The Leave No Trace foundation is a national organization that helps to protect the land, flora, and fauna, by teaching people to be responsible when they get outdoors. One of their major tools is a set of seven principles (not laws) that help people to make better decisions in the outdoors.
The first of these, I covered last week – Plan ahead and prepare.
The second of the seven LNT principles is, “Travel and camp on durable surfaces.”
What counts as a durable surface?
- established trails and campsites
- dry grasses
When you are traveling on an established trail, walk single-file in the middle of the trail to concentrate your impacts on the most durable surfaces.
If you come to a mudhole, walk straight through it instead of around it, because if you walk around it, you can widen it and it might eventually become a wash or an erosion problem.
When traveling mountain trails, do not cut switchbacks.
What is not a durable surface? Any pristine environment, like –
- grasslands – where you might trample plants or create erosion problems
- riversides – where you can more easily pollute waterways and create erosion problems
- live coral
If you do have to walk through a non-durable environment, disperse your group so that you do not concentrate your impacts and create a new trail.