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Hikers from every generation must all take part in the responsibility of keeping the wild and all trails in good condition. That way, future generations of avid backpackers and hikers will still be able to enjoy the wonderful trails that hikers of today can experience.
Each hiker should take up his or her own code of conduct for the wild and try to take it by heart. The instructions mentioned below are varieties of typically agreed-upon routines that were used to accomplish outdoor activities with the smallest impact.
On the Trail
- Walk on the trail. It sounds so simple but by walking just off the trail, you are ruining natural vegetation.
- Do not throw your garbage on the ground. Everything that has been brought with you, should taken back. In fact, on mountainous terrain, it usually takes a lot of years for supposedly biodegradable products to decompose.
- Establish “Right of Way.” Provide them to ascending hikers, animals and any vehicles.
- Bring your own backpacking tent, sleeping bags, food and drinking water. Unless you hike from hut to hut.
Bringing Your Dog to the Trail
Check the regulations regarding hiking with dogs before you leave your home. Are dogs allowed, do they have to be leashed?
Always keep watch over your dog, especially if you are traversing unfamiliar territory in the wild. At home, your dog might be an endearing, well-behaved and properly-trained pet but outside, especially in the woodlands, their reactions to things might be different.
Dogs are quite often alien to the backcountry and their apperance and barking sound can be strange to wild animals living there. It can be frightening and intimidating to forest species. Dogs that are unbridled and able to walk before their master will try to safeguard their master from approaching hikers and it may go over the undergrowth and frighten animals holed up in there.
Keep an eye on your dog and any hikers nearby. Take special precausions when you approach wildstock since they can act strangly to your dog. There are a few different opinions but many advice not to leash your dog around wildstock (especially cows) since if you do leash your dog, you can be seen as one part with the dog and a cow might attack you. There has been numerous occassions of these kinds of attacks so be careful. When your dog is not leashed, and the cow will attack your dog, your dogs will be fast enough to escape anyway. Of course it’s better to avoid any encounter and make a wide turn around any wildstock you come across.
Pay Attention to Water Areas
- Make sure that you camp out at least 200 feet away from bodies of water like lakes, streams or rivers. This is to ensure campers will reduce the risks of water pollution.
- Do not relieve yourself in within the vicinity of the lakes, streams or rivers.
- If you are fishing, do not throw the fish’s innards in the water.
- If you have to wash yourself or clean used utensils and cooking equipment, make sure that you are doing it at a sensible distance away from sources of fresh water.
- Take care not to throw soap suds into fresh water.
Choosing a Camping Location
During overnight or multiple days hiking trips, you have to make sure that you follow these easy camping location tips. Where to set up your backpacking tent and other precautions to take:
- As mentioned before, you should choose a camping location that is located 200 feet away from a water source.
- Respect appointed no-use/low-use spots most particularly areas where re-vegetation procedures are being done.
- Set up camp on emptied sandy areas or on terrain that is covered with supple humus. Do not camp out on vulnerable high-altitude meadow terrain.
- Do not set up camp on steep ridges that are unprotected to harsh weather conditions. It can be dangerous because of frequent lightning, blustery winds and extreme temperatures. Establish a camping location for your tent on spots that are shielded by nearby trees, brush growth or rocks.
- In the process of levelling your sleeping site, handle everything in moderation. Do not set out procedures that you cannot patch up later. Gather sticks and stones then smooth out the area lightly, without pulling out any sort of vegetation.
- Stop yourself from breaking up earth.
Protecting Your Edibles
It’s well-known that animals in the wild more often than not scavenge hikers’ food storage. That is why you should know how to pack your food properly. Take special precautions when you’re hiking in bear territory.
- Suspend your food supply distances above the ground by means of a good method.
- You can also use a bear-proof container to keep your food protected.
- Keep your edibles away from your sleeping area. That way, you will stay safe in case animals come foraging. In wilderness areas where bears are common, it is always recommended that one must cook, eat and pack the food at least 200 feet away from his or her sleeping quarters.
Preparing a Fire
If an open campfire is not forbidden by the National Park or local council, you should take preparations for your campfire.
- Make use of dead or expiring trees. Do not ever use branches, anything from live trees.
- Use accessible fire rings if you can.
- Keep in mind not to leave the fire without any supervision. Upon leaving the camp location, be certain that the fire is put out completely.
- Do not dump garbage in the fire ring or pit.
- Make sure that you only produce smaller fires especially in places that are considered safe.
- Be considerate of other people close by since smoke coming from wood can be unpleasant.
- As mentioned earlier, make sure that you do not throw soap suds into fresh water source. If you want to take a bath, bring along some biodegradable soap and get a container of water for rinsing. Make sure that you do this at least 200 feet away from the source of water.
A tiny amount of biodegradable soap thrown on the earth is alright but it takes longer for the stuff to break down in water. In addition, another hiker might need to make use of that water resource after you abandon the site. Other people might be using that source of water for cooking procedures or getting drinking water.
- Clean the area after you leave. All sorts of refuse should be kept away. Leave the place clean for the next batch of hikers.
In general: leave the campsite the same way as you arrived! Enjoy backcountry hiking but please make sure that generations to come, can also enjoy the same nature as we do!