With the rise in popularity of outdoor recreation has come an increasing risk of damage to the natural environment. Fortunately along with the increasing number of walkers a new bushwalking ethic has also developed. The minimum impact philosophy is now being widely adopted for of bushwalking and expeditioning in Australia.
Look for low impact campsites, sandy or hard surfaces are better than boggy or vegetated areas. Where possible camp at an existing campsite rather than creating a new one. If a campsite does not exist camp at least 50 metres away from watercourses and the track. Spend only one or two nights at such a campsite. With modern camping equipment you should leave a campsite looking as if you have never been there.
Use only existing [and safe] fireplaces and remember that compared to campfires fuel stoves are faster, cleaner and a lot easier to use in wet weather. If you need to use a fire for cooking or warmth use an existing fireplace. Collect only deadwood and keep the fire small.
NOTE: Be aware of fire bans and restrictions and how they relate to the use of stoves.
Remember detergents, tooth paste and soap [even biodegradable types] harm fish and water life. Wash 50 metres away from lakes and streams and scatter the wash water so that it will filter through the soil before returning to the stream. Avoid putting food scraps into streams or lakes. Do not wash-up directly under the tap of a rainwater tank. Under no circumstances wash in stock troughs on pastoral properties.
Pack to minimise rubbish and avoid carrying potential rubbish such as bottles, cans and excess wrappings. Do not burn, bash or bury rubbish as this disturbs the soil and the rubbish is likely to be dug up and scattered by animals. Carry out all your rubbish.
NOTE: If you come across other people’s rubbish pick that up too.
Where there is a toilet please use it; in areas without toilets bury your faecal waste. Choose a spot at least 100 metres away from campsites and watercourses and dig a hole 15 cm deep within the soil’s organic layer [a hand trowel is useful for this] and bury all faecal waste.