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865 Minimum Impact Usage 2013-10-04

Charred cans in a fire ring

Anyone who has spent much time in the outdoors has seen the evidence of those who have passed that way before. Whether it is the hikers tracks or the reminiscences of their camps, it is easy to see the marks of mankind. In fact, it is impossible for man to venture into the wilds without leaving evidence that they were there.

The problems that face the modern adventurer are the increases in population and number of adventurers. Skilled or unskilled backcountry travelers hit the trails, rivers, backroads, etc in increasing numbers. There impact is felt. A couple of examples from areas we are very familiar with ...

In the Tetons hiking to Garnett Canyon or Amphitheater Lake, the trail crosses an upper meadow with long switchbacks. Just off the trail at each switchback is a Poo Corner. The cute little bear, Winnie the Pooh, is not there, instead it is a I-wish-they'd-at-least-dug-a-hole - bathroom stop! How disgusting.

On Longs Peak in RMNP, Colorado, when stopping in the Boulderfield to use the privies this summer, I opened the door and saw another disgusting mess. Poo was smeared everywhere. The facility was basically unusable. We later found that the facility had two problems. 1) The privies are over used (beyond the system's capabilities). 2) Hikers leave the toilet seats open and the cute little marmots crawl into the tanks and then make a mess crawling out.

The Tetons and Rocky Mountain are two very popular National Parks. The problems in both examples were caused by users just needing to go to the bathroom, that's all. In the days of yore, Native Americans were probably not concerned about going in the woods. Their numbers were few and their lives were organic. But with the increases in population, modern man cannot use the limited wilderness areas like a Native American, Daniel Boone, or even Teddy Roosevelt. The time for conquering has passed. It is now time for wilderness users to learn to live and travel using minimum impact practices or face further restrictions.

Follow along over the next few Fridays, as we introduce a new minimum impact usage project and try to cram it into the Journal. It should be a fun adventure!

Happy Minimum Impact trails

Minimum Impact Usage - intro

Minimum Impact Usage - Wilderness Responsibility

Minimum Impact Usage - Wilderness Responsibility - Respect

Minimum Impact Usage - Wilderness Responsibility - Gracious

Minimum Impact Usage - Wilderness Responsibility - Avoiding Damage

Minimum Impact Usage - Wilderness Responsibility - House Rules

Minimum Impact Usage - Actions

Minimum Impact Usage - Actions - Knowledge

Minimum Impact Usage - Actions - Planning

Minimum Impact Usage - Actions - Giving Back

Minimum Impact Usage - Actions - Awareness and Prevention


Other links

Wilderness Education Association

Leave No Trace



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