Trailheads, campsites, routes, and trails on the Mount Baker National Forest have been very busy this summer. We absolutely love to see so many people enjoying the wilderness, but such high visitation can also have negative effects. Human impacts like trail widening, social trails, campsite construction, campfires, and switchback cutting are all extremely difficult to repair and often lead to further damage. Abandoned garbage and human waste pollute the fragile alpine ecosystem and are eyesores to other visitors. It's the responsibility of each and every visitor to treat our public lands with the utmost care so that all people may continue to enjoy them.
The best guidelines for your behavior on public lands are the 7 principles of Leave No Trace:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
These principles provide an excellent framework for minimizing human impacts, but to truly "leave no trace" we must understand how to apply them in various circumstances and settings. To assist with that, here are some examples of the many ways in which visitors often break these principles and the impacts they cause on Mount Baker.
Leave no trace is a state of mind. When you visit public lands, you should always be thinking about how your actions will affect the landscape and other visitors. Keep the 7 principles in mind and educate others if you see them breaking the guidelines. Click here for for more information about leave no trace on Mount Baker. Thanks for your help in protecting our wonderful mountains and forests. We can't do it without you!