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Leave No Trace Ethics
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 13:29:06 MDT Print View

I cannot help but find it strange that I'm the only person advocating not burying ANY sort of trash and it's my ideas that are extreme and full of logical fallacy.

All I'm trying to advocate is coming as close as one can to leaving no trace, having a minimal impact, treading lightly, being a conscientious hiker, or whatever the catch phrase of the day is...That's how the wild doesn't end up getting trashed.

Good day all.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 13:54:18 MDT Print View

You have a valid point.

In answer to your questions (maybe they were rhetorical, not sure), there is a difference between TP and other paper or cartons. TP is designed to break down faster to help with sewage systems. Cartons can have some wet strength agents added and sizing (which helps to prevent water from wetting the surface)...both of which helps the carton to last longer. Cartons are also much thicker, so you could be talking about more mass.

The shiny surface is a clay coating (maybe with some CaCO3 and talc). The layer of white clay will remain and not break into nything different than a looser layer of clay. Sometimes you can also have a plastic layer (LDPE).

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 14:13:59 MDT Print View

I also prefer the term minimal impact, and also believe in (and practice) positive impact where I try to leave an area better off than I found it. LNT to me would mean not p00ping or peeing at all, or carrying it out. LNT would not allow me to make fires. Minimal impact allows me to p00p and pee discretely and hygenically, to make small cooking fires (which are also handy for burning mine and other people's paper rubbish) but otherwise take everything else out with me that I *reasonably* can.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 14:28:12 MDT Print View

edit: clarity

There seems to be a lot of different ideas of what exactly LNT is. I've never read a lot on it, but always assumed (and practiced that the 'common sense' suggestions in the original link *were* the basic principles of LNT.

Here's what the United States BLM represents as their version of LNT.

It seems to me the author might have taken the principles of a particularly zealous branch of LNT, made those out to represent LNT philosophy generally, which then enables him to step in as "Mr. Common Sense" and just present the most common LNT principles as products of his common sense mind. I don't really agree with some of the more zealous principles that may be espoused as LNT, but in this case, I don't think the author is being fair in his represenation of LNT as commonly understood.

Humans are part of the natural world too, and the overzealous schools of LNT (if they exist) would seem to forget this fact. The other people that don't think of people as being part of nature are people like Anne "God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours" Coulter As has been pointed out more than once, stepping into the wilderness is impactful, and we humans have a right to be there with the rest of the animals.

And of course there are whole schools of thought regarding the idea of wilderness, and the wisdom considering wilderness as something apart from non-wilderness . . .

Edited by jrmacd on 06/16/2009 14:29:13 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 14:39:17 MDT Print View

I'll come as close I can to leaving no trace, but I ain't packing my poo out. Sorry.

And the only natural end to LNT as it is currently evolving is to say that people are the problem, and shouldn't be in the wilderness.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 14:48:49 MDT Print View

For me, a code of leaving minimal impact is not as much about caring for the environment for the sake of the environment, but more about leaving a place for other humans to enjoy as I have done. So to me it's all about making humans feel welcomed and a part of the places they visit, not about excluding them. In other words, leave an area as I would like to find it. Leaving your litter, or unburied faeces, or spreading giardia or whatever is plain inconsiderate and bad manners. From this point of view, as long as it's buried a long way from flowing water and where I won't likely stumble upon it, toilet paper is OK. Other rubbish is not.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 15:13:45 MDT Print View

Please read this if you're going to debate the meaning of LNT:

I've always thought of Leave No Trace as the name of a group that simply advocates no/low impact backcountry practices.
There certainly seems to be a lot of angst about the name around here.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 15:23:29 MDT Print View

It's not angst Craig. Those of us without bushbuddy incinerators just don't fancy carrying used TP around. ;-)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 15:37:52 MDT Print View

The angst is in the semantics. If they had called it leave minimal trace, it would be fine. But the word NO in leave no trace is an absolute term that means none, nada, zip. Then they set out rules that describe leaving minimal (not NO) trace. There's nothing really wrong with those basic rules as layed out, they should just call it something different, and also should encourage folks to improve their impact, rather than just minimise it, but that is probably asking too much of most people.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 15:49:39 MDT Print View

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true." President Bill Clinton

Ah yes, thank you.
I guess semantics make the world go round. And round round. And round. And round.
And round.

And round.

Let's see how long can we debate the name and not the message.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
Re: Leave No Trace Ethics - Strawmen on 06/16/2009 15:53:29 MDT Print View

It also seems that the author of the article has created a NLT Strawman to argue against. My theory is that there are more authors that advocate this Ultra LNT, than people who actually put it to practice.

Addition - I've heard of people who want you to drink your soapy water, etc. I will start to take these Ultra LNTers seriously once I've met someone who puts it to practice. Until then, its just a bunch of complaining for complaint sake.

------- mentions burying it in a cathole as an acceptable practice. I'm sure they would say that there are times when this could be abused, but they recognize that there are circumstances where burying Mountain Dollars is perfectly acceptable.

Below is from

Use toilet paper sparingly and use only plain, white, non-perfumed brands. Toilet paper must be disposed of properly! It should either be thoroughly buried in a cathole or placed in plastic bags and packed out. Natural toilet paper has been used by many campers for years. When done correctly, this method is as sanitary as regular toilet paper, but without the impact problems. Popular types of natural toilet paper include stones, vegetation and snow. Obviously, some experimentation is necessary to make this practice work for you, but it is worth a try! Burning toilet paper in a cathole is not generally recommended.

Toilet Paper in Arid Lands: Placing toilet paper in plastic bags and packing it out as trash is the best way to Leave No Trace in a desert environment. Toilet paper should not be burned. This practice can result in wild fires.

Edited by akajut on 06/16/2009 16:03:47 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 15:56:40 MDT Print View

"Let's see how long can we debate the name and not the message."

Is there something to debate about the message? I guess there's toilet paper to debate, but burning it in a Ti-Tri shouldn't cause too much trace...?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 16:03:53 MDT Print View

"Is there something to debate about the message?"

It's what started this thread.

Now I'm really confused.

I think I need to stay away from this crazy machine (semantics translation- "crazy machine" as in: machine that makes you crazy).

I need a beer.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 16:15:10 MDT Print View

LNT in over-used areas probably requires extra-ordinary measures.

That is why I avoid them.

Plus, I am not going to pack-out my p**p. Next they are going to want us to pack out our pee.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 16:23:55 MDT Print View

"Is there something to debate about the message?"

It's what started this thread.

Well, it is a good idea to define your terms so everyone is on the same page.

I think this is a great debate. Sure, on the surface it's about TP. But it's really about how we as backpackers look at the land we love, how to use it, and what our part in it is.

I'm finding the whole thing fascinating.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 17:27:47 MDT Print View

It never ceases to amaze me how people get so wound up every time this topic comes up! And most of it seems to stem from not knowing what LNT comprises or from some preconceived notion of what it is. Here's what it is (from the Center For Outdoor Ethics):

Plan ahead and prepare.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Leave what you find.
Minimize campfire impacts.
Dispose of waste properly.
Respect wildlife.
Be considerate of other visitors.

Except for the last one it's pretty much the same as the list given by the BLM. Really can't take umbrage against any of it. In fact, it's the same as the values I was taught as a small boy long before LNT came on the scene. Nowhere does it say you can't have campfires (though some forests prohibit campfires in certain areas and specific months). Nowhere does it say you have to pack out your poo (though it does encourage TP be packed out). Basically it says be Present, be Respectful. Om

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/16/2009 18:30:23 MDT Print View

"But as far as actual PRACTICE goes...
I stand my ground. TP is litter, buried or not."

I know we've had this discussion before, but it keeps popping up, so here goes: What is wrong with burning your TP in the cathole and then peeing on it? This eliminates any fire hazard and, with all the nitrogen in the hole, it will be long gone in a few months. I know because I have checked catholes under rocks that I have used on previous trips, dozens of times over the years. At most, only a small, dessicated turdlet remains. That's about as close to LNT as I intend to get, poo-wise, as I refuse to pack out either poo or TP. It is potentially unsanitary AND an animal attractant. As for the BLM holding forth on LNT, that's right up there with Chris Rock on the humor scale. There are many other, far more effective, ways to reduce one's impact to a negligible trace, many of them mentioned in this and other related threads. My 2 cents.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
LNT on 06/16/2009 18:38:12 MDT Print View

Toilet Paper is for @ssholes.

Leave yours at home.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: LNT on 06/16/2009 18:49:12 MDT Print View

"Toilet Paper is for @ssholes.

Leave yours at home."

Profound, Nate, profound.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: LNT on 06/16/2009 18:54:57 MDT Print View

Any recommendation re:minimising your impact in a wilderness, has to take into account that the majority of people are not going to leave their TP at home. Thus the 'common sense' approach to the problem is to have guidelines of how best to dispose of TP. Burning and catholes are good where permitted or available (some rocky ridges do not lend themselves to catholes or fires). Carrying it is another option, but many people won't do this either (and I concur).