The concept of “Leave No Trace” originated in the United States. During the 1960s and 1970s, hiking and camping in the wild became popular among American people. The increasing number of visitors also resulted in damage to the countryside. The government and environmental groups started to carry out public education, and gradually developed the concept of “Leave No Trace”.
It is noteworthy that “Leave No Trace” is not a definite set of rules that hikers have to follow. It offers suggestions for hikers to build up habits and attitudes that show respect for nature.
Lacking proper planning and preparation often leads to adverse impact on the environment. If you plan ahead, you can greatly minimise damage to the countryside and ensure your safety.
Natural surfaces (such as vegetation and soil) are easily damaged by repeated stepping or camping. Once damaged, the surface may gradually and irreversibly turn into badland, due to soil erosion and loss of vegetation. This is the reason that trails on Sharp Peak get wider and wider and Tap Mun grassland is becoming hard soil.
Bring your own rubbish back. There are no more rubbish bins along the trails in Hong Kong country parks. Although there are still rubbish bins at picnic and camping sites, it is best for visitors to take all their rubbish back to the city.
No, no and no! Many people think that organic litter can be easily naturally decomposed and so it is ok to throw away at any place. The fact is, it takes a very long time for even a small piece of fruit peel to decompose, and there may be pesticide residues that harm nature. Tissue, on the other hand, is generally processed and bleached, and so is not biodegradable.
"Take nothing but photographs, keep nothing but memories." Do not take away anything from nature, not even a dried twig or a single shell. Leave rocks and other natural objects as you find them. Do not stack up rocks. Let others appreciate nature in its original form, and avoid interfering with the microhabitats by moving natural objects.
Making a fire in the wild may cause a hill fire. The heat produced will also harm the natural environment, for example, blackening stones or vegetation, which affects plant growth and the landscape.
The countryside is home for wildlife. Do not disturb wild animals or expose them to indirect harm such as lighting, rubbish, and chemicals.
Be courteous, so that all can enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature.
Source: Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, USA: www.LNT.org
Before the Event