Only Footprints

memories-plaqueLions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, My! For most of us seeing a tiger outside of the zoo is slim to none but, mountain lions and bears are wildlife you might come across in your travels. First off, I would like to emphasize that all wildlife shoot be treated with respect and at caution. Even herbivorous should be treated with caution because no one knows how a wild animal may act if frightened. This even includes feeding animals. We have all seen it and probably have done it. It may look like a perfect Kodak moment but it could possibly be dangerous for you and the animal. Animals are unlike humans and might have difficulty digesting our food. Being aware of this might save you from possible injury and keeps the wild, wild.

This idea is inspired by the movement “Leave No Traces, Only Footprints.” As hikers, backpackers, and campers we bring into the wild food, drink, and other supplies that might be left behind. Leaving trash on trails and campsites does not only take away from the beauty of the nature but could hurt smaller animals such as birds. In addition, it is also important that you keep your food in safe air lock containers, such as BearVault or bear lockers. If food is left out this might attract hungry and dangerous animals to your area.

“Leave No Traces, Only Footprints” does not only promote bring back what you bring in but, also encourages individuals to pick up trash they find on trails. The Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail are two of the busiest through hikes in the country. These trails are also two of the most maintained and trash free trails. Backpackers take multiple week worth of supplies on trail and beside what they consume or burn, the majority carry their trash to their next stop.

Keeping nature wild and trails in top shape is everyone’s responsibility. I urge you to join a society or one of their events, for those in Reno/Tahoe I promote Tahoe Rim Trail Association or Keep Tahoe Blue, to help conserve your home. In addition next time you are on trail and you see a plastic bottle or a wrapper pick up and take it with you.

Photo is attributed to Amanda Walkins author of A Walk on the Run

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