How to Leave No Footprint When You Camp in the Wild
No matter where you go in North America, you are likely to see trash and evidence of people. No matter how remote of an area, or how off the beaten path you think you are, evidence of our being there is usually evident. When we go camping, the wild should be left much the way we found it. In fact, some feel that it should be left exactly as we found it though that is not always a possibility. What we can do, however, is minimize our impact on the environment as we rough it. This is calling leaving no footprint, or leaving no trace. Here are some important notes to consider when you go camping:
If you are visiting the woods and are not in survival mode, remember to leave everything as is. Don’t cut trees, plants and the like without purpose. Don’t dig up things for the sake of digging or entertainment. Destroying our natural environment is wholly unnecessary in this instance.
Try to stick closely to the paths and clearings if you can. Camping and clearing brush is sometimes necessary, but make sure you keep it to a minimum. The undergrowth is there for a reason and it plays a part in the natural order and ecology of things. Reduce your footprint by using areas that are already clear.
Bury your personal waste at least a half foot deep in the ground. There is enough waste in the camping areas from animals. The last thing you want is to go tripping into your own mess. There are many reasons other than mess too. Animals are much more likely to come around and want to know who is in their area if you leave fresh dung around. Bears, anyone?
Be very selective about how and where you make fire. Fire can destroy in a way that is beyond compare. Make sure you use fire areas that are already in place if possible, but otherwise clear an area out. Make sure the fire is not going to reach surrounding vegetation or overhanging trees. Sparks fly much farther than you realize, so keep that in mind. Always extinguish your fires completely before abandoning them. Forest fires are a huge problem in this country.
Try your best to keep the noise levels to a minimum. Camping is supposed to be a tranquil experience that brings you closer to the earth and nature. Screaming and yelling is not exactly going to endear you to the local wildlife and fellow campers won’t care for it either. Make sure you are very careful to keep the noise reasonable.
Camping is not always going to be perfect and you may have to do things on occasion to survive. If you can enter the woods and then leave them without changing anything, you should. This will keep the woods the woods and give you a wonderful place to return to again and again.