Leave No Trace: Waste

hIf you’ve been keeping up with LiveOutdoors over the last weeks, then you’ve learned a bit about Leave No Trace practices. Day Four of our Leave No Trace spotlight series continues with a look at what to do with your waste in the backcountry. Keep reading to learn more!

Most outdoorsmen are familiar with the phrase, “Pack it in, pack it out.” This basically says that if it wasn’t there when you went into the woods, then don’t leave it there when you go back home. Bottom line is you are responsible for anything you bring into the backcountry, so be sure to carry out all your trash when you leave.

Furthermore, try to make sure your site or travel route look like nobody was ever there. Remove any evidence of your stay, leaving no signs of your influence on the area. Replace rocks moved for fire rings or anchors and inspect your campsite for trash or misplaced gear before you leave.

When it comes to trash, do not bury it. If it even smells like food, animals will sniff it out and dig it up. Also, things that aren’t buried deep will become exposed later due to rainfall or erosion, leaving an eyesore for someone else to find later on. Many people think they can burn down trash, but contrary to popular belief, common items like foil and plastic bottles do not completely burn. Stuff empty bottles and other trash items in your pack, or keep a trash bag in your bag for such purposes, rather than burying or trying to burn everything.

When it comes to venturing into the outdoors, you are responsible for everything you bring with you. The woods are not one big trash can for your convenience; they’re a majestic blessing that deserve your respect and care. If you want to continue to enjoy them and ensure future generations will, as well, take care of our forests by taking all your trash with you when you leave.