Leave No Trace + Geocaching + Kettle

Altaconey River, Nephin Beg mountains.

Altaconey River, Nephin Beg mountains.

I was up the Altaconey River in the Nephin Begs last Sunday with my Kelly’s Kettle, having just located a pretty easy geocache nearby. Feeding small twigs into the kettle, I began to wonder what Leave No Trace’s (LNT) opinion might be of both the kettle and geocaching as a pasttime. 

I was confident of what LNT would say about the Kelly’s Kettle and other similar products, for the simple reason that I use it properly and do not leave a trace behind me. 

Use it properly ? What does that entail ? Well, I don’t break twigs or pine cones off trees, but use what is already on the ground. And I don’t lie the kettle on ground that might get burned or scorched, but use rocks or sand, where there is some. And I don’t discard the burnt materials afterwards, but pack them away. 

I was much less sure about geocaching. Why ? Because, even if I come across a geocache, pay my respects, maybe do a swap of what’s in it for something new, nevertheless, this is still a (typically) plastic item in the natural environment – an imposter, if you will. 

So here is the reply I got from Boulder, CO, USA, with which I’m happy : 

———————————————- 

Hello,
Thank you for your inquiries via Twitter.  In reference to your Kelly’s Kettle question:

This is similar to the http://www.zzstove.com/, which is a stove that uses natural combustible material (pine cones, twigs, leaves, etc.) and burns them in a very controlled way. It’s essentially like a fire in a can. 


Our position is that as long as it’s used in accordance with local land manager regulations, it’s both safe and responsible to have a fire (i.e. an open flame even if contained) and there are appropriate and readily available fuel sources, then we have no issue with this stove. Our only additional recommendation would be to follow our standard guidelines about minimizing campfire impacts since this device utilizes open flame. 
Regarding geocaching (from our FAQ page – http://lnt.org/aboutUs/FAQs.php#geocaching):

WHAT IS THE CENTER’S STANCE ON GEOCACHING?
 

The Center views geocaching as a fun and worthwhile recreational pursuit when done in accordance with land management agency regulations and with Leave No Trace in mind. As the popularity of geocaching has exploded over the past few years, land managers in many areas are seeing more impacts related to geocaching. However, because of geocaching, more and more people are enjoying the outdoors. Both people placing caches and people seeking caches need to research current regulations on geocaching for the areas where they wish to partake in this activity. 

The Center also has geocaching-specific information https://store.lnt.org/teach> .

Thanks again for your questions.  We appreciate the dialogue.

All the best,

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
PO Box 997
Boulder, CO 80306
P:  303.442.8222 X109
F:  303.442.8217
http://www.LNT.org
http://www.leavenotracecommunity.blogspot.com
 

More Leave No Trace Events

I’m delighted to announce the following dates and venues for more small scale Leave No Trace (LNT) Awareness training workshops.

Thursday, July 2 – Westport.

Thursday, July 9 – Athleague.

Tuesday, July 14 – Letterfrack.

Thursday, July 16 – Boyle.

Tuesday, July 21 – Gort.

Thursday, July 23 – Benwiskin.

All awareness training events will be held outdoors, with an element of indoors only if the weather isn’t so good. Even if the weather isn’t so good, there will still be outdoors time involved, so do come prepared.

Most of all, come prepared for some fun in the great Irish outdoors. You will learn about the Seven Principles of the LNT outdoors ethics programme and leave with your LNT Awareness Certificate.

For more info and to book your place at a venu close to you, call me on 086 – 8318748 , or email info [at] tourismpure [dot] com.

The Garden of Ireland

On Monday of this week, I was lucky enough to find myself in Wicklow – a rare trip across the country to The Garden of Ireland.

 

U-nail studded railway sleeper boardwalk at The Wicklow Gap

U-nail studded railway sleeper boardwalk at The Wicklow Gap

Over the Wicklow Gap I went, down through Laragh, with its wonderful broadleaf and well-spaced conifer forests and on towards Glenealy, to the beautiful and serene organic farm at Carraig Dúlra.

On their plot up on the hill, with impressive Red Kites soaring overhead, Mike and Suzie Cahn deliver organic farming training, specialising in how to grow fruit and vegetables. Indeed, my friend Tina Pommer, from Leitrim, will be giving a talk and walk on mushrooms over there sometime this coming autumn.

 

Coniferous forest with good ground vegetation at Laragh

Coniferous forest with good ground vegetation at Laragh

I was there to deliver an awareness course in Leave No Trace. I had a lovely day and would really recommend getting up to Carraig Dúlra, taking a practical, educational and, above all, interesting course in the outdoors of whichever type you prefer yourself. Mike and Suzie are excellent hosts, so you’ll have a great day.

 

 

 

Suzie talks about vegetable growing, Carraig Dúlra, Glenealy

Suzie talks about vegetable growing, Carraig Dúlra, Glenealy

Visit Carraig Dúlra’s website here.

Visit Leave No Trace Ireland here.

Tourism and Travel

“We stopped in Fiji, Wellington, Sydney, Perth, etc., etc.”

International tourism now makes up around 30% of all international services trade and is valued at some $ 900 billion p.a. People do love to tell others where they’ve been and what they’ve seen. Here in Ireland, you’re just a bit passé if you haven’t been to either New Zealand or Australia. You’re most definitely of a different era if you haven’t had a few beers in Manhattan.

Almost by definition, you have to travel quite a distance to be a tourist – or at least one with a certain coolness. It’s not by accident that Ryanair has developed into Europe’s largest airline. “Give it to them and they will come” might be their motto. Put on the routes and they will be filled.

But therein lies a conundrum for so-called ecotourism and sustainable tourism.

I’ve mentioned this before and I keep coming back to it in my own head. You only have to look at The Galapagos story. If tourists travel, damage will follow. Of that, there can be no doubt. Clearly, if tourists do not travel to areas of pristine beauty, then the pristine beauty stands a much better chance of survival.

Should tourism be limited to places which have already suffered its consequences ?

Bialowieza National Park in Poland famously boasts its Strict Reserve, into which tourists may only enter with a registered guide. But enter they may.

There are truly wonderful initiatives out there, such as Leave No Trace, of which I am a trainer, trying to limit peoples’ impacts. But by times, I have to ask myself if the best way of leaving no trace would not simply be to stay out altogether.

On the other hand, I know that this is purely theoretical. The reality is that man has spread his tentacles all over the planet. Even into Antarctica. We travel to a given place ‘because it’s there’. Siberia will soon realise this and become a major nature and adventure tourism destination.

So, given that we will continue to travel, I guess we might as well try to do so in a reasonable fashion that doesn’t damage the environment as much as other forms of tourism.

Maybe we don’t need to pollute an area’s water table. Maybe we don’t need to exploit all the local workers with miserable wages and poor working conditions. Maybe we don’t need to force our western culture upon a destination. Maybe we don’t need to take that high powered motor boat out on the lovely lake. Maybe we don’t need to throw our litter around. Maybe we don’t need a sex slave. Maybe we don’t need to stay in a five star hotel cossetted away from the local life brimming outside the gated property.

So ecotourism (or at least sustainable tourism) is probably, on the balance of it, a positive notion. We will travel, so let’s make an effort at least. But unless its promoters and service providers are completely serious and authentic about reducing their impacts on the environment, it might just be make-believe for those of us who feel the need to tick the boxes for Perth, Windhoek and so on.

Leave No Trace

I was delighted to be able to take my place on a Leave No Trace Trainer Course at the weekend.

I became aware of LNT over the last year and immediately wanted to get involved, particularly as a trainer. Leading walking groups to various remote spots in the West of Ireland and Poland, I have been conscious of not leaving traces of our presence behind us. But I wanted a structure and a “Cert” to my name would be even better.

LNT originates in the US and has at its core seven principles. They are :

1. Plan ahead and prepare;

2. Be considerate of others;

3. Respect farm animals and wildlife;

4. Travel and camp on durable ground;

5. Leave what you find;

6. Dispose of waste properly;

7. Minimise the effects of fire.

I like it because it’s simple, practical and clear. Thanks to Úna and Aodhnait for a good time.

Visit http://www.leavenotraceireland.org/