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[pct-l] LNT 4- How?
Hello All -
Hmmmm...so we are beating up the backcountry...and LNT is the art of
minimizing the damage we do.
First, we each need to settle something with ourselves. How BAD do we want
to have the best backcountry possible? Said a little differently: to what
lengths are we willing to go to make SURE that the generations to come have
a worthwhile backcountry to go to?
A few considerations:
There are a LOT of reasons to want to take care of our backcountry that go
beyond simple selfish personal pleasure.
Our wildlands can offer us examples of a healthy ecology at work (not a bad
thing when we are trying to decide what to do with the broken ecosystems
closer to home). Our wild backcountry is a very important symbol to
mankind of the natural world...and to our place in it. We don't have to be
a biology or zoology or any other 'ology major to appreciate the importance
of biodiversity...now and way on down the road. Backcountry use can be an
important commercial asset to areas with little else going to put food on
local tables. Many organizations depend on access to the backcountry to
accomplish their mission (Scouting is just one!). And on, and on...
Don't let me give the idea, either, that there is anything wrong with
"simple selfish personal pleasure" <g>! There are a LOT of very personal
reasons why getting into the backcountry is important to all of us on this
The following quote says it all for me:
A thing is right
when it tends to preserve
the integrity, stability, and beauty
of the biotic community.
It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949)
I did my own internal math and came up with the results that I DO care a
great deal about what is happening to our wild lands. I found in LNT a way
that I could do something valuable by just NOT doing dumb things. The fact
that I also get to be proactive and do some LNT training is just icing on
the cake <g>.
LNT turns out to be really (really, Really, REALLY!) simple:
learn how our actions can harm the backcountry;
become committed to doing as little harm as possible;
go do it (or don't do it, as the case may be <g>); and,
don't be a wuss about getting fellow backcountry users to join in!
For most of us, the 1st and 3rd lines are the hardest <g>.
To help out, the good folks who invented, mothered, fathered, nurtured, and
finally kicked LNT out of the nest came up with a few guiding principles.
These are intended to be thought-joggers that help us develop our personal
wilderness ethic...NOT some kind of iron-clad rule that we should slavishly
follow (and quickly rationalize away the first time our internal lawyer
rears its ugly head <g>).
For every "what to do" decision point, there almost always is a range of
choices available to follow. Our personal challenge is to have the guts to
pick the optimum solution for that particular situation at that particular
place at that particular time given the particular individuals involved.
"Optimum" is highly relative...we just always strive to do the best that we
The principles have been grouped differently over the years as we try to
find ways to make for easier understanding...lately they have been listed
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces
Pack It In, Pack It Out
Properly Dispose of What You Can't Pack Out
Leave What You Find
Minimize Use and Impact of Fire
I like to save "Plan Ahead and Prepare" for last (so we all know what we
are planning and preparing for <g>). I will take the rest in order and
will do at least one posting for each principle.
First up will be "Camp and Travel on Durable surfaces"
...see you at "LNT 5- Hiking HARD!"
- Charlie II AT (MEGA'93)
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