Today’s tip is most likely not needed for our readers, as We truly believe that the readers who stop by align with the Gear Guys’ beliefs. We wanted to use today’s tip as a reminder for and request that they pass this tip / request along, and share it where they can. Today we wanted to post the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management “Leave No Trace Land Ethics” statement. The Gear Guys and Bear just returned from a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the Keweenaw tip, specifically, Key Stone Bay. This bay is a one-of-a-kind white sand beach which is very rare for the area. The water is crystal clear with a gentle sloping beach. To access this area you must travel a wooded road outside of Copper Harbor, MI. The link below will give you a glimpse at how spectacular this beach truly is.
This road is one of the hardest roads to to travel in the UP. The turns are very narrow and too tight for a pick-up truck while most cars could not make the water crossings. It is pretty much limited access for jeeps, ATVs, and boats. The Subaru Outback we use as our Adventure Vehicle was pushed to the max and came back with a few battle scars as a reward for making the trip to the beach. The first thing we saw when exiting out the vehicle was a signed posted by the DNR that read. “Continued littering and cutting of trees will result in closing of this area.” We noticed immediately as we looked around the many piles of trash left behind from previous campers.
We are saddened and amazed at the level of trash and debris left behind from careless campers and explorers. As an example, we also camp at High Rock Bay at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula which is about 14 miles outside of Copper Harbor through thick woods and rough logging trails to access. Upon our arrival at this pristine site surrounded by crystal clear lake water, we were disappointed to find a make-shift toilet made from a five gallon pail and toilet paper, both used and unused, strewn about the area. Not only did the last campers abandon this homemade latrine, they made no environmental responsible efforts to clean up the waste. We ask our readers to be advocates for the Leave No Trace Ethics policies and spread the word where they can.
1: Plan ahead and prepare: When properly prepared, a camper is less likely to resort to high – impact methods to resolve a dangerous situation that could put themselves or others at risk. When a camper plans ahead, it’s easier to think clearly and problem-solve; therefore, reducing harm to the environment or other campers involved.
2: Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Degradation to soil, vegetation, or communities of organisms is caused by veering off trail or camping outside of designated campsites. Over-trampling leads to erosion, exposed soil, and harm to plant and animal life.
3: Dispose of waste properly: This is straight forward. If you bring it in – take it out. All human and pet waste should handled according to environmentally responsible manners. Please carry out all your food waste and other trash with you. By not following this rule, we run the risk of more and more areas being closed to access.
4: Leave what you find: While it can be tempting to bring the treasures you find in the woods home with you, it also can be tempting to clear an area of rocks or other natural debris to make for a smooth tent pad. By doing these two things, you can disrupt an ecosystem or leave an area beyond repair. Please avoid making alterations like digging tent trenches, cutting live tree branches, etc.
5.: Minimize campfire impacts: Please be very careful to keep your fire under control and sparks contained during the dry seasons. A forest fire would be any camper’s worst nightmare. Along with keeping your fire tame, be sure not to leave the earth or campsite scared from your ring. After your fire is completely out be sure, to repair the location of your campfire before leaving the site.
6: Respect wildlife: Do not follow, feed, nor motivate animals to flee as this can impact animal survival. Give animals the space they need to find water, to feel unthreatened, and to care for their young.
7: Be considerate to other visitors and future visitors: The golden rule applies here…”Do unto other campers as you would have them do unto you.” Please respect future campers and leave the area with the beauty you found upon your arrival.
The above seven principles all are direct and use common sense. We feel they do not ask too much of an extra effort to perform. With the Adventure season under full swing, let’s all try our best to leave our favorite nature spots better than we found them this year!