We’ve been working on this post for a little while, and realized this
was our New Year’s Resolution, so we should share it sooner rather than later. Happy New Year!
Leave It Better
On a recent road trip, outside of Bend, OR, we were dismayed at what we found. A campsite FULL of trash. Not just a couple beer cans, but lots and lots of trash. Like someone had lived there for a full week, and had just thrown all of their crap in the surrounding woods. It made us so sad and angry that someone had disrespected the land in this way.
As Joan Baez said, “Action is the best antidote for Despair.” So we took action, and cleaned up the campsite. We filled more than two garbage bag’s worth of trash from this small area. It was gross. It smelled bad. For some reason, other people’s trash seems so much more disgusting than your own. But it made us feel better, and it brought back some of the lost beauty in this majestic public forest.
At this point we realized that there is a reason why most campsites cost a fair bit of money- because people tend to wreck them. Whether it’s with litter, by chopping trees down for the campfire, or carving names into the picnic tables. Most campsites cost real money because fixing that damage costs real money. And that fixing doesn’t happen at the free campsites.
That was also the point that we realized we needed to do something more. From now on, whenever we camp at a free campsite, we will clean it up. We are imposing a small tax on ourselves to maintain the public lands that belong to all of us. Challenging ourselves to leave each place in better condition than we found it in. We will do this so that hopefully the next person who comes along will not only enjoy a more beautiful place to sleep, but will also respect the land enough to not add to the clutter. And we are asking you to join us.
Whenever you encounter human impacts in wild spaces, we challenge you to take the time to clean it up, and pack out the trash. While you are enjoying the trails, the beaches, and parks that you love, take a little bit of time and energy to restore that land to its natural state. Help it stay beautiful. Reduce the impact of your fellow explorers.
Leave it better for the next person. Leave it better for the animals and plants that live there. Leave it better for the next generations of adventurers. Leave it better, because we have to do better. If you leave it better, take a photo and send it to us. Better yet, post it on Instagram, tag us, and use hashtag #leaveitbetter. We may just get in touch to send you a token of our appreciation!
We promise to do our best to Leave it better in 2017, and hope you’ll join us!
If you are unfamiliar with the Leave No Trace organization, please visit their website and learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably.