Environmental Issues

Every year, the number of people who take to the wilderness to enjoy and experience nature increases dramatically. What was once an obscure pastime is quickly becoming one of our most popular recreational activities.
Barron Canyon - Photo Credit : Dan Thomsen
Our wilderness areas are rapidly filling with canoeists, backpackers, mountain bikers and rock climbers.

This increased use brings along with it increased pressure on the natural environment. When people visit the wilderness, they cause damage. Whether this damage is intentional or not is a moot point - the fact that we set up tents, light fires and walk on vegetation has an impact on the areas that we visit.
   Twenty or thirty years ago, camping books explained how to trench around tent sites, cut fresh evergreen boughs for mattresses, fashion tent poles from saplings ... our overused wilderness areas can no longer tolerate this type of abuse. The principle most of us are adopting is one of "no-trace" camping. The term does not say "minimal-trace", it says "no-trace". When we leave an area, there should be no way that anyone can tell that we have been there.

Obviously this is an ideal - there is no possible way that we can have no impact at all on a site. Nonetheless, there are many things we can do to help protect the areas we stay in.

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Thoughts ...

Most people are on the world, not in it - have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them - undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate

John Muir

In nature, one never really sees a thing for the first time until one has seen it for the fiftieth.

Joseph Wood Krutch

We are not cut off, we are not isolated points; the great currents flow through us and over us and around us and unite us to the whole of nature

John Burroughs

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

Aldo Leopold