Leave no trace – How NOT to camp in the Wilderness

How not to camp in a wilderness. Piney Creek Wilderness, Missouri. Copyright © 2021 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Got your own land? Go for it, cut down trees (wear high heels1), and make as much mess as you like. Public land? Leave no trace. Let’s not trash the wilderness.

Leave only footprints, take only pictures.

It would appear that a couple of would-be Alone contenders or Bear Grylls wannabes have been camping out by the lake. They must have missed the sequences in Alone, where they clear up the campsites when they leave. I don’t know what to say … The basics of wild camping are simple, use a fire ring if it’s there, as it was in this case, but don’t make one, and leave everything as you found it or in a better, more natural, condition. I can understand leaving the skillet behind for others to use, but don’t cut down trees, living or dead, to feed your fires or make furniture. And take all your trash, clothing, and tarps with you when you leave. Leave only footprints, take only pictures.

I guess I should also give a shout-out to the hunter who, a few years ago, dressed a deer and left the carcass next to the fire ring at my favorite wild campsite in this wilderness. I have a sound recording of coyotes arguing over the remains. I camped a couple of hundred yards away that night, but the noise was still quite impressive.

1 Warning, 1960s’ British humor. For the uninitiated, check out this YouTube video.

One thought on “Leave no trace – How NOT to camp in the Wilderness

  1. mojavesky13

    Some people just don’t have etiquette to take care of their campsites and belongings. It is sickening to see campsites left like that. I have written articles about this very topic on my blog as I have come across this as well. All we can do is keep mentioning it and hope to educate others as much as we can.


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