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29

The old advice is to "Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints". Almost any amount of memento-taking is going to lead to some kind of impact in anything but the most isolated of areas. The details of what is and isn't legal are going to vary with the exact area you're in -in the US, Wilderness Areas, a national forests, Bureau of Land ...


17

Generally speaking in the US, you can collect as much as you want from the gift shops. Otherwise, everything else is strictly forbidden.


14

Generally "X gives way to Y" rules can be found not just on trails but on open water (steam gives way to sail) and in rivers and channels, even on city sidewalks. They seem to be based on these (potentially contradictory) reasons: slower movers should allow faster movers to pass them and carry on away (after catching up from behind) more nimble entities ...


11

In the Grand Canyon, it's because it's easier for a human to get off the trail than it is for a mule. I suspect the same reasoning applies in most places.


9

The safe and courteous way to handle an encounter with stock (horses, donkeys, etc.) is to step off the trail to the downhill side, and also to talk to the riders. This helps the animals know you are a human and not a predator, and it moves you clear of their path should they spook. Horses are prey animals and may be sensitive to potential threats from ...


7

Generally in a national part, national monument, or official wilderness area in the US, don't take anything. These areas are managed with preservation being a high or the highest goal. We simply can't have every human on earth take even a small rock. All parts of the environment are connected. No matter how harmless or inconsequential you think some item ...


6

One of my favorite things to collect from National Parks is a stamp for my park passport. There are cancellation stamps in many national parks and sets of full-color stamps you can buy at the gift shop. And please take the other answers to heart. Millions of us enjoy the parks system every year.


5

I have a lot of experience with the federal lands, and the rules are pretty much the same between agencies, whether the Bureau of Land Management or the National Park Service or the US Forest Service. The rule is: don't remove anything. There are some serious consequences, even a felony in some cases. You can't take rocks or even pine cones. Or flowers. ...


5

If it has any scent at all, put it in your bear can. If you're worried about cross-contamination between your trash and your food, bring a trash bag you trust. I keep my food in a plastic bag but my trash in gallon ziplocks. When backpacking, my food and trash are separated only by plastic. By the end of the trip, the trash bag is bigger than the food bag. ...


4

You have heard both answers because both are right depending on the area and ecosystem. Established trails: If there is an established trail going where you need to go, you should stay on it. Even to the point that in a mucky area stay in the tread, rather than create a new trail beside it which might be dry for a while, but will eventually become a new ...


4

Animals are attracted to a variety of scents: food, salts, blood, etc. It looks like you've already encountered animal thievery concerning your trash and that should be a good indicator that it would be appropriate to put it inside a bear canister. If you don't want your food to become accidentally contaminated by your trash, another alternative is to ...


4

It's a similar situation here in the UK. We have routes which are designated as Bridleways which Horse-riders, Cyclists and Pedestrians can use but not motorised vehicles. I would imagine that the yielding to horses is because some horses can get spooked easily and it is safer all round to keep relatively still and let the horse and rider to pass.


4

Legally the answer is "nothing" in the National Parks of Canada. I think the US is similar. Ethically the best touchstone is the Kantian ethic: What would be the result of everyone doing this? As part of that, examine the renewal time, and the numbers of the thing in question and the number of visitors. E.g. Taking the pine cone unless the pine is ...


3

Having had horses myself, here in England, part of the reason you give way if you hear a horse coming on a Bridleway is because (and I say this having been in the situation) there is no speed limit for horses on Bridleways (some might have a trot sign but not always), if you're cantering or galloping along which you have every right to do it's harder for us ...


1

It's always okay to take away trash! I'm not just being tongue in cheek here. Many US National Parks (and other protected areas) have more latitude for beach-combing; manmade items like sea-glass may be considered trash / non-natural additions and be fair game to remove. Again, you'll want to note the specific regulations for the Park you're in; and of ...


1

You say you go to wild places to get away from trails, but that is actually the root problem. One purpose of trails is to funnel all the human use to narrow areas to minimize the overall damage. Lots of places have policies that you need to stay on the trail for this reason. This is especially important in high use or fragile areas. Examples of the ...



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