Preserving Winter Wonderlands (blog & twitter)

By: Stephanie Whatton, Yukon Charlie’s Trailblazer

Steph Whatton Winter WonderlandIt’s cold, it’s crisp and the pines are bundled under a thick blanket of snow. Today is the kind of day that inspires snowmen and mugs of hot chocolate by the window. For winter lovers, these are the kind of days we live for. Frosty temps and snowflakes falling from the sky are like nature’s promise that our natural world is inspirational and is just waiting to be explored.

Most times that Andy and I go out into the wilderness we may see one or two other people on the trail. It seems like we have the entirety of nature to ourselves. It’s perfect, but don’t let us fool you. The amount of people getting out exploring our natural world these days is increasing as the snow falls and seasons begin to change. Wintertime offers a whole new world of exploration, which is why it is crucial for everyone to play in these winter wonderlands in a responsible way. Have you ever taken time to think about the impacts that you might leave behind while on your winter adventure? Sure, it may not be a big deal if I am the only one who is out there but that’s simply not the case any longer.

By following the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and these tips and tricks, we can all help to protect these beautiful winter wonderlands that we are so fortunate to explore.

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Repackaging your food to minimize waste will help to avoid leaving, or burning trash.
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Stick to the trails to avoid trampling vegetation, and encouraging others to follow your tracks.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack it in, pack it out. Anything you bring with you, bring home with you or toss in proper disposal bins.
  4. Leave What You Find: Antler sheds, artifacts, and other items play an important role in nature. Removing these items can interrupt the ecology of the area.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Only build fires in designated fire rings. Avoid burning trash and consider the use of a backpacking stove for cooking.
  6. Respect Wildlife: The wintertime is an especially vulnerable time for wildlife. Keep a safe distance, and avoid feeding them as this can cause them to rely on human food for survival.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Saying, “hello” has the potential to brighten someone’s day. When traveling downhill yield to people climbing up.

Leave No Trace is a simple and effective way for us to give back to nature. After all, snowflakes are a valuable resource these days. Happy Trails!