Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Whistler, BC, Canada.
Interest: I enjoy outdoor activities of all sorts, and always learning new ways to enjoy myself outside. Reading, socializing, travelling, and photography keep me busy as well.
Zack - If your last post was directed at my comment previous, I'm sorry. It was not my intention to put out snooty airs.
Also, my invitation was not meant to be condescending.
When you mention pristine lakes, images of Gaibaldi, Joffre, and the like come to mind. When I go down to the lake and see spaghetti bits floating along the shore, I have to admit, it irks me quite a bit.
In reality it doesn't take 15+ users emptying their pots into the lake to make a mess of things. It only takes one lazy or ignorant person to detract from my experience. These places are only pristine because backcountry users for the most part stick to the "Leave No Trace" ethic.
When we are talking about the alpine, this stuff degrades at a much slower rate than what you might be used to living in the valleys. Both the lakes and the ground are iced up 8-10 months of the year and at their warmest the lakes are only slightly above freezing. Your minor contribution adds up I assure you, especially in high use alpine areas.
I often run across the attitude of "well my impact is so small and since the area is so pristine and "unused" it won't matter if I leave some trace that will eventually biodegrade anyway". The problem with this way of thinking is the reality: the previous users have minimized their impact as much as possible to give you the impression the impacts of people using the area is so small even if those impacts otherwise would be very visible without the proper care; if that makes sense?
If an area like Garibaldi Lake gets, oh say,10,000 visitors throughout the summer hiking season (I have no idea if this is anywhere near what it actually gets or not, and I do realize its used year round as well.) and all of them participate in minor impacts like dumping their food particles into the lake, and burying their toilet paper with their crap = no longer pristine. The shore and lake bottom would be covered in pasta and whatever else and the meadows above the lake would be littered with tp like a highschool prank gone awry.
"Leave No Trace" means just that - Its not just about cans and styrofoam. Simple stuff, yet some seem to make it so complicated.
If you are talking about true wilderness that might see one or two parties a year I tend to agree with you, but then its pretty hard to tell many people that heavily used places like the parks aren't true wilderness, but that they just look that way because people generally look after it.
However if it is so easy not to participate in leaving impacts such as these - why do it?