Thanks to Tyler Tebbs, owner of Excursion Outfitters, an outdoor gear retailing company selling premium equipment, for this important guest post. He absolutely loves the outdoors, especially hiking, fishing, kayaking, climbing, and camping. As we approach the autumn, with it’s abundant opportunities to get out and hike or camp, Tebbs reminds us to care for the world – and at kigo footwear, that’s a guiding principle.
Learn to Respect Wildlife at a Young Age
As a child in elementary school, I remember Ranger Ted, a ranger at Yellowstone National Park who came and speak to us about the importance of respecting nature. He told us several stories of incidents he encountered, where wildlife had been greatly affected by the improper care of humans. He showed us a bottle of bear scat that he had discovered which contained several candy wrappers. We were all surprised that a bear had been feed human food. Ranger Ted made sure that we understood that feeding bears was not only unhealthy for the bear but also very dangerous for us as well.
My father also told me a story of an experience he had at Yellowstone National Park that helped me become more aware of the responsibilities I have to respect wildlife. When my father was a young boy, he traveled to Yellowstone with his family. He had been quite excited about going to Yellowstone in hopes of seeing wolves and bears. Upon arriving in the park he was lucky enough to see a bear. Unfortunately, that bear had a child riding on its back as the child’s parents took pictures. The bear was accustomed to being fed by humans and therefore approached humans non-aggressively. While this is an extreme example of lack of respect for wildlife, it helps us understand the need we have for organizations such as Leave No Trace, which has made it their mission to educate people about the proper ways to preserve and respect wildlife.
About Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is not only a nonprofit organization, but a lifestyle that every outdoorsman should exercise. The Leave No Trace organization was formed in 1994 and is managed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The Outdoor Ethics organization is dedicated to the enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all who come in contact with nature throughout the world. Leave No Trace has accomplished this by continuing to educate, perform research, and actively engage volunteers. Since the Leave No Trace organization was founded in 1994, they have built an awareness, appreciation, and respect for the wild. The organization has shown remarkable growth and support by spreading its influence to every U.S. state as well as over 25 countries, with active volunteers and members numbering over 25,000.
Leave No Trace Guiding Principles
- Plan Ahead and Prepare: When you travel you almost always encounter unexpected situations. Those that travel unprepared often and frequently resort to solutions that degrade the outdoors and often result in solutions that have a high impact on Mother Nature. It is important to travel with the proper clothing, cookware, and other essentials that will help you to camp comfortably and that will not affect the environment in adverse ways.
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: A great deal of damage occurs to the wildlife and vegetation when hikers and campers decide to carve out new areas. Please use areas that are designated to camp as well as trails that have been carved out properly and with care to the nature surrounding it.
- Dispose of Waste Properly: Trash and litter can greatly impact the enjoyment that others can have for their own personal excursions. Although some trash and litter in backcountry areas does not pose significant or even long term ecological health affects, it can still cause encounters with people and animals that should otherwise not occur. It is also important that hikers and campers dispose body waste properly in order to prevent disease and unpleasant experience for other outdoorsman.
- Leave What You Find: Leave the area the way you found it. Please avoid digging massive tent trenches, clearing areas of rocks or twigs, hammering nails into trees or removing natural wildlife items.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts: The Naturalness of many areas have been degraded by overuse of unnecessary fires. Leave No Trace urges people to see alternatives to fires or use low impact fires.
- Respect Wildlife: Avoid unnecessary contact with the wildlife and ecosystems. Respect Mother Nature and she will return the same respect with beautiful vistas and amazing wildlife.
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Keep in mind that you may not be the only hikers in the backcountry. Having proper etiquette will allow others to enjoy the vast wilderness and wildlife that you also enjoy.
There have been drastic changes in our wildlife and ecosystem due to neglect or improper care. Following the example and education that the Leave No Trace organization provides will help us preserve the wilderness the way Mother Nature intended it to be, so that generations after us will be able to enjoy the same wildlife that we enjoy.