Trekking and camping in the mountains have become one of the most popular holiday destinations among people from all walks of life. This is considered the best way to unclutter your mind, relax and enjoy Mother Nature at her best. However, the benefits to Mother Nature and the mountain communities are not necessarily reciprocal.
We cannot stress enough on the ‘Explore not Exploit’ principle that The Western Mountains team strongly believes in. We are committed to decreasing our footprint on the mountains and preserving the natural beauty of the pristine Himalayas. On our trekking programmes, we insist that you cooperate with us to minimize the damage to the environment, respect the wildlife and the mountain communities and keep the mountains litter free.
- Disposing of your trash correctly is one of the most obvious ways of greening your trek. The rule is in a pack in and packs out – be sure to take back everything that you bring in. Our team will provide bags for collecting and disposing of trash too.
- If you see litter left behind by other trekkers, as much as possible, collect and dispose of those too.
- We recommend using reusable cups and plates as opposed to disposable plates and cups. The team will provide you with washing liquid/soap to clean them.
- Dispose of food waste only in the holes dug by The Western Mountains team.
- Given that most treks will not have bathroom facilities, it is important that you properly dispose of the bodily waste. Catholes will be dug by The Western Mountains team at suitable locations away from the campsite. It is recommended that you dispose of your waste in the cathole so that it can biodegrade, animals won’t dig it up and it won’t disturb the other trekkers.
- Toilet papers should also be sparingly used and disposed in the cathole or taken back in the trash bags.
- Be sure to pour any wastewater on dry ground or on any vegetation that you find around the campsite, never pour them into rivers or flowing streams.
- An important lesson that all trekkers should learn is to never leave behind any food crumbs or feed the animals you encounter. Animals may become dependent on them and lose their natural way of procuring food. This will be dangerous too, as they will suffer during offseasons, when there will be no trekkers.
- Leftover food may also attract dangerous animals like bears. This can prove to be dangerous for trekkers.
- Observe wildlife from a suitable distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Do not purchase any souvenirs made of endangered animals or plant life and their byproducts.
- Learn a little about your destination and the people residing there before you start the trip. Be conscious of their culture.
- Ask before taking photos of the local people. This is a simple and common courtesy. 🙂
- Refrain from giving gifts, chocolates, money etc. to the small children you meet. You are setting the wrong expectations for the little ones. And we always tell our kids to not accept things from strangers, don’t we?
- Avoid making any empty promises. Remember it is always OK to say a “No, Thank you” to someone asking for a contribution or some money or your email address. You do not have to oblige to a request just to be polite.
The seven Leave No Trace principles – The universally apply principles in the wilderness
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.