Wilderness Heals

Thank you for visiting the Wilderness Heals blog. Wilderness Heals is an all-women, three-day annual pledge hike that benefits the Elizabeth Stone House (ESH), a Boston-based emergency shelter, transitional housing program, and therapeutic community that provides services to women and children who are escaping violence and overcoming trauma. By encouraging hikers to set challenging physical, emotional, and financial goals, Wilderness Heals mirrors the experiences of hundreds of women who have sought help from the Stone House. Committing to hike is a way to grow personally while simultaneously standing in solidarity with women of the Stone House and women everywhere who are working to overcome the effects of violence in their lives.
Wilderness Heals 2011 will take place July 15-17, 2011. Registration materials may be downloaded here.
Go here to view the 2011 routes, and visit our Who's Who page to meet this year's team leaders and Recruitment Committee members.
Want to learn more? Visit our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Still have questions? Contact Erika Whyte, Wilderness Heals event coordinator, at 781-726-0551 or ewhyte@elizabethstone.org.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Remember to Leave No Trace

Training hikes are officially under way, and that means Wilderness Heals hikers are climbing mountains, summitting 4,000-foot peaks, and--for those who camp--sleeping under the stars. We at the Elizabeth Stone House are committed to protecting the beauty of the White Mountains, and that is why every Wilderness Heals hiker is required to practice low-impact hiking and adhere to the Leave No Trace ethic.

Leave No Trace is a nonprofit national organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research, and partnerships. The program seeks to develop wildland ethics--ways in which people think and act in the outdoors to minimize the impact they have on the areas they visit and to protect our natural resources for future enjoyment.

The Leave No Trace ethic is guided by seven principles:

1. Plan ahead and prepare

• Know the 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.
• Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of four to six.
• Repackage food to minimize waste.
• Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns, or flagging.

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 least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
• Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
• In popular areas:
◦ Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
◦ Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
◦ Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
• In pristine areas:
◦ Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
◦ Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

3. Dispose of waste properly

• Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods, and pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
• Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
• Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
• To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

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.

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 at all times, or leave them at home.
• Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: 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.

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