When you go into the forest, the most important thing is to remember that you are no longer on your own territory, now you live by other rules imposed by the nature itself. We’ll tell you how not to make mistakes when you are starting a trip through an ecological trail.
The most important thing of any trip is its route. This is no exception for an ecological trail as well. Pay as much attention to the details of your future travel as possible: carefully study the map, read about the area, pose questions to those who have already experienced such kind of trip, and, of course, check the weather forecast.
The main rule that applies when you are already on the trail is the following: don’t change the route. Professional travelers highly recommend not to leave the trail, you can do it only in the most extreme cases. The coordinator of “The Great Baikal Trail” project Roman Mikhailov says: “Our experience shows that when people follow the same trail, it helps the nature to preserve its primevalness, and people get the maximum amount of impressions from passing through it. Walk through eco-trails.”
Many reserves require visitors to obtain permission from their administration for trekking on the specially protected territories in advance. So don’t forget to contact the reserve and obtain a written confirmation of the fact that you have been admitted to the trail. In some parks you can start your way only accompanied by an employee of the reserve.
Bring trash bags, because everything you brought must be thrown to the nearest trash bin, never left on the trail’s territory. You can easily get a fine or an administrative penalty for doing such things.
If you urgently need to wash your hands or take a shower, you must use natural soap without artificial additives, instead of soap with synthetic agents. Rivers and brooks on the territory of the trails are protected with the utmost care, and it is strictly prohibited to pollute their water with chemicals. The same is valid for washing - do not use washing powders and dishwashing liquids: they are toxic and decompose very slowly. Simple mustard powder removes fat and kills germs even in cold water. Sand and laundry soap will help to easily clean a sooty boiler or greasy dishes.
A bonfire at the ecological trail is, perhaps, the most contradictory issue: actually, by lighting any bonfire you cause a wound to the ground, which contradicts to the rules of ecotourism. Still, such need will necessarily arise. The correct way is to find a ready-made fireplace where fire had been lighted before you. If there isn’t one, then it is better to make a fire on the sand or pebble stones. If you all the same have to light a fire at a new place, the fireplace should be surrounded by stones. Use only the wood of dead trees for your fire, for example, standing dead trees or dead branches.
Always pour the water on the bonfire before leaving: do not stamp on it or throw away the embers, namely pour it by the water from the nearby ponds or puddles in order not to leave smoldering embers. The fire is considered extinguished if you can touch any area of the fireplace with your hand.
Never store food waste in bags or, moreover, in your tent: food attracts insects and predatory animals that can easily harm not only your things, but personally you. The food that you could not have eaten should be burnt or buried in the ground.
If you smoke, make smoke breaks only on staging posts or in specially designated places. An accidentally thrown cigarette can cause a fire which will take several days for extinguishing and which will do serious harm to the protected territory.
Never bring pets on the trail: not only they may have a severe stress themselves, but they can also do real harm to the local inhabitants which are unlikely to find common language with your pets.
… and do not talk loudly. Any forester will tell you: the quieter you act - the more things you will see. Always remember that you are in the forest and that it is not your territory, but a foreign and protected one.
Do not cut trees and shrubs, even if you think they are dry and another part of a tree or a shrub does not grow because of them. The trunk and roots of these plants are often an important link in the chain of all ecosystem components.
Going on the trail, you will certainly meet the living inhabitants of the forest. Many people choose eco-tourism just due to the fact that thus they can see the animals in their natural habitat. However, it also imposes certain rules on you, because you are always a stranger and a hazard for animals.
If you find a nest with eggs or younglings, the best decision will be to leave it as soon as possible and resist the temptation of making a selfie. When you are near the nest, the parents will be afraid to return, and the eggs or the younglings can become too cold. In addition, your presence can attract predators to the nest: they can follow your footsteps and discover the nest. Many birds even easily leave their layings, if a man came up to them.
If you find little younglings without their parents in a nest, never try to pick them up or touch. Most likely, the parents of the youngsters are somewhere near and patiently waiting for you to leave.
In case of an unexpected meeting with a large predator, first of all, show to it that you are a human being. Necessarily stand up and start to talk loudly and confidently. Never turn your back on the animal and do not run away - just slowly step back.
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