Leave No Trace in Advertising

I’ve been shopping for new gear for 2016 and something is bugging me…

So here’s my call out to manufacturers and users of tents and sleeping bags and camp stoves and other camping gear. All outdoor folk who love nature. (Hopefully that includes you.)

Stop advertising gear with images that clearly violate the Leave No Trace ethic.

Stop glamorizing these violations.

Instead, set great examples of people camping using LNT principles.

Dude. What are you talking about?!

More specifically, I’m talking about images of camps set up right on the sides of lakes. They’re so pretty, but they’re so… wrong.

Please stop posting photographs of tents pitched less than 200 feet from idyllic lakes. Less than 100 feet from lakes. Less than 50 feet from lakes!

What’s the problem with camping near water?

I’d like to camp right by the water. It doesn’t seem like it’d be a problem if it was just me, just one time, but I’ve got to remember there are over 6 billion people on this planet, and that most outdoor destinations are targeted destinations. I won’t be the only one. I’m not an exception.

Camping near water disturbs delicate riparian areas, disrupts animal routines, causes erosion, and contributes pollution in the form of thoughtless habitual acts such as urinating, washing, and perhaps small bits of escaped litter. What seems like a trivial decision can have big impact, especially as more people come afterwards.

Imagine that beautiful lakeside campsite, how pristine it looked the first time you saw it, several years down the line after many other people have used that same site. It just won’t be the same. In fact, it won’t be the only one along the shore! It could take decades to rehabilitate that lakeshore back to pristine.

Leave No Trace clearly specifies we should camp 200 feet from water sources.

Even if camping 200 feet from a lake, try to minimize trips to the water’s edge for water and take different routes if needing to visit more than once. It’s important to not trample vegetation at the water’s edge. When washing, remember even biodegradable soap is polluting, and soapy, dirty water should be disposed of away from water sources, preferably buried in a small hole. Pooping and peeing needs to be done 200 feet from the water, too.

Special considerations are made for river travelers:

River corridors are narrow strips of land and water with little room to disperse human activities. Campsites are often designated. It is generally best to camp on established sites located on beaches, sandbars, or non-vegetated sites below the high-water line. See more at: https://lnt.org/learn/principle-2#sthash.KdIdddNV.dpuf

Where are the pictures you’re talking about?

I’m not going to call out specific names, and I cannot share images because I would be breaking copyrights. But look around. You’ll know it when you see it.

Start setting better examples! I hope we see fewer and fewer of these incriminating photographs as time passes.