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Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: well... on 06/17/2009 19:52:35 MDT Print View

> Just scatter your fire rings in the morning
A very good point for fragile areas. Leave no trace of your having camped there.

A better idea might be to not light a fire at all. We use a canister stove partly for that reason. By and large, you won't be able to see where we camped.

Cheers

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: well... on 06/17/2009 20:23:35 MDT Print View

" better idea might be to not light a fire at all. We use a canister stove partly for that reason. By and large, you won't be able to see where we camped."

+ 1

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: well... on 06/17/2009 23:53:29 MDT Print View

> I think the only thing I'd actually preach to backpackers about (as I step up onto my soapbox) is leaving stone fire rings at your campsite.

Your description sounds as if you are talking about a site without evidence others have camped there. In that case, I would suggest avoiding the fire all together. While it is possible to have a fire and clean up after yourself so that others will not be able to see you had one, it is not as simple as just dismantling a fire ring. Most people will not (or cannot, or do not know how to) clean up the fire site properly. Best to just avoid it.

> Just scatter your fire rings in the morning. It's literally no harder than that. Takes 20 seconds.

Unfortunately, even though it is not what you said or meant, some people take that to mean scattering existing fire rings at sites that are already heavily used. Doing so is a bad idea, because it just strews blackened rock around and encourages proliferation of fire sites -- better to have the repeated fires and black rocks at a single place.

Summary:

1) It is OK to build a fire, if you like, at existing heavily used sites that already have fire rings. Whether or not you do, don't try to dismantle the fire ring you found there when you arrived.

2) It is best to NOT build a fire at all at a site that does not already have an obvious fire site, whether or not there is evidence people have pitched camp there previously. Just say NO! If you want a fire that badly, go camp at a site that already has a fire ring.

3) Exception to (2) is when you are really remote enough, and far enough off trail, that no one will be likely to come along for a very long time (if ever). Very few people camp in such locations.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 06/17/2009 23:55:19 MDT.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: well... on 06/18/2009 00:10:42 MDT Print View

Roger, look at my post about fire building here:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=20006&skip_to_post=158651#158651

Not saying its the best way or thats its appropriate everywhere just thats its easily done, no fire rings are necessary.
and what about the trace left from drilling and mining to produce that canister? Just saying that no one comes out clean.
Monty, yes you are right most people are going to take the term LNT for what it is- figurative speech. Its just that in my experience many people take it quite literally and it enforces a certain point of view that man is separate from nature and can only be destructive.
You point out that terms like minimal are subjective and some people fear that one persons idea of minimal may not be the same as someone elses. This is really getting at my whole point, yes its a matter of judgment some people fear that others will make bad judgments therefore the commandment LNT. No room for judgment beyond what degree of guilt you have.
I'm taking the position that we have no choice but to educate people and trust that they will make good judgments.
Also Im not hung up on the term "minimal" maybe thats not the best one either, how about something like "positive" impact?

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
oh my. on 06/18/2009 00:55:05 MDT Print View

brian,

your experience with the LNT concept must be different than mine. all the talk about "LNT commandments" and whatnot. when i read the "principles" on that LNT web page, it all seems pretty common sense and reasonable. i just don't understand where you are coming from on this. i guess it's just one of those silly chaff talks (not yet in chaff) that goes around and around on here.

did you have an LNT nun who hit you with an LNT ruler when you were a child? :)

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: oh my. on 06/18/2009 01:31:09 MDT Print View

"did you have an LNT nun who hit you with an LNT ruler when you were a child? :)"

In manner of speaking, Yes
It is common for people to want to use Gov. bureaucracy to discourage the public from visiting public land because they view nature as something that needs to be separated from humanity. They want Nature to have a velvet rope around it.
Its obvious just from this site alone that many people view any activity that leaves a trace as negitive (i.e. catholes, toilet paper, cooking with fire ect.)
These views don't come from the LNT principles as outlined they come from the concept of leave no trace.
Thou -shalt-not-/ leave-no-trace, its a commandment not a invitation for discussion. You can disagree with me, but I can not possibly make it any clearer. Some people seem to understand exactly what Im saying others don't seem to have even read any of my post- Thats the internet.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
ah... on 06/18/2009 01:43:03 MDT Print View

now that i know it's the Government (capital G) behind it all, it's making more sense.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: ah... on 06/18/2009 03:13:20 MDT Print View

You post to show how silly you think others discussions are and you willfully misinterpret ones you don't like to keep the thread going.. what gives?

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
UK equivalent to LNT on 06/18/2009 03:16:06 MDT Print View

http://www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk/things_to_know/countryside_code

That's gov with a small 'g' Dave. We wouldn't have it any other way. Lol.
=======================================================
There are five sections of The Countryside Code dedicated
to helping members of the public respect, protect and enjoy the countryside. Follow the links below for more information.

Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs

Leave gates and property as you find them

Protect plants and animals and take your litter home

Keep dogs under close control

Consider other people
========================================================
Under the Protect plants and animals and take your litter home link it says:
========================================================
We have a responsibility to protect our countryside now and for future generations, so make sure you don't harm animals, birds, plants or trees.

* Litter and leftover food doesn't just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals and can spread disease - so take your litter home with you. Dropping litter and dumping rubbish are criminal offences.
* Discover the beauty of the natural environment and take special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife, and add to everybody's enjoyment of the countryside.
* Wild animals and farm animals can behave unpredictably if you get too close, especially if they're with their young - so give them plenty of space.
* Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property - so be careful not to drop a match or smouldering cigarette at any time of the year. Sometimes, controlled fires are used to manage vegetation, particularly on heaths and moors between October and early April, so please check that a fire is not supervised before calling 999.
==========================================================
A couple of observations;

1) It's all pretty straightforward sensible stuff.
2) Each point is backed with a reason and explanation - no-one likes being dictated to, but most are amenable to education and information.
3) The word 'please' is used - politeness goes a long way with the English.
4) There is no scatalogical discussion. English toilet training at a young age is very thorough. :-)

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: UK equivalent to LNT on 06/18/2009 03:41:18 MDT Print View

I like this idea of a Code or Ethics.
It allows people to discuss if something is ethical or unethical. Instead in the States (capital S) we argue about whether what we do leaves a trace.
Its a small matter to some I know, I just don't like the term LNT.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 06/18/2009 03:42:03 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: well... on 06/18/2009 03:57:42 MDT Print View

Hi Brian

> Roger, look at my post about fire building here:
Very nicely done.
Unfortunately, you would appear to be in a very small minority when it comes to the necessary size of the fire. Pity.

The problem with lighting fires in parts of Australia is that things can go bang. You may have seen TV of our fires recently - rather similar to some of the big ones you have had on the West Coast I think? Makes us nervous.

Cheers

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: UK equivalent to LNT on 06/18/2009 03:59:38 MDT Print View

Brian, I am with you on your point about the semantics and implication and alienation.

A couple of points about the difference between the UK and USA:

1)The UK has more 'National Park' land than the U.S. in percentage terms, although much of it is farmed. The U.S. has more 'pristine wilderness' than the UK in percentage terms. Therefore it's understandable that there is a strong desire on the part of some to 'preserve' that U.S. public access wilderness to as great a degree possible, and that probably goes some way to explaining the different emphasis in the UK 'code' and the U.S. LNT doctrine.

2) It seems that a lot of the U.S. is 'off limits' to hikers because you don't have the network of public paths and the 'right to roam' we have over here. Also, from comments I've read on this site, landowners are more likely to be aggressive to people crossing their land in the U.S. This maybe concentrates more hikers into the 'pristine wilderness' parks whereas in the UK they spread out more into the general 'countryside'.

3) This compounds all the roads and traffic issues which get mixed into the debate.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: well... on 06/18/2009 04:07:14 MDT Print View

> The problem with lighting fires in parts of Australia is that things can go bang.

Roger, considering the number of meals cooked on wood fires and butane and white gas stoves in australia compared to the number of out of control fires that get started by them, would you say that a small wood fire was more or less easy to control than the occasional malfunctioning butane or white gas stove?

It seems to me that a high calorie fuel problem with a pressurized stove is far more likely to get out of hand than a small wood fire.

I grant you that more bush fires probably get started by open wood fires, but maybe that's only because there are lots more of them used than pressure stoves?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
We're stuck on semantics still. on 06/18/2009 09:05:11 MDT Print View

"I like this idea of a Code or Ethics."

That's all LNT is.
I say forget the name and focus on the message.

I'm a high school teacher; I sponsor our school's environmental/outdoor club. I've been "unofficially" teaching the LNT curriculum for years now. I have never had a student complain about the "No" in LNT...they all pretty quickly understand that it's simply a name for a set of ideals/ethics/a code/best practices, whatever you want to call it.

It's a great curriculum for kids and saves me the time of developing my own. It can be discussed, picked apart, analyzed based upon a situation. That's what we do. LNT provides questionnaires, study guides, all sorts of resources that are excellent instructional tools for beginners.

Without these resources, this education, the students I have would be lost/tearing up the wild. Most come in thinking orange peels are biodegradable and therefor it's acceptable to leave them all over camp. Most think it's fine to pee and crap wherever you want, break off branches for firewood, etc.
LNT serves as a great base to start from.

I have yet to meet a teenager that has been hung up on the idea that one can technically never leave "no" trace...They get it. It's something to aspire to, a best case scenario.

We don't seem to have this issue in other areas.
Can I practice perfect compassion? Become perfectly kind and good?
Probably not. But that doesn't mean I don't bother doing my best. It's simply something to strive for, as best as one can given one's situation. Why set the bar low?

We will never be perfect, we will never leave no trace...
but we might as well do our best.

So far as I know, there is no LNT Hell. Do your best...if you leave a minimal trace, get over it. You always will.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: We're stuck on semantics still. on 06/18/2009 09:41:01 MDT Print View

Fair enough Craig,

I know my point is philosophical. people used many different terms to say the same thing long before LNT. LNT is just my least favorite. I have a grip with its idealism and absolutism. I see a certain current of thought today that erroneously separates and alienates man from nature and the term seems to enforce that. Not something normal people would probable think about. Im sure those kids are smart enough to know the difference. LNT is probably here to stay.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: We're stuck on semantics still. on 06/18/2009 10:41:49 MDT Print View

"I see a certain current of thought today that erroneously separates and alienates man from nature..."

I agree and disagree.

There's certainly an erroneous separation.

But there's also a profound separation on another level.
I teach at a school that's 4 miles from the beach.
I have students that have never been there, never seen it.
In my typical spontaneous class surveys, 40-50% of my students have never seen snow. 50% have never seen a live cow (yet eat them 3 meals a day).
I often like to playfully ask how many students have seen a carrot tree- most don't realize there's anything wrong with the question. At least 40% of my students don't really understand sex (biologically speaking) or childbirth. Most think the umbilical cord is attached to mom's stomach.
These are my students...they're seniors, 17-18 years old, many college-bound

Ask these questions to adults on the street.
I think you'll find a profound disconnection with the natural world there too...not talking just the "wild" here, I'm talking the whole natural world, all of its processes.

I think the current sad (and worsening) state of the global environment is a product of nothing but profound alienation and separation.

Coming back to nature, realizing we're one with it, that we're not separate?
Hard to do with so many twittering at 80mph on the 405 headed for a cubicle and a microwave lunch.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: We're stuck on semantics still. on 06/18/2009 15:06:03 MDT Print View

Semantics are hugely important. It's why we don't call black americans, or gays, or unmarried women by their previous designations, or any other minorities. It's why we strive towards gender and race-free terminologies. Choosing words and terms that promote a positive message over those that promote a negative message is not something that I (or Brian?) choose to brush under the table.

Semantics aside, I am a fire builder. But I hike in remote areas that are full of dead wood, and mostly pretty damp (temperate rain forests). You would have to be an arsonist to start a forest fire in these conditions. I also exclusively use a Ti-Tri Caldera, with a titanium base plate. The fire is contained, small, and safe. Would I do the same if I was hiking in Victoria in the middle of summer? No way. Saying absolutely NO fires, or NO toilet paper, or whatever, just doesn't make practical sense to me.

In NZ, someone has written an in depth article called "Menstrual waste in the backcountry". It's not just poos and wees that people want to regulate ;) Note some changes of wording to things like "carry home" verus "carry out". Semanitcs at work again...

http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc035.pdf

Suggestions
I NFORMATION
Use the words "carry home" instead of "carry out" on all literature in order
to encourage backcountry recreationists to take all rubbish home rather
than dump it in the first convenient receptacle i.e., at a hut, or a roadside.
Pamphlets such as "Finding a Toilet in New Zealand" should make specific
reference to menstrual waste in order to heighten public awareness of the
need to dispose of this material appropriately. At present, the pamphlet
encourages people to "bury human waste" which includes menstrual waste
by default. Suggested wording: "Be careful to bury human excrement and
carry home paper and sanitary products".
A separate pamphlet could be produced which deals specifically with
menstrual waste and which contains information on the environmental
effects of leaving used menstrual products in the backcountry and gives
information on the availability of alternative disposal methods.
Information such as the package on alternative menstrual products produced
by the Nelson Environment Centre (Nelson Environment Centre, 1993)
could be distributed to information centres and other appropriate outlets;
backcountry recreation agencies, backcountry tourism agencies, tourist
accommodation agencies and outdoor education agencies so that the public
can become more informed about the issue of waste in backcountry areas.
All outdoor recreation clubs, outdoor education centres, schools, and
outdoor recreation tourism agencies should be informed on the appropriate
disposal of menstrual waste.

EDUCATION
All people involved in outdoor education, outdoor recreation, and
backcountry tourism, should be educated on the issues surrounding
menstruation in the backcountry and potential solutions to these issues.
All conservation estate managers, outdoor education, outdoor recreation and
backcountry tourism managers should be educated about the issues
surrounding menstruation in the backcountry and the disposal of menstrual
waste so that appropriate policies can be developed and implemented.

FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Make specific mention of menstrual waste in notices about waste disposal
displayed on toilet facilities and in huts to highlight the need to include this
waste in rubbish carried home. The words "including sanitary products"
should be added to statements which advise people to carry home all their
rubbish.
"Carry-home" bags provided by DoC or other agencies could include specific
mention of menstrual waste. The words "including sanitary products" could
be added where appropriate.
"Carry-home" bags could be available in dark colours and with air-tight
closures to facilitate carrying-home of used menstrual products
Signs placed in all backcountry toilet facilities should clearly indicate
whether or not menstrual waste can be disposed of via the toilet system, and
what alternative methods are to be used if not the toilet.
Hand wash facilities should be provided inside all toilet cubicles in order to
facilitate general hygiene and the washing of reusable menstrual products.
Development of a reusable container for the carrying home of used
menstrual products could be encouraged so that reliance on disposable
plastic bags is reduced in the long term.

OTHER
Research should be conducted on potential health problems arising from a
policy of carrying home waste from the backcountry. Encouraging people to
carry home waste (including used toilet paper, menstrual products and
infant diapers) may result in health problems arising from the dumping of
faecal matter and blood in either road-end rubbish receptacles or urban
refuse tips.
Any agency developing policy about the disposal of menstrual waste should
seek Maori advice regarding the impact of waste disposal practices on Maori
spiritual

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Re: well... on 06/18/2009 15:07:53 MDT Print View

>>Your description sounds as if you are talking about a site without evidence others have camped there

Bob, yes and no. There are trails where I live with clear rules about camping/building fires 100' from the trail and still you see fire rings less than 5' from the trail's tread at sites that are not obvious camping spots (i.e. not near water, not near a scenic overlook).

>>In that case, I would suggest avoiding the fire all together. While it is possible to have a fire and clean up after yourself so that others will not be able to see you had one, it is not as simple as just dismantling a fire ring. Most people will not (or cannot, or do not know how to) clean up the fire site properly. Best to just avoid it.

I agree that simply not building a fire is cleaner and more LNT, and that most people don't know how to properly clean up a fire site. However, 1) some people just like fires. A properly built fire is not going to burn down the woods and CAN be cleaned up to make it look like there never was a fire at that site. I've done it and I've been unable to find traces of my fire when I've returned to the same site a week later. So, I've got nothing against somebody who wants to build a fire when he/she goes camping. 2) Whether a group of campers properly cleans up their charred logs is minor, though (in my eyes anyway). Logs decompose on a timescale measurable in years, and an ash pile tends to wash away after enough rain has fallen on it. Stone fire rings will be there for millennia.

>>some people take that to mean scattering existing fire rings at sites that are already heavily used. Doing so is a bad idea, because it just strews blackened rock around and encourages proliferation of fire sites -- better to have the repeated fires and black rocks at a single place.

Heavily used is sometimes a tricky characteristic to apply to a campsite. Given the right [read: wrong] set of campers, a single night's stay can make any patch of woods look like a heavily used campsite. If the campsite is at a likely spot, in a popular hiking/camping area, then yes you're right in that it would be pointless and often undesirable to dismantle the fire ring. However, I do believe that periodically cleaning up even heavily used backcountry campsites is a good idea. It lets a patch of woods recover. Dismantle the fire ring, drag sticks and brush over the trampled ground, let the woods take back the site, and let future campers find another spot. Also, if the fire ring clearly is not at a likely spot, (or, if likely, not desirable) I think it's best to clean up the campsite in that case too. Prevent things from getting out of control in the future and make the woods look more wild and less like an RV park.

Edited by artsandt on 06/18/2009 15:23:04 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: well... on 06/18/2009 16:21:14 MDT Print View

Hi RogT

> considering the number of meals cooked on wood fires and butane and white gas stoves
> in australia .... would you say that a small wood fire was more or less easy to control
> than the occasional malfunctioning butane or white gas stove?

A small wood fire is MUCH harder to control under Australian conditions, especially when there is any wind - which often happens. And I am aware of a small number of cases where tourist campfires have been left to smoulder and have caused a wild-fire. But not many - we (Australians) do tend to be a bit paranoid in the summer.

But you raised another point: malfunctioning stoves. I know (how could I avoid it!) that lighting a white gas stove seems to involve a bit of a fire ball. All the same, I am not aware of any cases in Australia where a liquid fuel stove used by a walker has been implicated in starting a wild-fire. I may have missed one or two of course.

I am definitely NOT aware of any incidents where a canister stove has caused any problems when handled by a walker. In fact, the National Parks Services here have gone so far as to install FREE gas BBQs at some sites to prevent tourists from lighting wood fires.

I guess you have to live here to really appreciate the volatile nature of our bush.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Leave No Trace Ethics on 06/18/2009 16:25:21 MDT Print View

> I guess it's OK to bury macaroni and cheese boxes

That would be regarded completely unethical in Australia. Food packaging is designed to resist degradation for a long time. Pack it in; pack it out.

TP is designed to rot down quickly, and does so.

Cheers