Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat is a supporter of Leave No Trace Australia and provide these seven principles as a guide to minimise the impact of your visit to the natural and cultural heritage areas of Australia.
Plan ahead and prepare – Plan ahead by considering the goals of yourself and your group. Prepare by gathering local information. Communicate and acquire the technical skills and first aid knowledge or equipment to make the trip a success. Be prepared to sit tight or turn back if you sense danger or sustain and injury and don’t abandon the Leave No Trace techniques for the sake of safety. Poor planning can turn a healthy enjoyable bush walk into a risky encounter. Prevent incidents by obtaining knowledge ahead of time this is an easier solution.
Travel on durable surfaces – Unfortunately trampling causes vegetation damage and soil erosion in virtually every environment, it also destroys habitat for animals. Recovery that takes a year in some environments may take 25 in others. Concentrate use on designated tracks and established picnic grounds and minimise disturbances to soils and vegetation. What effect will your footstep have?
Dispose of waste properly – Any user of recreational lands has a responsibility to clean up before they leave. Animals scavenging a meal from a tasting smelling morsel can ingest bits of packaging damaging their digestive system. Plastic bags, fishing lines, plastic six pack holders, cans and bottles can kill or maim wildlife, so be very careful not to leave any rubbish behind.
Leave what you find – People visit natural areas for many reasons, among them to explore nature’s mysteries and surprises. When we leave rocks, shells, plants, feathers, fossils, artefacts and other objects of interest as we find them, we pass the gift of discovery onto those who follow. It’s the missing elements of our favourite places that disturb us the most. Let’s retain the special qualities of every wilderness area for the long term.
Minimise campfire impact – Wildfire destroys thousands of kilometres of bush each year in Australia. Many of these are either carelessly or accidently set by uniformed travellers. Setting controlled fires by trained personnel is designed to reduce the amount of fuel in the forest understorey to decrease the chance of uncontrolled hot fires and to regenerate growth. Uncontrolled wildfires can spread rapidly and result in the critical loss of natural habitat, property and life.
Respect wildlife – Encounters with wildlife inspire tall tales and long moments of wonder. Unfortunately wildlife around the world faces threats from loss and fragmentation of habitat, invasive species, pollution, over exploitation, poaching and disease. All species are to some extent affected by people visiting their habitats. We are responsible for co-existing peacefully with wildlife.
Be conscious of your hosts and other visitors – There is simply not enough country for every category of enthusiast to have exclusive use of land, wilderness, trails, bush, rivers, lakes and day use grounds. Yet the subject of outdoor etiquette is often neglected. We are reluctant to examine our personal behaviours, least of all in the wilderness where, to many, a sense of freedom is paramount.
Take only photos and memories and leave only footprints and friends