Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeOutdoorsLovin Lake County Partners with Leave No Trace

Lovin Lake County Partners with Leave No Trace

The incredible forests and waterways here in Lake County are some of the most pris­tine wilderness found in the lower 48 states. Still rich in natural resources and beauty. The opportunities are endless for outdoor sports, adventure and exploration. Nowadays, hav­ing access to clean water and the ability to enjoy vast expanses of wilderness is an honor and a privilege in an ever expanding world of distractions and development. This is why many of us live here, and why so many more like to visit. It is these forests and rivers that have fed families in this region for centuries. The northern plants and animals that call it home have taken care of us, and we must be sure to take care of them in return.

This is why Lovin’ Lake County has joined forces with the Leave No Trace organization which helps to educate and inform the public about how to best enjoy the land and make the least amount of impact on it, ensuring its health and preservation for years to come. “We feel like it’s an important part of tourism in Lake County. Having that balance between the tourists and the locals. Respecting where people are and getting the word out about be­ing a good steward of the land when they are here visiting,” comments Michelle Peterson, Director of Communications and Outreach at Lovin’ Lake County. “We have a lot of pri­vate property that butts up to public property with trails so the education piece feels im­portant to have. Educate our locals as well as the folks that are visiting.”

Leave No Trace lives by seven main prin­ciples.

Plan and Prepare

Planning and preparing for a trip can help ensure the safety of groups and individu­als. Planning minimizes resource damage, and increases self-confidence and opportu­nities for learning more about nature while out there. Anticipating the needs of your trip helps it to be as low impact as possible for not only you, but also the land and animals.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Durability refers to the fragility of vegetation and soil and its ability to withstand wear or remain in a stable condition. Always travel on designated trails, they have been developed and placed with consideration of the least amount of erosion and impact to the natural environment.

Dispose of Waste Properly
Proper disposal of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water sources, avoid the negative implications of someone else finding it, and to minimize the possibility of spreading dis-ease and maximize the rate of decomposition.  Burying human feces in the correct manner is the most effective method to meet these criteria.  Dig a “cat hole” at least 200 feet from water sources and about 6 to 8 inches deep.  “Pack it in, Pack it out” is a familiar mantra for seasoned campers.  This means, bring absolutely every-thing you came with back out of the forest with you when you leave.  Including cigarette buts, cans, bags, fishing line, and any food waste.  You can make a fun game with the kids to see if they can find any signs of humans before leaving your camping site.  Make sure to wash dishes at least 200 feet from the water’s shore.  Use biodegradable environmentally safe soap/insect repellent, and sunscreens as well to protect the integrity of our beautiful clean fresh water. 

Leave What You Find
Leave areas as you found them. Do not dig trenches for tents, hammer nails into trees for hanging things, or over harvest natural plants.

Minimize Campfire Impacts
What is the fire danger for the time of year and the location you have selected?  Use a camp stove if there is fire danger.  Never leave fire unattended and burn the wood to white ash. Be sure to completely extinguish the fire with water before leaving the site.  Pack out any campfire liter such as foil.

Respect Wildlife
Do not disturb wildlife or plants for a “better look”.  Please observe from a distance and do not scare the animal causing them to use import-ant energy stores when fleeing. If you find a sick or injured animal contact the local DNR.  Never feed wildlife and be sure to pack out any food waste/trash. 

Be Considerate of Others
Many people come out to the woods to listen to nature so please limit excessive loud music or noise.   A general assumption on a narrow trail is that hikers headed downhill will step aside to allow an uphill foot traveler to easily pass.  Be aware of your group and the impact it is having on your surroundings.

Each and every one of these principles are important to remember to help keep Lake County a clean and beautiful wild place.  There will be QR codes posted around the area, at dog waste stations, trash cans etc… that people can scan and be directed to more information around Leave No Trace principles.  “We will keep on furthering our involvement in this.  To help with community garbage clean ups and other com-munity events with local businesses involved,” says Michelle.

Visit the Lovin Lake County website at https://lovinlakecounty.com/ to take the Leave No Trace pledge and receive a free sticker and North Shore hiking guide.  There are also some short cartoons and songs about what we can do to keep the place we love a healthy place for all. Leave No Trace has TONS of useful information on their website at  https://lnt.org/ .  You can find Volunteering opportunities, training and workshops, education materials, events and lots more.

“This is a new partnership that we intend to keep building on.  This is a mission to make sure that Lake County is kept clean, healthy and beautiful for many many years to come,”  Michelle says.

Katee Rose
Katee Rose
Katee Rose grew up on the Great Lakes in upstate New York. She left home on a bicycle and embarked on a cross country trip to California following her graduation from college. This trip was the beginning of many more that eventually landed her in countries across Europe, Canada, Mexico and Central America. Learning the cultures, cuisines, history and traditions from the communities she’s spent time in around the world. Katee is passionate about community and social justice movements. As well as engaging with many forms of art and music. For the past 5 years she has called the North Shore home and has been enjoying homesteading a small slice of land in the Northwoods. She is involved in many community efforts around local food, building capacity for a more sustainable future and supporting the elders in the area.
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