What do you think about Leave No Trace? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-28-2006   #1
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 659
What do you think about Leave No Trace?

Good, bad, indifferent, relevant, irrelevant, necessary, unnecessary?


Just curious...

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Old 11-28-2006   #2
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
I think it's a good idea. It seems that in the boating community, these good practices are generally common knowledge and further education is unnecessary. We rarely achieve 100% traceless passage through the wilderness but we do a good job of minimizing our impact and being smart about what "leave no trace" practices are applicable to certain situations. Boaters tend to put safety first very closely followed by traceless passage because we want the beauty of our surroundings to be there the next time we return to a run. But I think that the public at large lacks the knowledge and concern to preserve our planet's wild places. Therefore, I think the program is a good one and I personally have noticed the difference it has made in a number of situations.

My question is: where does cleaning wood in a run fall into the leave no trace ideology? We are clearly altering a wilderness environment in a very obvious way when we clean a run. We are most definately "leaving a trace." We say that we are doing this for safety reasons and doing so allows us to recreate safely in the outdoors. A strict leave no trace policy would certainly say you shouldn't alter the natural habitat of a river ecosystem by moving wood and hazards.

Don't get me wrong, though. I am a big fan of putting in the work to get the goods on a river, whether it's making a common run safer from recent woodfall or cleaning out a remote new run that's log-choked. I just have these two conflicting philosophies (1. I'm a paddler. 2. Keep the wilderness wild by leaving no trace.) that I have not yet been able to reconcile. What do you guys think?

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Old 11-28-2006   #3
Vail, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 334
the "Leave no trace" concept is an impossible one. But, I do believe that minimal impact is something everyone who enjoys nature needs to take into consideration. For example, if the trail say "do not stray from trail" then don't, plain and simple. There are people out there who are much more knowledgable in what impact and to what extent are caused by our actions in "prisitine" places who are giving the government these suggestion. Scientists have dedicated their lives to such things, we should take them seriously. IMO.
I am of the belief that if you don't need to alter or impact anything then don't. You don't need to leave anything behind, pack it out. You don't need to take anything with you accept what you brought.
Hopefully most people believe in minimal impact in order for these "wild" places to maintain for much longer after we are gone.


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Old 11-28-2006   #4
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,819
Definitely worthwhile and necessary. All you have to do is compare one of the campsites on a run like Westwater, Lodore or Deso-Gray with Fish Ford or just about any riverside campsite that has automobile access to see the value of LNT. Even at campsites that are occupied nightly like Little D, there's still (relatively) very minimal impact other than soil compaction.

While its "theoretically impossible" to leave no trace, I sure appreciate that folks try hard and succeed as much as they do. Last summer my uncle from Nashville was floored with how clean the campsites on the Upper C and Ark were, especially considering that they're used several times a week.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 11-28-2006   #5
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 173
LNT is essential for maintaining the backcountry in a state of wilderness. I do not know the amount of pounds of trash that I have hauled out of the Great Smoky Mtns National Park.

LNT education is having a positive effect on the campsites that I maintain via the VIP program, the trash problem is much reduced over the last 8 years.

IN GSMNP fires are still allowed, I wish they would do away with them all together: People throw things into fire rings that do not burn. Once was rehabbing a fire ring and sliced into a full packet of ramen noodles.

Pay attention hippies, the old fellow in the Khaki Volunteer shirt might be a neocon. Don't litter.
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