1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
The Center is a member-driven nonprofit that conducts outdoor training programs and also participates in research and “frontcountry” outreach. The Center defines frontcountry as “close-to-home and day-use areas where 90% of our nation’s outdoor recreation occurs.” These areas include open space trails, urban and state parks, and established campgrounds.
But why should these principles be restricted to environments socially constituted as “pristine” areas like wilderness and national parks? As William Cronon, noted professor, environmental historian, and author, says in his article “Trouble with Wilderness,” “The tree in the garden is in reality no less other, no less worthy of our wonder and respect, than the tree in an ancient forest…Both trees stand apart from us; both share our common world.” The various species of flora and fauna in cities are just as vital to our vast, multi-webbed ecosystem as those species in designated wild lands. As an LNT scholar, I am currently conducting research about outdoor ethics in cities and have been discovering how these environmental principles can be applied to urban settings.
For the first principle, I discovered that it is crucial to know the local public bus routes, to bring reusable cups, utensils, and other malware for eating away from home, and to eat smaller meals so that food is not wasted. By walking your dog on a leash and traveling on durable surfaces, such as sidewalks, pavement, and gravel, instead of sensitive sites with vegetation, such as the grassy medians between sidewalks and roads or lawn areas, you can follow the principle of traveling and camping on durable surfaces. You can dispose of waste properly by carrying your trash, including cigarette butts and dog feces, to a trash can in a paper bag, and pick up other trash you find along the way. Leave what you find by refraining from marring trees and keeping natural artifacts untouched, and minimize campfire impacts by shutting off lights in rooms that aren’t in use. Respect wildlife by keeping your cat indoors (so they don’t prey on wildlife), and don’t feed the wildlife. And, lastly, be considerate of others by having an empathetic and open mind when engaging with those around you.
In conclusion, keep throwing those cigarette butts in the trash, keep your kitty inside, and keep picking up after your dog. The urban ecosystem needs you now more than ever.
William Cronon “Trouble with Wilderness”: http://www.williamcronon.net/writing/Trouble_with_Wilderness_Main.html