Leave No Trace
The High Country is a sensitive and fragile environment.
To preserve its special qualities requires care from visitors and locals alike. Please support us in protecting our beautiful area by following these 7 general guidelines by Leave no Trace Australia.
1. Plan ahead and prepare
"Good planning is living the experience in advance." - Sir Edmund Hillary
Plan ahead by considering your goals and those of your group. Prepare by gathering local information, communicating expectations, and acquiring the technical skills, first aid knowledge, and equipment to make the trip a success. Build Leave No Trace into your plans by picking an appropriate destination for your group and allowing plenty of time to travel and camp.
Prevention by obtaining knowledge ahead of time is often an easier solution.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
"The notion that [outdoor] recreation has no environmental impacts is no longer tenable." - Curtis H. Flather and H. Ken Cordell
A footstep means different things to a young tree and meadow grass, to leaf litter and fragile soil, to a gravelly river bank and rain forest moss. Unfortunately, trampling causes vegetation damage and soil erosion in virtually every environment. Recovery that takes a year in some environments might take 25 years in others.
Avoid non-durable surfaces such as soft plants, riparian zones, muddy sites, and fragile soil layers. When travelling along a shoreline, hike on durable surfaces and spread out.
In popular areas, aim to concentrate use on tracks, established campsites, and other developed sites such as trailheads and picnic areas. This will minimise disturbances to soils and vegetation. Stay on designated tracks.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
"Pack it in, pack it out" - a familiar mantra to seasoned travellers.
Any user of recreation lands has a responsibility to clean up before he or she leaves. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for rubbish or spilled foods. Pack out all rubbish and kitchen waste, including leftover food.
Rubbish that is half-burned or buried will attract animals and make a site unattractive to other visitors. Before moving on from a camp or resting place, search the area for “micro-rubbish” such as bits of food and rubbish, including cigarette filters and organic litter such as orange peels, or egg and nut shells.
4. Leave What You Find
"The earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone — and to no one." - Edward Abbey
People visit natural areas for many reasons, among them to explore nature’s mysteries and surprises.
When we leave rocks, shells, plants, feathers, fossils, artefacts and other objects of interest as we find them, we pass the gift of discovery on to those who follow.
Particularly, never touch aboriginal rock art or disturb sites of significance.
5. Minimise Campfire Impacts
"In gaining the lovely and the usable, we have given up the incomparable." - Wallace Stegner
Wildfire destroys thousands of kilometres of bush each year in Australia. Many of these fires are either carelessly or accidentally set by uninformed campers and travellers. Check www.cfa.vic.gov.au for information about current fires and for Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans
Along with the destructive nature of fire, the natural appearance of many recreation areas has been compromised by the careless use of campfires and the demand for firewood. Campfires are beautiful by night. But the enormous rings of soot-scarred rocks – overflowing with ashes, partly burned logs, food and rubbish – are unsightly. Surrounding areas have been stripped of their natural beauty as every scrap of dry wood has been torched.
Some of us grew up with the tradition of campfires. But they are no longer essential for comfort or food preparation.
6. Respect Wildlife
"The stark truth is, if we want wild animals, we have to make sacrifices." - Colin Tudge, Wildlife Conservation
Protected lands offer a last refuge for wild animals who also, consequently, need recreators who will promote their survival, rather than add to the difficulties they already face. We know that animals respond to people in different ways. Some species adapt readily to humans in their domain, resume their normal behaviours and may have become "habituated."
Other animals flee from humans, abandoning their young or critical habitat. Still others are attracted and endangered by human food and rubbish. Because outdoor recreation is dispersed over large areas and at all times of the year, its impacts on wildlife can be equally as disruptive.
7. Be Considerate Of Others
"Silence is the element in which all great things are fashioned." - Thomas Carlyle
Today, we must consider the rights of traditional land owners as well as share the wilderness with people of all recreational persuasions. There is simply not enough country for every category of enthusiast to have exclusive use of land, wilderness, trails, bush, lakes, rivers, and campgrounds.
Yet the subject of outdoor “etiquette” is often neglected. We’re reluctant to examine our personal behaviours, least of all in the wilderness where, to many, a sense of freedom is paramount.