No doubt you have heard the phrase “leave no trace” and such like. The aim of such sayings, of course, is to leave a place in the same state as you found it. Normally people apply this to their campsite, clearing up their fire scar and taking home all the litter they brought in.
An impossible task
This, and I am sure you will agree is the least you should do. However the more I think about this little phrase “leave no trace’ the more it seems an impossible task. As soon as my saw cuts a sapling to make a peg for a tarp, I have left my mark. Leave no trace also seems, to me at least, to fly in the face of the other well-known phrase of “The more you know the less you carry”. A phase often spouted at people with huge backpacks new to Bushcraft carrying more kit then they will ever need. By applying these phrases without thinking about the bigger impact on the natural environment leads people into the trap.
For example; I know how to make a tent peg in the woods with my knife and saw, so I won’t carry tent pegs – This fits perfectly with the know more carry less. So when I head to the woods put up my tarp and make my peg, I have left my trace.
The same with stoves. You might think that by having a metal stove which raises your fire off the ground is better for the natural environment and helps you leave no trace. Surely though it is far better to have that fire on the ground, well managed and cleared away than to buy something that has been made overseas shipped halfway across the world. I’d argue that the stove has far more on an impact on our planet then your little fire will ever do.
True ethos of leave no trace
Which leads me nicely onto my next point. To truly appreciate, understand and respect something you must participate fully with it. We’re not talking about a quick stroll
Some will argue that all this is very idealistic and lovely, but with such an overpopulated nation if we all went out and took a few
To wrap it up
What I am trying to get at is to follow these sayings without thinking about the larger scale or bigger picture is the wrong way to go. We should be thinking more about balancing these two opposing phases, maybe a better phrase would be – j