Every month in the Center's eNews, we pose a difficult Leave No Trace ethical and skills based situation for readers to comment on. Below is April's situation and a few of your responses.
What Would You Do?
It's a beautiful spring day, so you and your family go for a picnic. Upon arrival, you find your park littered with trash. This seems like a great opportunity to do a little community service, while also teaching your children the importance of the Leave No Trace principle Dispose of Waste Properly. How would you do it?
Here's what you said:
The beach as well! My wife and I spend a lot of time on the beach in Brigantine, NJ and we usually take along a few trash bags. We usually fill them without any difficulty. Such a shame that some much plastic and junk ends up on what is otherwise our favorite outdoor adventure spot.
- Richard Hill
After learning from Dani and Roland my perspective about nature changed a lot more. I was already a responsible hiker. I packed in and packed out. Also I always felt bad when I saw trash. Sometimes I'd pack them out too. I'd leave the fruit peels that other's had left behind, assuming they do not hurt and will decay. They were an eye-sore but I did nothing. Lately in my hikes, I pack out the stuff many leave behind, knowing or unknowingly. I bring back the trash to the trail-head and dispose them responsibly. As person from the eastern half of the globe, I am helping tell my friends there to be responsible and leave no trace. In those places, there are no formal trail-heads but they have learnt to pack out. In any case it is not a great burden to pack out as we leave behind a cleaner environment for future hikers and not disturb nature in its progression.
Children can be very receptive to learning new things, so take advantage of this teachable moment. Trash can pose a danger to wildlife in the area, trash is unsightly and degrades the overall experience in the park. Who wants to have a picnic in an area full of litter?
Take a moment to walk around the park and pick up as much of the trash as possible before your picnic. This opportunity lends itself to educating children about which items can be recycled and which items that are trash. After the trash is picked up, be sure to have everyone wash their hands or provide hand sanitizer, then enjoy a tasty meal in a beautiful and clean park.