture her in return.
I hope to inspire people whom I love, people whom I know and people who I don’t even know at all to be aware of your choices in the backcountry. Please go the extra distance to love our Mother Earth and help keep our sacred places sacred for generations to come. Take the time before you go to educate yourself about the proper way to play in the backcountry. It is up to us to make a change and return our gratitude to Mother Earth with complete integrity. Below you can find some valuable Leave No Trace information and a link to where you can learn more. Please forward this link to people you know and lets increase our awareness and create positive change in our backcountry!
PLEASE Help Keep Our Sacred Places Sacred!!! Namaste – Michelle
Leave No Trace is a national and international program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with the skills needed to reduce their impacts while recreating. It’s actually a non-profit organization (www.lnt.org) that partners with agencies like the US Forest Service and State Parks in developing standardized protocols for Leave No Trace environmental ethics. The guidelines are a ethics – once described to me as what you would do if no one was looking – that are different for each person. That’s why Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical program, not as a set of rules and regulations. And whether you fly-fish, backpack, car-camp, or hunt – there are a set of Leave No Trace ethics for different recreational activities. Leave No Trace ethics also have been developed for different ecosystems – so if you’re in the desert – there’s a few different guidelines to follow than if you were in the high Sierra.
The seven principles of Leave No Trace are:
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