59 votes
Accepted

Impact of throwing away fruit waste on a peak > 3200 m above a glacier

The problem with food waste at that elevation is that there is very little soil to bury things and that decomposition happens much slower at those altitudes. Sometimes there are still marmots/pikas ...
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45 votes
Accepted

Leave-no-trace-exception for tissues?

It's true that paper tissues biodegrade relatively quickly: this U.S. Bureau of Land Management page estimates 2-4 weeks. However, as the same page notes, Though most trash and litter in the ...
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  • 3,692
45 votes

Impact of throwing away fruit waste on a peak > 3200 m above a glacier

My viewpoint: If it is unlikely to be seen before natural processes take care of it then disposal in the wilderness isn't unreasonable. Thus, below timberline, outside Jasper National Park, walking ...
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36 votes

Trumpeting while backpacking?

Depending on how much other stuff you will be carrying, a whole trumpet and case may be too heavy and/or bulky. Just take your mouthpiece and blow through it when you feel like it, on an easy part of ...
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  • 1,020
35 votes
Accepted

Is burying human waste always the lowest-impact solution?

In more temperate climates (forests, jungles, etc.) burying feces is preferred as it will be broken up by microbes in the soil while being somewhat protected from the environment. Plant growth in ...
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  • 8,358
34 votes

When should I avoid geotagging?

It seems likes this is mostly an issue of scale, in well-traveled areas where lots of people go it's not going to make a lot of difference, while remote areas that could possibly see lots of sudden ...
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34 votes

When should I avoid geotagging?

If you are on a photo safari where you take pictures of endangered big-game animals (elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.), do not geotag your images. Poachers are known to check the geoinformation from ...
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  • 927
27 votes

When should I avoid geotagging?

My general experience is that the problem is really that most tourists are focused in some very tiny but extraordinary popular areas. For example I have seen places in the Rockies where you need to ...
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  • 12.1k
27 votes

Trumpeting while backpacking?

For one, thank you for asking and planning to be considerate. I wouldn’t wholly throw away the idea of practicing while on a backpacking trip, particularly if you’re a professional, but there are ...
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  • 2,360
26 votes

When is it not OK to leave feces behind?

Leave no Trace The basic guideline is do not leave your feces anywhere that it can be discovered or uncovered in the future. As far as upsetting the ecosystem equilibrium, good luck with that, there ...
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  • 53k
24 votes

Trumpeting while backpacking?

From my perspective, it depends on where you are backbacking/camping. And it's not other humans I would be concerned about primarily. If you are in a very remote setting where there are only very few ...
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  • 1,542
23 votes
Accepted

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

Even for "multi-week" trips, brushing with water alone is not going to compromise your tooth health. The abrasive action of the brush does most of the work, and missing the flouride hit for a few days ...
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  • 18.9k
23 votes
Accepted

What should I do about large trash left by others on USFS land?

When it's unsuitable for removal by your group, contact the relevant authority for that land and let them know the type of litter and its location (pictures and GPS coordinates are helpful). For ...
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22 votes

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). It's naturally occurring, and to get a level of toxicity to animals you would need to get to 450mg per liter. Unless you're operating a mine or using literally tons ...
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  • 2,138
21 votes

Leave-no-trace-exception for tissues?

There are no exceptions to leave no trace. Either you leave a trace, or you do not, the whole point of leave no trace ethics is to make as small an impact on the environment as possible, this means ...
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  • 53k
20 votes

Trail marking material that will last a few years

Before marking any trails, please speak to the forest service or whatever local authority is in charge of the land. They likely have established methods for trail marking that should be followed, and ...
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  • 1,456
19 votes
Accepted

How long does it take for trash to become a historical artifact (in the United States)?

After 50 years, trash becomes protected as a historical artifact. It turns out that while you are not allowed to leave cans behind, you are also not allowed to "clean up" historic cans as they are an ...
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19 votes

What is the Leave No Trace way to dispose of coffee grounds?

The material in Owlcation, Can Caffeine Kill? How It Impacts Animals, Plants, and the Environment, updated June 23, 2018, suggests that the safest thing to do with coffee grounds, relative to the ...
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  • 22.2k
18 votes

When is it OK to hike off trail?

I've hiked all over the USA and the general rule is that on public land, you can hike anywhere you want, unless there are specific rules for a given sensitive area. Generally these rules are posted ...
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18 votes
Accepted

When is it OK to hike off trail?

Leave No Trace I grew up in a place that was surrounded by open wilderness. There are no, "stay on the trail rules" there. After spending a lot of time in Parks, where there are a lot of rules, and ...
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  • 53k
18 votes
Accepted

Can I use a trail camera to identify a roadside litterer?

I personally would rather just set an action camera to record over the timespan the litterer usually comes by. Consumer trail cameras don't usually have great definition - worse than action cameras ...
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  • 4,966
17 votes

Is burying human waste always the lowest-impact solution?

The main reason it's buried is to keep it from washing into water supplies. The ground provides natural filtration, where surface waste is fully exposed to the elements and can flow along the surface ...
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  • 1,325
17 votes

What should I do about large trash left by others on USFS land?

This is what I do: I always have extra carry-bags to keep the trash in. Depending upon what my plan is, if I am coming around the same way back home, I usually pickup everything which shouldn't be ...
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  • 31.5k
16 votes

Can I use a trail camera to identify a roadside litterer?

Yes, this should work, trail cameras are used quite frequently to catch people littering. We know this because a hidden camera caught it all on tape. Juneau police used the footage to find the ...
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15 votes
Accepted

Trail marking material that will last a few years

If you want the quickest way to mark a trail, you could go for forestry marking paint. Some brands will advertize around 5 years of permanence. It requires careful placement of your marks so they are ...
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  • 4,966
14 votes
Accepted

Leave no Trace: Are campfires unethical?

I think this largely depends on the specific area you are traveling in. My approach is to always minimize campfires in the backcountry as a general rule. That being said, if I am in an abundant ...
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  • 1,524
14 votes

Leave no Trace: Are campfires unethical?

Like most activities, campfires aren't simply ethical or unethical. There are only a few things in this world that are always ethical or always unethical. Rather, there are ethical and unethical ways ...
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  • 11.7k

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