You wouldn't hike blindfolded - so don't hike with your eyes closed.
I was scrolling through my newsfeed on facebook before bed like I always do, when I noticed a story entitled 'How Much is Too Much' with a photo of a mountain top. Curious, I clicked on the link intrigued by the title and curious what this could have to do with hiking. How can someone have too much hiking?
As I started to read I was immediately engaged, soon after infuriated and then I realized that I had established a platform already with outdoor enthusiasts like myself - and what better information would their be to share other than how we can together protect our Planet and our beloved mountains.
Due to COVID19 , more now than ever, people are flocking to the wilderness. And while normally this would sound like a good thing (mountains vs video games), but parks and popular outdoor recreation spots are experiencing crowding, and littering due to an increase in traffic.
If you're going to hike (and I truly hope you do because it is one of the most rewarding and beautiful things in the world), please be sure to follow the 7 Principles of the Leave No Trace Foundation.
You may think you know everything you need to know, or that this is common knowledge and just want to scroll past this but according to the LNT Foundation 9/10 people are uninformed about their effects on nature.
So if you want to be a part of the change, 15.5 million people that have been reached with the message and are educated annually, read & follow the following steps.
#1 Plan Ahead & Prepare: Poor planning often results in a negative experience and damage to natural and cultural resources.
#2 Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Travel damage occurs when vegetation or organisms are trampled and are unable to be recovered. The resulting area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails.
#3 Dispose of Waste Properly: This is not just throwing away your sandwich wrapper, but also being wary of disposing human waste properly - not doing this can pollute water.
#4 Leave What You Find: This one is simple and clear, don't move/take any rocks, plants or things you may find home with you on the trail.
#5 Minimize Camp Fire Impacts: Not only could you accidentally start a forest fire, but by building a camp fire you can damage vegetation/organisms. Use a stove for cooking/warmth instead.
#6 Respect Wildlife: Observe from a far, but don't disturb wildlife so that they are scared and run away from their homes.
#7 Be Considerate of Other Visitors: While this principle should always be in effect, please be extra cautious of this during these trying times. Keep your distance, don't make excessive noise so people can enjoy the sounds of nature etc. You may be there to talk about your ex boyfriend, but some people are listening to bird calls, or even just to listen to silence :)
Thank you for anyone who took the time to read through this. If we can share these messages and inform one person at a time, we can protect and restore areas that have been effected by malpractices or hikers/campers in the mountains.
You wouldn't hike blindfolded, so please open your eyes to the impact that humans can have on the wilderness and be the change you want to see in the world.
For more information on ways you can help protect/restore the outdoors or to learn more about these principles, please visit https://lnt.org/