Summertime calls for travelling and exploring new places. In Canada, a popular place to visit includes provincial and national parks. As tourists spend the season visiting Canada’s natural scenery, it is vital to do this in a sustainable manner.
While the act of touring provincial and national parks may sound harmless, large amounts of visitors in these areas can cause more harm than good. These issues include damage and disruption to habitats and ecosystems by littering, invading wildlife spaces, and physically changing elements of natural settings. So how can we prevent this damage? Let’s learn about the sustainable practices that Canada’s parks have in place.
The Leave No Trace Ethics (LNT) is a widely used program that works as a set of rules detailing how visitors should behave in a natural setting in order to create the least amount of harm and disturbance to the given environment and ecosystem (Blye & Halpenny, 2020). Without these guidelines, an influx of visitors in a natural setting can often lead to serious damages such as soil erosion and habitat loss due to people’s actions (Blye & Halpenny, 2020). The Leave No Trace Ethics has seven key principles and this includes the following (“The seven principles of Leave No Trace”, 2022).
The first principle of the Leave No Trace Ethics is to Plan Ahead and Prepare. This includes knowing rules and access rights from beforehand, exploring the less busy areas of the park, and packing food in reusable containers.
The second principle is Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. This relates to finding trails and areas with surfaces such as rock and dry grass rather than making new trails and sites by changing existing natural areas.
The third principle is Dispose of Waste Properly which relates to bringing back everything that was brought rather than leaving it behind or burning it in a campfire.
The fourth principle is Leave What You Find which is about not changing the natural environment by taking certain elements such as rocks.
The fifth principle is Minimize Campfire Impacts which focuses on containing fires so that they do not spread and harm surrounding elements.
The sixth principle is Respect Wildlife. This is a very important principle because it is important for humans to be mindful that they are within animals’ habitats. Actions relating to this principle include watching wildlife from a distance as well as not disrupting any animals especially during sensitive periods such as nesting.
Lastly, the seventh principle is Be Considerate of Other Visitors. As important as it is to respect the wildlife in these areas, people should also be courteous of other visitors through actions such as making way for people passing by the same hiking trail.
By having parks strongly enforce the Leave No Trace Ethics for all visitors to learn, this can educate people on the importance of conserving the nature around them. Greater increase in the use of the Leave No Trace Ethics can also result in less damage to the places we must preserve for generations to come (“The seven principles of Leave No Trace”, 2022) . The specialty of the Leave No Trace Ethics is that it does not only need to be applied to when one is visiting a park, but can be applied to one’s daily lifestyle and how to be more environmentally conscious (Black, 2022).
Black, J. (2022, April 17). The leave no trace principles explained. Wilderness Redefined. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://wildernessredefined.com/leave-no-trace/
Blye, & Halpenny, E. (2020). Do Canadians Leave No Trace? Understanding Leave No Trace attitudes of frontcountry and backcountry overnight visitors to Canadian provincial parks. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 29, 100258–. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jort.2019.100258
The seven principles of Leave No Trace: Leave No Trace Canada. Leave No Trace | Sans trace Canada. (2022, June 17). Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://leavenotrace.ca/the-seven-principles-of-leave-no-trace/
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