Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces is the second of 7 Leave No Trace principles. A durable surface is defined as one that is resistant and resilient to people traveling or camping upon it. Examples of durable surfaces are: rock, gravel, snow, sand, dry grass, and established trails/campsites. On the flip side, non-durable surfaces are more fragile and take longer to recover. Some examples are: wild flowers, meadows, steep slopes prone to slides (safety first!), cryptobiotic soil, and poison ivy/oak.
Consider these points when selecting terrain to hike and camp on:
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- In popular areas:
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Explore Responsibly...Kate and Tracy