As we all gear up for National Trails Day next weekend, it’s always a good idea to pause and consider the ways we leave trails of our own while out hiking. Trail deterioration is one of the many issues for which National Trails Day is intended to raise awareness. Wilderness Press author and Yosemite National Park expert Jeffrey Schaffer provides some easy steps for having a highly enjoyable but still low-impact adventure into the wild:
- STAY ON THE TRAIL: Seems simple, but deviation from established trails is not only commonplace, but mighty tempting for the adventurous type.
- STAY QUIET: Avoid traveling in large groups, and avoid making excessive noise.
- WATCH FOR HORSES: Yield the right-of-way to equestrians: step off the trail, downhill.
- SMART CAMP: Set up camp a minimum of 100 ft. from any water source, and on exposed dirt or rock surfaces (never on vegetation).
- BURN. DON’T CUT: Use only downed wood for fires, and use only existing fire rings. And, of course, always fully extinguish a fire before leaving it.
- BURY MINDFULLY: Bury waste 6 in. deep, and at least 100 ft. from a trail and 500 ft. from water sources.
- PACK OUT TOILET PAPER: or burn it in areas where fires are permissible.
- SMART COOK: Cook only enough food for single meal, to avoid disposing of leftovers.
- SMART WASH: Wash and rinse dishes, clothing, and yourself at least 100 ft. from water source; never wash in lakes or streams.