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recreation and tourism

Got to ‘go’? Use a toilet or take a walk. With so many people visiting the Alps - and the potential for spread of infectious diseases - the management of human waste is a serious issue. If faeces, urine or toilet paper gets into the water supply, or are uncovered by animals, the results are very unsightly - and potentially very dangerous for both people and animals. Carelessness upstream could affect you downstream! So if there is a nearby toilet, use it. Where there are no toilets, walk at least 100 paces away from creeks, lakes, campsites and tracks, dig a hole as deep as your trowel/hand (about 15 cm) then bury your waste and the toilet paper very carefully.

Stay on track - even if it’s muddy or dusty. Don’t widen tracks or take shortcuts. Whether walking, riding or driving, follow all formed tracks, even if they are muddy or dusty. Please don’t be tempted to cut corners or travel right on the edges. This just makes the tracks wider and increases the impact on the bush. Shortcuts can cause erosion and scars on the landscape, especially on steep, zigzag paths, and eventually may confuse people as to which is the real path. But there aren’t tracks everywhere in the Alps so please don’t create new ones. Where there isn’t a track, groups should spread out so that people don’t walk in exactly the same places. Many plants can survive being stepped on just once, but are destroyed if trampled by several feet. It’s even better to stay on rocks and hard ground wherever possible and avoid fragile vegetation, like Sphagnum Moss and Cushion Plants.

Respect heritage - places are a link to memories of people and the past. Within the Australian Alps there are many sites, places and landscapes with Aboriginal and historic cultural heritage value. These may be Aboriginal rock paintings, scar trees, artefact scatters, axe grinding grooves and pathways; or historic huts, yards, mining equipment, arboreta and border markers. Huts in particular, were often located in areas used as camp sites by Aboriginal people. Please do not souvenir any articles or artefacts and leave the hut environs undisturbed.

Enjoy the Alps but leave no trace. Walking, driving, camping, skiing, riding, climbing, paddling - whatever you do, aim to leave no trace. No matter what kind of activities you enjoy in the Alps, you can minimise the impacts you have on the environment by following the simple guidelines described here. Challenge yourself to leave as little trace of your visit as possible. It’s all about caring for the Alps now - then they’ll be just as wonderful in the future.


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