Learn to preserve the Tahoe Rim Trail | SierraSun.com

Learn to preserve the Tahoe Rim Trail

Alex Close
action staff writer

With Earth Day upon us, it may be a good time to reflect on ways we can all help our environment. While trading our SUV in for a bicycle may be a good option (if a little bit extreme with all the rain we’ve been having), the Tahoe Rim Trail Association may be a good place to start. Not only does the TRTA hold training sessions to teach us to be stewards of the wilderness that we enjoy for recreation and beauty, but they also organize trail work days, both at trailheads and in the backcountry. Also taught by the TRTA are the principals of Leave No Trace, a practice that should be utilized by all backcountry and wilderness travelers.

Check out some of the things that we all can do to help keep our favorite places exactly the way they are.

Leave No Trace

(courtesy of http://www.tahoerimtrail.org)

All backcountry users and travelers should make themselves familiar with the practices and skills of Leave No Trace. We all love the backcountry for its natural and pristine beauty, we wouldn’t travel into the wild if it were littered with garbage and trampled by hikers. So remembering the seven principals of Leave No Trace will ensure that those wild places special to all of us remain that way for others and our own future visits.

1) Plan Ahead and Prepare: Know regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use and visit in small groups. Repackage food to minimize waste. Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

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2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Protect riparian areas by camping at lease 200 feet from lakes and streams. Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.

3) Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack it in, pack it out! Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter. Deposit solid human waste in “catholes.” Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. Be sure liquid waste (i.e. urine and soapy water) is deposited at least 200 feet from water and the trail.

4) Leave What you Find: Preserve the past, examine but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.

5) Minimize Campfire Impacts: Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry, use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires. Keep fires small, only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

(Due to forest fire potential in the Tahoe area, open fires including camp stoves may be prohibited. Make sure to call the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at (530) 543-2600 for a permit.)

6) Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times like mating, nesting, raising young or winter.

7) Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail. Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

For more info on Leave No Trace, or for some special tips to preserve our natural playgrounds, visit http://www.tahoerimtrail.org/traillnt

April 29

Look for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) at the Earth Day Festival at the Village at Squaw Valley from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to have questions answered about how you can help make our area trails better, leave no trace practices as well as trail maintenance schedules.

May 20-21

Chainsaw Training: Learn to use a chainsaw to clear brush and make the woods we live in that much healthier. Contact markk@tahoerimtrail.org for information.

June 3

National Trails Day: TRTA partners up with California State Parks at Bliss State Park for some trail work, leading a couple of hikes and doing a children’s event. Campsites at the park are available for those who would like to spend the night.

June 4

XStream Clean the Village: Stream cleanup and education in Incline Village, 775-745-6484 or chris@world2do.com.

June 17

Beginning of Season Workday: Help clean up the trails for the season, erinc@tahoerimtrail.org.

August 4-6

Backcountry Camp: Includes guided hiking, overnight camping and trail work in the backcountry, erinc@tahoerimtrail.org.

Sept. 1-4

Labor Day Weekend Backcountry Camp, erinc@tahoerimtrail.org.

Oct. 14

End of Season Workday, erinc@tahoerimtrail.org.