Skills & Techniques

Take These Tips to the Alpine

Guest - August 16, 2017

Franconia Notch, NH: This unique environment is home to hundreds of species of plants, insects, lichens, and wildlife. The organisms living here are only found in this elevation and environment, making them incredibly rare. When hikers visit during the day or on a backpacking trip, each step we take in the alpine creates the potential for big impacts to sensitive vegetation.

It is up to each and every one of us to do our part while visiting alpine zones. Below are the essential tips and tricks to know for your next adventure in the mountains.

Plan Ahead and Prepare: Pack your map and compass, essential gear items, and plenty of food and water. Check the local rules and regulations for the area you plan to visit, this includes obtaining necessary permits.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: While visiting these areas stick to the trail or bare rock to help protect this beautiful environment. Camping is not permitted above tree line. This will vary in elevation depending on the area you visit, always check the local rules and regulations to know the elevation for your area.

Dispose of Waste Properly: Is nature calling? Catholes belong well below tree line. Consider bringing a WAG bag to pack out human waste. Food and trash waste should always be packed out of the alpine.

Leave What You Find: This includes cairns and rock stacks. In the alpine, cairns are used to mark the trail where paint blazes are not as visible in this rocky environment. Building ones own rock stacks will mislead hikers and add to erosion in this sensitive environment,

Minimize Campfire Impacts: Only build campfires in designated rings where they are allowed. Fires do a lot of damage and prohibited in alpine zones.

Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and pack out all food waste. Pets should always be leashed, to protect them from animals and from harming sensitive vegetation.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Let nature’s sound prevail. If music is part of your experience, use headphones to respect other visitors. Yield to uphill traffic and pass others while using durable surfaces.


Steph & Andy

Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East

Leave No Trace’s Stephanie Whatton and Andy Mossey are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, Smartwool, and Taxa Outdoors.

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