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Pack It In, Pack It OUT!

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Really people?! What part of leave no trace do you all not understand?

Imagine you show up at your favorite campsite to find half-burned trash and broken glass in and around the fire pit, bottle caps and pieces of plastic wrappers and water bottles littering the ground, trees with broken branches and scars from a previous camper’s knife or hatchet, and used toilet paper over by the bushes 10 feet away. Most of us have had this experience on some level, right? Pack it in, pack it out’ is one of the original tenets of backcountry travel. And, it’s a fairly simple one. Leave No Trace means just that. The Leave No Trace principles might seem unimportant until you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no trace is everyone’s responsibility.

States spend millions of dollars each year to clean up littered roadways, parks, and coastal areas. In addition to the direct cost of litter removal, litter also harms the environment, property values and other economic activity. The most common types of litter are food packaging, bottles, cans, plastic bags, paper and tobacco products. States can discourage littering through a variety of methods, one of which is to create and enforce criminal penalties that punish unwanted behavior. While all states have some type of litter law, penalties vary widely, based on the amount, type, and location of litter. In 10 states, for example, the weight or volume of litter determines the severity of the crime. Other states focus on the type of litter, imposing penalties for dumping large items, such as furniture or major appliances. Many states have also enacted legislation to address littering in certain places, such as public highways, coastal areas, and recreational areas.

For those that still can't get it through your thick skulls to pick up your trash maybe this will encourage you! MISSOURI- Class A misdemeanor. $1,000 fine and imprisonment up to one year (§558.011). ARKANSAS- Misdemeanor. First conviction: fine between $100 and $1,000, and eight hours community service. Subsequent convictions within three years: fine between $200 and $2,000, and 24 hours community service. Violators may also be ordered to remove highway litter.

Wolf Junction Campsite on Glade Top Trail,MTNF.

We want our camp grounds left in pristine condition for the next adventurers to enjoy. We can all help with this problem. If there is trash already there from some previous ass$%## please help clean it up and remove it. Help teach and instill values in young people and prepare them to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime. Leave No Trace helps reinforce that and reminds us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations. Appreciation for our natural environment and a knowledge of the interrelationships of nature bolster our respect and reverence toward the environment and nature. Here are a few simple ways to keep your campsite clean and pristine: When packing for your trip, think about reducing litter at the source—before you leave town. Leave excess packaging at home and plan rations to avoid leftovers as much as possible. Be sure to properly store your food (and trash) and use designated bear boxes where appropriate. You’d hate to have a bear or a pack of raccoons raid your kitchen and spread trash around the campground. also plan to use bathrooms or outhouses if available. If not, bring a trowel and bury human waste (if permitted) in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet (70 big steps) from water. Better yet, bring your own portable toilet system or a supply of WAG BAGs and pack out your human waste. There is nothing enjoyable about watching used TP drift across your campsite like tumbleweeds when the wind kicks up.

Good campsites are found, not made. Use well-established campsites that are big enough for your group and avoid expanding the campsite with satellite tent sites beyond the established area so as not to damage vegetation. Don’t dig trenches or build structures in your campsite. Camping furniture is actually a great way to minimize your impact and stay comfortable. By bringing camp chairs, for example, you won’t be tempted to move logs or rocks for seats, which can disturb habitat.

Above are some good examples of trash bags that are designed to hang off the back of your rig or strap it down to the top of your vehicle (they are designed to hold your trash outside your vehicle until you can get somewhere to dump it proper). TREAD LIGHTLY - You can haul away all the trash you accumulate in a weekend and maybe even make the trails a littler cleaner as you go.


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