At Love Our Trails our main aim is to help foster an active outdoor culture and in doing so make trails accessible, safe and sustainable for all to enjoy.
Have a look at our Trail Ethics memo which all trail users can, and should, adopt.
Leave Nothing But Footprints
As trail users we value our environment and are committed to leaving nothing but footprints principles. This includes graffiti and litter, such as cigarette butts, fruit peels, tissues, food wrapping and left over food.
We are also committed to cleaning up after others and educating fellow trail users on the necessity of looking after our trails.
Here’s a tip!
- Carry a small refuse bag for litter – pick up as you go!
- Use reusable zip-lock bags to carry your (unwrapped) trail snacks.
- Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying a single-use plastic water bottle
STAY ON THE TRAIL
Trails enable us to explore our natural environment while having a minimal impact on the fauna and flora around us. We must keep to the trail and where possible walk on rocky ground to avoid erosion, which is especially important if it’s raining or has recently rained.
Using trails irresponsibly and going off the path can damage vegetation and encourage other trail users to do the same. This impact on the environment often requires costly resources to repair damages. We commit to obeying land owners’ rules and signage when accessing their land.
BE CONSCIOUS OF FELLOW TRAIL USERS
Do not throw rocks, dislodge a rock, start a rockfall, start a fire, or impact the ecosystem in any whatsoever.
Respect the sounds of nature. Don’t play music or make loud noises on the trail, as it scares birds and animals. People also have different interests in music and may not agree with your choice of music on the trail. Importantly, many trail users visit trails to escape the noise of the city and connect with nature. If you want to listen to music, use earphones/headphones but at a level that you are still aware of what’s happening in your surroundings and with other trail users.
A cairn is a mound of stones that trail users often build as a landmark or directional sign for trail users. Cairns should only be erected on a high or visible point where trail users can clearly see it. These mounds are often built in the wrong place, misdirecting hikers or runners, causing erosion, and even leading to rock falls. Only build a cairn when it is absolutely necessary.
Most nature parks and reserves don’t allow smoking.
If smoking is allowed, be careful where you smoke, and do not litter. It takes many years for a cigarette butt to break down, but even more importantly, ejected burning cigarettes/cigarette butts are a major cause of wild fires. Remember, vaping is also considered smoking.
TAKE NOTHING BUT PICTURES
Leave nature in its natural state and give others the opportunity to appreciate it.
Instead of picking a flower, take a picture and allow the flower to play its part in the ecosystem. Give others the same opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature. This includes leaving rocks, plants, pine cones and signage. However, you are encouraged to remove litter.
Avoid feeding any animals. Each animal plays an important part in maintaining the ecological balance, from pollination to managing vegetation.
It often happens that animals, including baboons, monkeys and seagulls become a nuisance or even aggressive once they associate humans with food, so please avoid this by not feeding animals.
The general rule of thumb is that fires are not allowed in nature parks.
In the instance that making a fire is permitted, obey the rules and use the designated or existing fire areas; keep fires as small as possible; and always extinguish the fire after use. Be conscious of the wind, trees and vegetation around the fire and don’t leave a fire unattended.
WHEN NATURE CALLS
Look, we’re aware that when nature calls it calls… But, we can follow some simple guidelines to leave as little trace of our presence as possible:
* Pick a flat area at least 60m from the foot path and/or water
* Dig a small whole about 20cm deep and once the deed is done, fill up the whole and plant a stick or place a rock over the area to make others aware
* Keep a sealable bag for used toilet paper. Avoid burning toilet paper (due to fire hazard) or burying it (ecological impact).
*If the terrain doesn’t allow for a hole to be dug, use the “smear technique” – find a rock to smear the poop over a greater area, which allows for the sun and other elements to break down the bacteria quicker.
PROTECT WATER RESOURCES
Water is vital to the health of an ecosystem, and as trail users we can take steps to help protect this finite resource.
Only use eco-friendly sunblock and soaps, and don’t swim or wash anything in standing water or rock pools. Rather fill a bucket with water and do your washing away from the water source. Otherwise, wash downstream. Ensure that you always camp at least 60m from the water’s edge.