So last week I wrote a little about Leave No Trace, a form of outdoor conservation ethics. After writing it, I solicited opinions from an informal poll I did on another Web site’s user forum.
Just to review: Leave No Trace ethics encourage people to have as small an impact as possible when going into the backcountry. That means packing out trash, not feeding animals, sticking to established trails (or staying on areas where the least amount of environmental damage can be done) and traveling in small groups. It also encourages people to not build fires (or at least use established fire rings) and to properly dispose of human waste, either by burying it in catholes or even packing it out.
Whew, now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s how it went. I asked, “How closely do you follow Leave No Trace guidelines?”
I listed four possibilities:
1. I strictly follow LNT ethics, even to the point of packing out human waste.
2. I try to follow most LNT guidelines (not packing out any poop, though).
3. I don’t follow LNT guidelines. What I do in the backcountry is my business.
4. I don’t know what LNT guidelines are.
I posted this on 14ers.com, which has a collection of users from pretty much all over the country. It also has a good number of people with varying degrees of outdoor acumen. Fifty-six people responded. The results:
Seven people chose answer No. 1; 44 chose No. 2; 4 chose No. 3; 1 chose No. 4.
Some interesting responses…
One person asked, “Does LNT also include principles such as never cutting a switch-back (trail) and never making fires in the back country?” Answer? Yes to the first question, no to the second.
Another, further explaining his policy on waste: “As long as the bears crap in the woods, so will I, and when the bears start leaving tp behind so will I.”
Interesting point. Another, arguing some semantics, but still making a good point: “The whole concept of LNT is itself an oxymoron. Face it, the only way to Leave No (None,zero,nada,nill) Trace is to not go there at all. It would be impossible to go there and not leave a trace of some sort. It’s a LLT (Leave Little Trace) policy at best.”
So there ya go. Let the debate continue. But please do take care to leave those backcountry spaces as pristine as possible.