As early as the 19th century, Americas’ western frontier was vanishing because of industry development. To prevent loss of wilderness American leaders instated the Wilderness Act of 1964 to preserve remaining wilderness. It is your duty to keep preserving wilderness lands. If you wish to keep your lands healthy while still being able to enjoy the outdoors, you must learn how to travel outdoors, how to camp and leave camp, how to deal with waste and garbage, and also how to protect wildlife. Learning these wilderness ethics is known as minimum impact camping.
When you are planning on walking or hiking you must learn how to travel cautiously so no harm comes to the land. Most recreation areas have designated walking or hiking paths. If you are walking by foot on a trail, be sure you stay on the beaten path, this will help you avoid creating extra trails and unnecessary erosion of the land. To avoid widening designated paths do not walk side by side. Traveling in groups of 4-6 people will lessen the impact you have on wilderness and creates opportunities to see wildlife. Also, avoiding travel on popular trails and dates will lighten the load upon the land. Dogs tend to wander into trouble and onto vegetation and wildflowers when in the woods the best way to keep them safe and the land safe is to leash dogs. When you are choosing a campsite, try to pick a used site 200 feet from trails, rivers, lakes, and other campers. The best tent site is one already broken in. When setting up your campsite refrain from moving logs, rocks, and living trees. You must decide if you should create a fire pit or if you should use a backpacking stove. When your making this decision check for fire bans or restrictions in the area you are camping in. A backpacking stove prevents the ground from damage as well as the air quality. If you make a ground fire be sure to have water nearby in case of a fire spreading. When preparing your fire be sure only to cut and burn completely dead trees. Even if there is a single green leaf on a tree, it is still alive and you cannot cut them. Also, dead trees light faster and burn hotter than living trees it would take all night to boil water burning live trees. Another good note for fire care around the campsite is never to burn trash or plastic. Trash is toxic to you, animals, and plants nearby. Forest fires can spark fast when you do not put your fire properly put out. To do this, flush out the fire pit with water and then cover it with dirt to reduce chances of accidental fires. Be sure to pick up all your trash and pack it out with you. Always double-check the campsite for loose garbage and debris. To keep vegetation growing and healthy, throw away trash and waste properly. To dispose of trash properly remember that everything you pack in you must pack out, even if some items are biodegradable. Packing spare trash bags can help organize loose debris. Remove glass, tin cans, and aluminum from the backcountry and you generally shouldn’t even bring these items into the backcountry. If no bathroom facilities are nearby, a venture into the woods is necessary you must bury waste 6 inches underground. Also, bury waste far away from the campsite. A good way to judge the distance is to walk until you cannot hear anyone from your campsite, and you must be at