MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Summer 2018

22 MLCM SUMMER 2018 BACKCOUNTRY ETIQUETTE FOR DUMMIES words :: Feet Banks illustrations :: Dave Barnes We firmly believe that everyone who ventures into the wilderness of the Coast Mountains will come back a better person... but only if everyone understands the basic etiquette of proper backcountry behaviour. Garbage, dog-poo bags and human-caused forest fires are very real problems that are only getting worse. Rather than assume the hills are alive with assholes, we’re hoping the problem is that some people just don’t know how to act out there. And we’re here to help. ETHICS #1 LEAVE NO TRACE This is basic human behaviour and total common sense, but it seems like it needs to be said again. If you carry something, anything, into the backcountry, it’s on you to carry it out. Mother Nature is not actually your mom, so grow up and act right. #2 DOG POO IS STILL POO Even if you put it in a biodegradable bag, that dog poo still needs to be carried out and disposed of properly. Leaving it trailside, or in a pile at the trailhead is not okay. There is no such thing as poo fairies with wands that make your crap disappear. #3 GARBAGE BEAR = DEAD BEAR Sure, those food scraps you left in the bushes at camp will probably decompose in a few months, but it’s more likely they’ll attract a bear first. Same goes for that cooler you left out in the open, or the unattended trash bag. A bear that equates humans with food can become dangerous. A garbage bear is a dead bear. #4 BE PREPARED This is the Boy Scout motto, but it works for adults too. Coast Mountains weather plays by no rules and changes its mind often. Wise hikers bring a little extra food/water, some warm/waterproof clothes and a headlamp with fresh batteries. The mountains are in charge; be prepared.