June 2021 - 44
A clean camp like this one keeps trash off the ground and has an established fire pit for safety. (Photo by Kyle Spradley)
Crandall doesn't want to see people during
his trips, so dispersed camping is alluring, he
said, but as more people follow this trend,
his experiences continue to be troubled ones.
" This year in particular, I think there's so
many new people, it's sort of amateur hour, "
he said. " There's spots with toilet paper and
trash everywhere. "
Crandall doesn't think campers are gross on
purpose, at least not just to be jerks.
" I think it's just because there are so many
new people, " he said.
Well now, here's another one of those educational
opportunities for Leave No Trace that
Lawhon seems to relish.
The camping crush had some unavoidable
impacts on lands and campgrounds, such as
overflowing dumpsters, eroding trails and overburdened
parking lots. But Leave No Trace
focuses on helping campers mitigate avoidable
impacts, such as trash, human waste and
camping too close to water.
" The vast majority of impacts could be
avoided with just a little more effort into planning, "
Bringing extra trash bags, equipment to dig
a hole for human waste or using the bathroom
before you head out and a simple way to pack
away your food and crumbs goes a long way,
" When you shove a bag of garbage on
44 | June 2021
top of an overflowing bin and you just figure
someone will pick it up, that has a significant
impact on wildlife, " he said.
Dispersed camping challenges users even
more, Lawhon said, so more planning needs
to take place.
" That's my preferred camping as well, " he
said. " But it takes more preparation and skill.
You need to be prepared to deal with the fact
that there's no toilet facilities and the fact that
you're in bear country and you have to store
your food and trash for safety. Be ready to be
Leave No Trace does have a lot of tips, regulations
and rules to follow all the guidelines,
but even if you can't follow all of them, the
more campers who follow some of them make
camping better for everyone.
" It's not about perfection, " Lawhon said.
" It's about action. What we prefer to see is
everyone just do something to minimize your
impact, and maybe next time you'll do two
things. Find your place in that spectrum. I
mean, if people just threw away their trash,
we'd be in a much better place. "
Garrett would like to see that, too, and
the dispersed crowds are one reason he tries
to keep his favorite places quiet.
" It's hard not to share, but I try not to share
too much where I go, " he said. " I doubt I will
ever be overtaken. But you never know. "
- Dan England is a mountain climber, ultrarunner and
freelance writer from Greeley, Colorado.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021
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