Backcountry hygiene

May 5, 2020

A column on hand sanitation was just posted in my publications link []

I actually wrote this a few months before the epidemic in which we are finding ourselves, but the message is very timely. I will be discussing “social distancing” in the backcountry in a subsequent column.

The situation in which we currently find ourselves actually is an example of the quandary when health is pitted against Leave No Trace principles. LNT teaches us to concentrate impact in situations such as group rest stops off trail. Social distancing requires us to disperse such impact. Which is correct? I have always believed that health trumps LNT in every case. I still believe this. The situation is not black and white, however. Perhaps the best solution is these times is significant reduction in group size–dare I say to one? This may be the only ethical way in which we can insure compliance with environmental ethics without putting folks at risk for disease.