it inPack it out... Please!
The importance of being responsible
for your garbage
Anger! Disgust! These three emotions
describe how I feel about the garbage
I find all too often on wilderness canoeing
trips and in the backcountry in general.
doesn't seem to be as bad on backpacking
trips maybe because the Leave-No-Trace
way of doing things is more prevalent
among members of the backpacking community.
Still, it never ceases to amaze me.
Even in places where there are strict
can and bottle bans I still find these
items. The lack of care is plain inconsiderate.
events are to be applauded, it is upsetting
to me that this garbage is left in the
wilderness in the first place. Organizations
such as Leave-No-Trace and the Algonquin
Backcountry Recreationalists can make
a big difference but no matter how hard
they work to educate, there are still
some out there who don't really care.
They are fine to let others pick up
their garbage and what-not.
has packed out quite a bit of other
people's leavings too. We've found good
items like sandals, a fishing pole,
life jackets and such but we've also
found our share of crap. Some of this
garbage was quite dangerous. For
example my son, who was four at the
time, found a broken juice bottle on
a campsite trail. The same summer, in
a different area, my friend discovered
an empty peach can that had been left
lying on the trail to the privy with
the cut lid sticking straight up. Someone
could have been seriously injured.
One of the
worst sites was in a park where there
are wooden privies on the wilderness
campsites. I was shocked to find that
the couple we had met with their beautiful
baby a few hours earlier had left the
privy completely full to the lid with
disposable diapers. Judging from the
amount of diapers the couple had been
there for several days maybe even a
week. These will not biodegrade and
for sanitation reasons, lack of a big
enough garbage bag and because we were
on the first day of an eight day excursion,
I couldn't pack out what had been left.
Incidentally the area uses a reservation
system and I reported the issue to the
rangers. They had already been notified
and had arranged for a clean-up but
there was no recourse for the couple
that left the diapers behind. I have
a young baby and would never be so lazy
as to leave her diapers behind for someone
else to deal with.
laziness of some folks appalls me. Would
it be too much to ask that if people
pack something in, that they pack it
by Laurie March
Photos courtesy of Bryan and Laurie