The outdoor recreational sport has grown at a phenomenal rate from the last 30 years thought the world and it’s a huge challenge to tackle the situation which is leading to the destruction of the pristine mountain slopes and wild places that we love. We as trekkers, Mountaineers, climbers or any sportsperson who is related to the outdoor and wilderness field should not only enjoy the activity that we pursue, we should at the same time take a gander at being a strong environmental advocate for its protection.
For the past few years we have come across trekkers in large volumes of thousands across mountain trails like Roopkund, Chadar, Har-ki-dun, Kedarkanta, Kashmir Great Lakes, etc and numbers keep increasing due to its easy accessibility and also the feel of conquering, social media, and accomplishment bragging which has become a norm among trekkers. We are at a challenging environment at the moment and it’s more important now than ever to have consideration and commitment to Leave No Trace practices in the current scenario where there is an increased pressure on the environment.
There is a proper need for outdoor education and regulation on the impacts created by us and one should be aware of the wide spectrum of knowledge and practices in the outdoors. The human waste generated is one of the major problems in the commercial mountain slopes and the early summer season with the melting of the snow has made the trails and vegetation are around more vulnerable to damage by footprint. It is important for people to find new experiences at different places to reduce the impact as that many trekkers leads to an overkill on the mountains which is not good for the environment.
As an outdoor enthusiasts or a tour operator you can make a mark and follow the principles of LNT irrespective of any organization you travel with, choose the right season to go on the particular slope and do not crowd up the places and overwhelm the locals, and find a right balance between passion for nature and respect for nature. We do hope to work closely with the government bodies to reduce the traffic and have a fixed numbers going on the slopes during seasons. Many who have been in the professional line of trekking and mountaineering have seen the trail increase to 40 to 50 feet wide, it’s important that trekkers walk on known trails and durable surfaces. Some trails have turned so bad that one feels regulation is the only way forward. Your passion for mountain should turn into preservation. Pack out your trash anything larger than a mustard seed, anything that you pack in with you should be packed out with you. It’s not a good site to have degradable stuff lying around as they take months to degrade completely. Use the most durable campsite for your kitchen as that is the place where most of the trampling occurs. It would be a small start and long way to have LNT successfully implement in the wilderness, we should never lose hope and work towards it and inspire others to do the same.