The nerve they have – we go to great ends to make these manicured treads to walk on, and they just disregard every notion of social acceptability and clomp willy-nilly wherever they please. Paths through the delicate marshy grasses, tracks straight up loose gravel slopes dislodging plants that could barely grasp the incline anyway, and worst of all, piles of feces scattered everywhere in between. The nerve they have- to have so little regard for this amazing environment that I work in and want to protect.
Let me step back from my rant for a second, and give a quick lesson in hiking ethics.
There are many topics I could cover, but here are two biggies:
Don’t be the classic SBC. SBC is slang for us in the biz for a “switchback cutter.” When the grade gets steep, trail (and road) builders form switchbacks, a series of Zs that criss-cross across the slope. These switchbacks keep you from exhausting yourself by walking straight uphill, and protect the trail and surrounding plants from pitting erosion by allowing ample opportunities for water to run off and find its own merry way down the slope. The SBC is the type that thinks they are so strong and fast that they can’t do anything so weak as to walk across a hill, and they decide to have a go at heading straight up the hill. As they make the Zs into a number 1, they slip and slide their feet, displacing dirt and plants and making a great path for the next storm to exhibit its erosional fortitude.
Deal with your poop. It has been shown numerous times that burying your waste a few inches below the ground accelerates its reunion with the earth. Plus, then I don’t have to see and smell it as I hike. Simple as that, I don’t think I have to explain this any further.
Well, even with all the education, signs and literature explaining these principles, deer everywhere choose to poop where they want, and walk where they want. Nobody wants to have their workplace disrespected, but every day I see deer feces out in the open, or deer tracks B-lined for the top of a slope. They seem to have no concept of sharing this beautiful wilderness, instead they seem content to just hop around eating plants and deteriorating the ecosystem they call home. They may think their big round eyes and wobbly ears lull us into accepting their errant ways, but I am done accepting their incompliance.
Come on deer, we are all a team here and there is not much wilderness left in this country, lets take care of it.