Minimizing Our Impact on the Wilderness

The climbing season is in full swing and Mount Baker is seeing a high number of visitors. It is a good time to discuss methods which overnight visitors can use to lessen their impact on the fragile alpine environment. We all must do our part to keep the wilderness pristine so that future visitors can enjoy it. That includes packing out all garbage and human waste using blue bags or another system. Blue bags are available for free from the USFS Service Centers in Glacier and Sedro Woolley, WA. Use the blue bags to collect your poop and garbage and carry it down with you. Waste will not biodegrade in the snow or in high alpine environments. Please practice strict Leave No Trace principles. For an in-depth online course about Leave No Trace, click here.

These photos show what the climbing rangers sometimes find around camp and on the glacier.

None of us like to see this stuff in an otherwise beautiful and clean place. Treat the mountain as you would treat your home. We are all owners of this place and we are all responsible for taking care of it.

An additional piece of gear that the rangers don't leave home without and strongly encourage others to bring along is a simple strainer that is used to remove small pieces of food from your grey (dish or wash) water. By straining your grey water you can prevent fragments of food from being dispersed in and around camping areas. This in turn will decrease the activity of small critters, as well as the frequency and aggressiveness of their nightly visits. Strainers, like the one pictured here, should not cost more than five to ten dollars and will do a great job catching food particles. The remainder of the scraps in your strainer then get put into your garbage rather than into the delicate alpine ecosystem. Practicing methods such as this one can go a long way towards preserving the health of Mount Baker's wilderness.