In this week’s post, we are going to address one of our all time biggest pet peeves here at E2 Outdoor Adventures: litter on the trail. Something about finding discarded trash amongst beautiful scenery drives us absolutely crazy. Despite the obvious visual distraction it creates, what gets us most is the fact that, the person or group who left it behind, was obviously out enjoying the very location and scenery in which they then trashed. How could someone who has clearly taken the time and made the effort to get out and enjoy one of our beautiful trails or outdoor destinations, then turn around and leave trash in the very area that they are enjoying? I’m not sure it will ever make sense to me.
Trash is, not only visually disruptive to other outdoor enthusiasts, but potentially harmful to animal and plant life. Any item that is not already naturally occurring in an area should not be added to the environment. If you are someone who has ever left a piece of trash in an outdoor setting, I have to ask why were you in that place or on that trail in the first place? Most likely you were there because it was somewhere you enjoy being, because it was somewhere beautiful, because it helps you relieve stress, stay in shape. Whatever the answer may be, it begs the question, “How could you then leave trash in that very place for others to find?”
Most national, state, and local parks provide numerous opportunities to properly dispose of trash and recyclables. Some of you still might be thinking ‘Yea, but some don’t and I don’t want to put that energy bar wrapper filled with crumbs back in my pocket or bag’. Well, even in parks that do not provide or maintain trash receptacles, packing out your trash is as simple as having a gallon sized ziploc bag to put wrappers and other pieces of trash into. You can then toss this in an appropriate place once you’re back in town or at home. It’s not exactly a complicated or difficult process.
I think what we are basically getting at in this brief rant is that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR LEAVING BEHIND TRASH OR OTHER BELONGINGS WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE. It takes away from the natural beauty and pristine setting that so many of us enjoy when we’re outside.
Outdoor Ethics and Responsibility
Anyone interested in enjoying the outdoors on a regular basis should take the time to familiarize themselves with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and their seven principles. This organization is focused almost entirely on teaching people how to responsibly enjoy venturing outside.
As stewards for outdoor recreation and participation, we must strive to leave every natural environment we enter as untouched and undisturbed as possible. This awareness and respect for the environment helps to maintain the natural state of these places that so many of us enjoy.