Leave No Trace

Garbage by collected by the smokies mountains national park sign.  Leave No Trace

There are some things in this world I will never understand such as quantum physics, Fellini movies, and people who throw trash out of their cars into our National Parks.  I’m a firm believer in the Leave No Trace philosophy – take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

With the pandemic now looming over us for the second-year, record numbers of people are flooding into our National Parks.  Our beloved Smoky Mountains National Park saw record numbers last year with over 12.5 million visitors.  With them they brought record trash. Just look at the roadsides, littered with fast food bags, beer cans, cigarette butts and more.  I can honestly say that I’ve never in my life finished my Egg McMuffin, Hash Browns and Coffee and tossed the bag out my car window. Especially if I’m driving though one of our countries crown jewel parks.  Let me just take a moment and ask…WHAT ARE YOU THINKING YOU MORONS?

The roadsides are just part of it, just look at our trails again littered with junk food wrappers and plastic water bottles, beer cans and in one case a washing machine.  Yes, you read that right, a washing machine. 

Discarded washing machine in the back of a pick up truck. Leave No Trace

Back in the day (FLASHBACK!) when I was a Boy Scout leader.  We always hiked with a plastic bag and we’d all pick up garbage when we found it.  One of our Scouting principles was “Always leave it better than you found it”.

Leave No Trace is an organization that believes in that premise of leaving it better than you found it and is built around seven principles

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impact
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

 How nice it would be if everyone would adopt those seven basic Leave No Trace principles.

Save our Smokies Members
Members of Save Our Smokies

Through every storm there is a ray of light and in this case it’s a group of people that have formed an organization called Save Our Smokies.  These devoted people have been organizing cleanup efforts in and around the park. It’s astounding the amount of trash they are taking out of the park on a regular basis.

Let all of us do our part in keeping the Smokies clean, if you brought it in take it out…don’t litter.  If you’re an artist that’s great go home and paint something but don’t put graffiti on the park signs, structures, benches or landmarks. Be considerate to the other visitors, the volunteers and the wildlife. Let’s all do our part and Leave No Trace.

Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

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