Minimum Impact Camping & Fire Awareness
Part of the appeal of hunting in Alaska is that so much of the state is virtually wilderness. You can help assure the enjoyment of future hunters and other outdoor users by minimizing your impact. Leave little or no mark of your passing by following these tips:
- Stay on established trails as much as possible, especially if using off-road vehicles, horses, or other livestock; off-trail travel removes vegetation from the soil and allows erosion to begin.
- If using livestock, use hobbles, pickets, a temporary hitch pole or a hitch line between trees, rather than tying an animal directly to a tree.
- Avoid cutting ‘blaze’ marks on trees; cuts can subject a tree to insects, disease, and early death.
- Remove flagging or biodegradable tape after use.
- Use dead or downed trees. Dismantle meat poles and other structures when you are finished with them. Learn lashing skills; pack out nails, ropes and wire.
- Use previously established campsites rather than impact a new area.
- Camp at least 200 feet from any source of water.
- Keep human waste and soap-tainted washwater away from lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers.
- Minimize digging. Cover disturbed areas to look as if they are undisturbed.
- In frequently used areas, dig a hole and bury solid human waste 6-8 inches deep, backfilling with the soil you removed.
- Burn your trash and pack out what is not consumed, including shelter materials.
- Make sure fires are completely out and then scatter burned wood and rocks used for fire rings.
Unfortunately, careless hunters too often ignite Alaska forest fires. Although a fire can be an important part of camp comfort, hunters should know how to contain a warming or cooking fire. A rock fire ring may be useless on tundra where dried vegetation may carry fire under the surface only to erupt days or weeks later. Build fires only on mineral soil. Stoves are best. If properly used, they are less likely to start forest or grass fires.