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Backpacker Magazine – June 2001

Leave No Trace: Mind Your Footprint

Take a look at what your sole is doing to the ground.

by: John Harlin


Take a look at what your sole is doing to the ground. On a packed-dirt trail, chances are you can't even find your boot track. But on wet trails or tundra, or off-trail, every step can leave an unsightly gash. In those places, step on rocks, tough vegetation, firm soil, and snow. If you see an unmarked, bare-dirt trail, use it; otherwise try not to walk where other people have stepped. Avoid cutting into sidehills; if your treads expose fresh dirt, seek tougher ground. Be even more careful along stream banks and in other erosion-prone areas. Treat footfalls as what they are: blows to the earth that can leave a bruise, or even an open wound.



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