This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
The land we now call the United States of America was once a wilderness paradise, vibrant and diverse, cycli- cal, yet stable, pure and unpolluted, with a diversity and abundance of life that staggers the imagination. Today, the American wilderness is under continual attack by humans and vanishing rapidly. Activists at want to reverse this trend.

Follow the rules on float trips. In- visible camping techniques involve the use of fire pans, portable toilets, proper disposal of dishwashing water and the like. A use-appropriate river permit will have clear instructions on minimum- impact techniques that when practiced, become a habit. Dress dully. The wilderness is no place for fluorescent colors on a tent, backpack or clothing. Wear khaki or light-colored clothing (some say yel- low is best) to discourage mosquitoes, which hone in on dark colors (espe- cially blue), color contrast and move- ment. Avoid hunting areas in desig- nated seasons. Don’t camp by water in deserts. If

we plop down and set up housekeep- ing at a rare water source, wildlife that counts on drinking from there will be repelled and may die from dehydration. Camp at least a quarter of a mile (farther is better) from isolated water sources.

Keep pollutants away from wa-

terways. Don’t wash dishes, clean fish, take a bath or introduce soap, grease or other pollutants (biodegradable or not) into backcountry streams, lakes, potholes or springs. Swimming (not soaping up) in well-watered areas is usually harmless. Leave native wildlife and natural

objects intact. Many plants and ani- mals are imperiled; in part, because of collection and sales of nature’s arti- facts. Leave fossils, crystals and other treasures, including petroglyphs and potsherds, in place. Finally, drive slowly in wilderness areas to protect wildlife crossing ac- cess roads.

Dave Foreman is co-author of The Big Outside Revised Edition and founder of The Rewilding Institute, headquartered in Albuquerque, NM (

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