Monday, April 26, 2010

Leave No Trace

After a wild weekend in the outdoors (wild due to the three children on site), I've been struggling all morning with what to write about in regards to our weekend.  There are SO many things to say about yet another fabulous trip to the desert with friends and family.  The desert, in one word, is breathtaking.  Its ability to withstand the harsh, challenging climate and lack of water instills a strong exterior.  However, once you experience the desert and get to know more about its ecosystem, you begin to see its fragility.  It is definitely a place to be revered.

As difficult as it was, and always is, to say good bye to the desert due to my deep love and respect for it , I couldn't help but think about the condition of our campsite where we spent the majority of our time. 

Set up against...literally...sandstone cliffs, our little camping area was decorated with every sandstone hue imaginable, plants and little lizards, with smooth pockets carved out of the mountain from water and wind erosion...just enough for our little ones to explore and crawl through.  It was BEAUTIFUL.
However, the ground with which we stepped in every direction and where our babies played was littered with leftover debris from the thousands of previous campers.   Not to mislead you in any way, I must say that upon seeing it it wasn't like you could see garbage all over the place.  But once you got out of your car and walked around a large communal area where there was clear evidence of large campfires, you could see small pieces of broken glass, rusty old nails, and pieces of metal EVERYWHERE.  It was a tragic sight, to say the least.

So in an effort to ensure a safe environment for our children, and to begin to instill good environmental ethics on our wee ones, we began to pick up the glass shards and rusty nails and throw them in trash bags to haul out with us at the end of our trip.  (And when I say us I mean my friends Jessika and Brandon because they were kind enough AND have a truck guys rock:) 

Although I know that the site of our weekend getaway was in better shape when we left than the way it was when we found it, I still can say that it's a far cry from where it needs to be.  So what I want to leave with you all is this:

Please please please practice environmental ethics when you go camping this summer.  Remember the Leave No Trace Principles you learned as a child (or as an adult like me).  Take into consideration your lasting affects on the environment and what you are leaving for your children and your children's children to see and experience.  It's easy and you can even make it a fun activity for children to be involved in!  My son LOVED to help remove an old campfire by throwing the rocks in other directions.  Make it a goal to do something good for the environment and the earth while you are knee deep experiencing the beauty she has to offer.

 The earth and its inhabitants thank you for it!

~Mommy Bridget

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