Bushcraft & LNT - Are they at odds with one another?

11:46 a.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I have taken a bushcraft course in the past along with a emergency / survival course.

I also do my utmost to follow LNT principles.

It seems to me that chopping down branches & boughs to build shelters, or to make fish traps, etc. is at odds with LNT principles.

I do feel that these skills (bushcraft etc.) are important to have and pass on to future generations, and in a true life & death emergency your immediate survival needs trumps LNT principles. But should we be practicing bushcraft on camping trips just for fun or to gain further experience?

What about the accumulative effect that thousands of practitioners of bushcraft has on the backcountry?

Is the impact bushcraft has negligible in remote wilderness area with vast timber stands?

What do you guys think?

12:13 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Mey thoughts are these:

Practicing bushcraft has the potential to have a negative impact on our wild places, but that it can be learned and applied in certain contexts with little to no detrimental effects. If you are in a life and death situation, using bishcraft should never be ruled out as a means to staying alive.

Under non life threatening circumstances and in most locations, expending natural resources in that manner is simply not sustainable if practiced by more than a very small number of individuals.

On private property and locations of vast wilderness that sees few people at all, the effects of responsible bushcraft will be eliminated within a single season. But the numbers of locations that fit the latter are very few. True wilderness in Alaska might qualify. I think in the context of private property where the ecology of the can support it, learing and practicing bushcraft is a valuable skill and tradition.

So, as with virtually all things- in the right context, in moderation, and practiced responsibly, there is nothing wrong with it.

PS, nice to see you aroud, Trout, you've been missed

3:44 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Trout,

Many readers may require a definition of "bushcraft". (This is not topiary, correct?)

Bushcraft (also "woodcraft" - Definition of WOODCRAFT1 : skill and practice in anything relating to the woods and especially in maintaining oneself and making one's way in the woods - Merriam-Webster Online) needn't conflict with LNT; in fact, at one time they were synonymous. A fur-trapper in the 1770's in NA would make it a habit to LNT for others to find, his life might depend upon it.

Squaw-wood collecting is LNT, as is driftwood gathering. With a bit of rope you can construct a shelter from such simple beginnings.

I don't see any conflict between bushcraft and LNT.

9:03 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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As this is also contradictory, but, read a book and practice theoretically.

I prefer LNT.

9:16 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I am not sure I understand what you mean, Callahan.

(not being contradictory, just not following- sorry)

9:55 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Trout,

Many readers may require a definition of "bushcraft". (This is not topiary, correct?)

Haha....no not topiary.

We can debate whether certain bushcraft activities being taught and practiced today is true bushcraft, but for the purposes of this discussion, and as it relates to possibly being contradictory to LNT practices:

1. The cutting of live flora for the purpose of constructing a shelter, tool, trap, weapon, etc.

2. Digging fire pits, like those needed for a Dakota fire Pit or other similar variants.

3.The use of axes, hatchets, saws, machetes.

4. Batoning large pieces of wood into smaller pieces to start fires with.

So on and so forth.

 

10:44 p.m. on August 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Trout,

Most of what we call woodscraft or bushcraft is just applied common-sense. If I wish to make a fire but leave no trace, I can cut sod, remove it, make my small cook fire in the hole or on top of the upturned sod, properly extinguish the fire, and return the sod. The same with a large rock.

Cutting certain prolific plants for food can be unnoticeable if done properly - a few here, a few there. I once lived for six weeks on a fifty acre site (with permission of the owner) without anyone knowing where I was camped. Most of my food was gathered - clams, greens, etc. So it can be done, even in such a small area.

Edge tools do not harm the wilderness, inconsiderate people do. Have you ever seen the number of trees - alders and poplar - that a beaver clan can take down in a matter of weeks? However, these trees grow quickly - as do yellow birch - so the area is regenerated and can sustain a small population of beaver indefinitely. "Woodsman spare that tree!" is tripe. Selective cutting has kept some European forests healthy for hundreds of years.

Later...

7:42 a.m. on August 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Overmywaders,

I do not necessarily disagree with what you have said in your post above. I personally believe that remote areas which see little to no use can easily sustain limited amounts of use as you describe.

From the LNT website:

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Following these rules seems to eliminate the bushcraft practice of cutting flora for any purpose, especially structure building like a simple lean-to or A frame. I realize structures can also be built with dead wood to some extent.

So do we strictly follow the letter of the law? Or the spirit of the law, as it applies to the region we are in and the amount of impact present (or expected) in that area?

Is LNT open to interpretation or not?

Does LNT allow personal discernment regarding outdoor practices, or is it a religion with strict tenets as some people seem to believe?

I realize these questions are redundant, I'm just trying to be clear in what I am asking.

8:57 a.m. on August 13, 2011 (EDT)
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I think that LNT and bushcraft are inherently at odds with each other. They just simply dont go together.

To Leave No Trace; means exactly that, leave only footprints. Moving anything out of its natural place is in effect contrary to LNT. Now, by no means am I a LNT nazi. I do my best to cover my tracks/disturbances/fire pit etc in any areas i have camped.

Bushcraft is a dieing skill set for sure. It however doesnt go hand in hand with LNT, because you are directly affecting objects in the wild. Practicing bushcraft doesnt have to be detrimental to the environment though. Reallly unless your cutting down live wood to make a shelter your using relatively minor impact on other items. Do you really need to cut down a bunch of wood to practice making a shelter? No, and if do want to then do so on private land.

You can however use more low impact items, such as already down wood, or undergrowth materials. These are a lesser impact than cutting down live trees.

 

Now all of that being said I feel LNT is meant to be a guidline of principles on how to conduct yourself in the wild to leave as little impact as possible. The point is you cant have every single person that steps foot into the woods starting a bonfire, cutting down lots of trees for firewood and wood to build shelters etc.

If your off trail, in a very remote area and you want to practice building a fish trap, then go ahead, your not really creating a big impact. Should you do the same thing at the brook that is crossing a major trail? probably not because that area sees alot of use already.

I think with a little personal restraint from practicing unneeded things , and when you do practice to do so either on your own private property or to do so in a secluded and remote area that sees little to no human traffic. And then don't practice in the same areas. And after your done tear down the traps, shelters etc. I can not count the times I am hiking off trail and come across debris huts etc.

2:11 p.m. on August 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Trout,

I thought that when reference was made to leaving no trace, you meant literally leaving no trace of your presence/passage. Instead, it appears you meant some cultic version of nature worship.

You said:

From the LNT website:

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

How the bloody expletive do you expect me to hike if I must constantly walk backwards in order to fluff up the grass I have trod upon? If I am climbing a steep hill and dislodge a stone, must I climb back down to retrieve it?

If the answer to either of the above is "No", then how can LNT nature worshipers deny me the right to move a stone, build a fire, and then replace the stone, leaving no visible evidence of the fire... no trace. The same with building structures: if I dismantle the structure there will be no trace of it.

I'd like to see these cultists on a real hike when it comes time to pitch their tent. According to Murphy's Law, the only level spot large enough for a tent will have a single, small, sharp stone protruding from the forest floor just where the center of the tent must be. Let's time them to see how long it takes for them to pick up that stone. :)

4:31 p.m. on August 13, 2011 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:Overmywaders,

So do we strictly follow the letter of the law? Or the spirit of the law, as it applies to the region we are in and the amount of impact present (or expected) in that area?

Is LNT open to interpretation or not?

Does LNT allow personal discernment regarding outdoor practices, or is it a religion with strict tenets as some people seem to believe? 

What I get from reading the LNT principles (http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php) is that we should do everything reasonably possible to minimize our impact.  I don't see it as a "religion" or a "law", but rather, "doing what's right for the environment".  Though, of course, in some areas, it is the law - e.g. no fires above 10,000 ft ... and pack out your TP, as a couple examples, in Yosemite. 

The principles do seem to suggest that if we change something during our visit, we do our best to undo the change when we leave - that we do our best to avoid causing a significant and lasting impact.

So it seems the answer to your original question regarding the conflict between LNT and Bushcraft is that "it depends" (on where you are, how heavily used the area is, local regulations, the type of area (e.g. forest, desert, above treeline, etc).

11:27 p.m. on August 13, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

.. bloody expletive ...

Isn't bloody in said context already an expletive, at least in it native origins? 

Nevertheless the first aider in me ran to the medicine cabinet, to provide relief for the bloodied expletive, only to find I have no (expletive) bandages.

Ed

3:29 a.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I think the LNT is like political correctness. It's a good idea to not offend someone but you can take it to far.  Leaving ABSOLUTELY no trace is impossible unless you are God.  Leaving little trace is achievable. 

Ideally, I don't think when hiking we should leave any more trace than the local fauna does.  When a bear or a deer bed down don't the leave an area of "unfluffed" grass similar to a tent? Do you think that deer worries about overturning a stone when its pawing a salt lick? As for campfires humans have had them for several thousand years, long before we . Be smart about where you have them and how big they are. 

At one water source on the few miles of the AT I hiked someone had dug a small deep hole and hung a plastic pitcher beside it for hikers to use. I thought this was a kind gesture and I'm sure many were glad to have this trace left.

This section of the trail my family hiked is heavily used. There are only 3 shelters on it We could not have done it if we had had to use them.  Applehouse was only 15 minutes from the end (or beginning depending on the direction) and Overmountain is to far to hike from/to in a day for my family.  If you were practicing absolute LNT you wouldn't be able to camp anywhere else on the trail and my family and I would not have had the wonderful hike we had. 

Realistically it should be called LLT or Leave Little Trace. I got the following from http://www.philmontscoutranch.org and it sums up the way I think LNT should be practiced.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Principles of Leave No Trace

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Proper trip planning and preparation helps hikers and campers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably while minimizing damage to natural and cultural resources. Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected situations, and minimize their impact by complying with area regulations such as observing limitations on group size. Schedule your trek to avoid times of high use. Obtain permits or permission to use the area for your trek.

Proper planning ensures

  • Low-risk adventures because campers obtained information concerning geography and weather and prepared accordingly
  • Properly located campsites because campers allotted enough time to reach their destination
  • Appropriate campfires and minimal trash because of careful meal planning and food repackaging and proper equipment
  • Comfortable and fun camping and hiking experiences because the outing matches the skill level of the participants

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Damage to land occurs when visitors trample vegetation or communities of organisms beyond recovery. The resulting barren areas develop into undesirable trails, campsites, and soil erosion.

Concentrate Activity, or Spread Out?

  • In high-use areas, campers should concentrate their activities where vegetation is already absent. Minimize resource damage by using existing trails and selecting designated or existing campsites. Keep campsites small by arranging tents in close proximity.
  • In more remote, less-traveled areas, campers should generally spread out. When hiking, take different paths to avoid creating new trails that cause erosion. When camping, disperse tents and cooking activities--and move camp daily to avoid creating permanent-looking campsites. Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show. Always choose the most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, sand, compacted soil, dry grasses, or snow.

These guidelines apply to most alpine settings and may be different for other areas, such as deserts. Learn the Leave No Trace techniques for your crew's specific activity or destination. Check with land managers to be sure of the proper technique.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)

This simple yet effective saying motivates back-country visitors to take their trash home with them. It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry the extra materials taken there by your group or others. Inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter.

Sanitation

Backcountry users create body waste and wastewater that require proper disposal.

Wastewater. Help prevent contamination of natural water sources: After straining food particles, properly dispose of dishwater by dispersing at least 200 feet (about 80 to 100 strides for a youth) from springs, streams, and lakes. Use biodegradable soap 200 feet or more from any water source.

Human Waste. Proper human waste disposal helps prevent the spread of disease and exposure to others. Catholes 6 to 8 inches deep in humus and 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites are often the easiest and most practical way to dispose of feces.

4. Leave What You Find

Allow others a sense of discovery, and preserve the past. Leave rocks, plants, animals, archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you find them. Examine but do not touch cultural or historical structures and artifacts. It may be illegal to remove artifacts.

Minimize Site Alterations

Do not dig tent trenches or build lean-tos, tables, or chairs. Never hammer nails into trees, hack at trees with hatchets or saws, or damage bark and roots by tying horses to trees for extended periods. Replace surface rocks or twigs that you cleared from the campsite. On high-impact sites, clean the area and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities such as multiple fire rings and log seats or tables.

Good campsites are found, not made. Avoid altering a site, digging trenches, or building structures.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires and increasing demand for firewood.

Lightweight camp stoves make low-impact camping possible by encouraging a shift away from fires. Stoves are fast, eliminate the need for firewood, and make cleanup after meals easier. After dinner, enjoy a candle lantern instead of a fire.

If you build a fire, the most important consideration is the potential for resource damage. Whenever possible, use an existing campfire ring in a well-placed campsite. Choose not to have a fire in areas where wood is scarce--at higher elevations, in heavily used areas with a limited wood supply, or in desert settings.

True Leave No Trace fires are small. Use dead and downed wood that can be broken easily by hand. When possible, burn all wood to ash and remove all unburned trash and food from the fire ring. If a site has two or more fire rings, you may dismantle all but one and scatter the materials in the surrounding area. Be certain all wood and campfire debris is dead out.

6. Respect Wildlife

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate campers practice these safety methods:

  • Observe wildlife from afar to avoid disturbing them.
  • Give animals a wide berth, especially during breeding, nesting, and birthing seasons.
  • Store food securely and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals so they will not acquire bad habits. Never feed wildlife. Help keep wildlife wild.

You are too close if an animal alters its normal activities.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Thoughtful campers respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

  • Travel and camp in small groups (no more than the group size prescribed by land managers).
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Keep the noise down and leave radios, tape players, and pets at home.
  • Select campsites away from other groups to help preserve their solitude.
  • Always travel and camp quietly to avoid disturbing other visitors.
  • Make sure the colors of clothing and gear blend with the environment.
  • Respect private property and leave gates (open or closed) as found.

Be considerate of other campers and respect their privacy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

I was talking recently with a scout master who had gone the the Philmont Scout Ranch.  Do to the number of scouts they have visiting each year they concentrate the "damage" to narrow corridors that I assume are moved occasionally.  Scouts are not supposed stray far from the trail and they must camp at established camp sites etc.  There is also a limit to the number of scouts in a party.  

I'm afraid if an LNT nazi in a position of power you'll end up with too many rules and limits on where and the number of people that can hike.

12:33 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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OK, here's an opinion from "one person" who is both an LNT Trainer and a wilderness survival instructor:

It really is pretty simple. If your life is in danger or you find yourself in a REAL survival situation, anything goes. Do what you need to do to survive. Period.

At ALL other times, while in the wilderness - front or backcountry, LNT principals apply.  Practice Bushcraft or survival building skills on your own or, with permission, private property. NOT on public land.

Additionally, as an outdoor teacher, I am often pulled from both directions in the battle between allowing children to explore - turning rocks over, etc.  and instilling LNT. My take is somewhat what others have suggested here - An interpretation of LNT.  YES, turn that rock over to look for bugs (or to pitch your tent rock free) but put it back exactly where it was before you moved it. Build a debris hut if you like, but when you are finished, redistribute the materials so that it appears that you were never there.

As I've said before: Laws are what people obey when others are watching. Principals are what we follow when we are by ourselves.

1:37 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Bushcraft is a dying skill and is important to preserve. LNT is good, but when it is treated like a religion it is terrible. Bushcrafters are NOT the ones I see doing damage on my trips, the casual day hike/tourist is. And there are alot more casual day hikers than bushcrafters. Bushcrafters respect the forest, just like LNT devotees. The two many have different ideas as to exactly what respect means, so thank God we live in a free country. I assure you real bushcrafters are not the ones that are leaving water bottles along side the trail, food wrappers and cigarette butts in the fire rings.

2:18 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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who asked:

Isn't bloody in said context already an expletive, at least in it native origins?

Yes, but like many expletives it is a religious reference placed in an inappropriate context. Believed to be a contraction of "By Our Lady". Similarly, in Quebec, the term "tabernac" (tabernacle) is just one of many profanities - the use of a sacred word in a profane manner.

If I were able to distill the comments in this thread, the resultant liquer would be "fine common sense with an appreciation of the common good". Very nice indeed.

f_klock thank you for the quote:

As I've said before: Laws are what people obey when others are watching. Principals are what we follow when we are by ourselves.

This explains why I can levitate only when alone. It also suggests that my working prototype of a perpetual motion machine is unmarketable. :(

2:33 p.m. on August 14, 2011 (EDT)
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f_klock said:

It really is pretty simple. If your life is in danger or you find yourself in a REAL survival situation, anything goes. Do what you need to do to survive. Period.

 +1000

11:37 a.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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f_klock,

you said:

At ALL other times, while in the wilderness - front or backcountry, LNT principals apply.  Practice Bushcraft or survival building skills on your own or, with permission, private property. NOT on public land.

Additionally, as an outdoor teacher, I am often pulled from both directions in the battle between allowing children to explore - turning rocks over, etc.  and instilling LNT. My take is somewhat what others have suggested here - An interpretation of LNT.  YES, turn that rock over to look for bugs (or to pitch your tent rock free) but put it back exactly where it was before you moved it. Build a debris hut if you like, but when you are finished, redistribute the materials so that it appears that you were never there.

These two paragraphs seem to contradict one another. First you say no bushcraft on public land, then you allow bushcraft if it leaves no trace - which it does when done properly. Perhaps you mean that no bushcraft that leaves a trace should be used on public land. That makes sense and seems like a reasonable interpretation of LNT.

For myself, I don't like the circle of logs and trampled areas that fire-rings create; but it appears LNT would herd people to these. IMO, it is more comfortable and sociable for two-four people to build a small raised fire of twigs and sit or lie around it in tarp lean-tos. The lean-to reflects a lot of the fire's heat onto the occupant - both his front and back are warm. It is the outdoor version of a Colonial wing chair. This is far more efficient than a larger fire without lean-tos, because the larger fire draws cold air onto the hiker's back while his front sizzles. Just common sense. And bushcraft.

7:24 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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f Klock is right here. Survival is survival; rare and emergent.

Of course who would care if you cut some branches and made fire rings, or a small lean-to for that matter, in 3rd gen repro tree-farm, or in a clearcut area?

  I practice these things occasionally in heavily harvested forests which don't resemble the pristine.  Also on private, family land its fun too.  Lean-to and fire rings can be scatered when you are done with them too. 

 

7:23 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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f_klock said:

OK, here's an opinion from "one person" who is both an LNT Trainer and a wilderness survival instructor:

It really is pretty simple. If your life is in danger or you find yourself in a REAL survival situation, anything goes. Do what you need to do to survive. Period.

At ALL other times, while in the wilderness - front or backcountry, LNT principals apply.  Practice Bushcraft or survival building skills on your own or, with permission, private property. NOT on public land.

Additionally, as an outdoor teacher, I am often pulled from both directions in the battle between allowing children to explore - turning rocks over, etc.  and instilling LNT. My take is somewhat what others have suggested here - An interpretation of LNT.  YES, turn that rock over to look for bugs (or to pitch your tent rock free) but put it back exactly where it was before you moved it. Build a debris hut if you like, but when you are finished, redistribute the materials so that it appears that you were never there.

As I've said before: Laws are what people obey when others are watching. Principals are what we follow when we are by ourselves.

 

I agree completely with this. LNT are guidelines, not a rule book. I'd say they were established for two reasons: the amount of vast swaths of wilderness is disappearing compared to 150 years ago and more people are using what is left as population continues to increase. They are written for the casual user in hopes that maybe some percentage of those using the woods and see them will think twice instead of heading out there and just pillaging what they want.

Mother Nature is very resilient. She'll continue to live long after we do. The problem is not with a very minute part of the population who would like to go out and experience nature like how our forefathers experienced it.

And as far as public land, I'm sure f_clock mentioned it because on most public lands you are not allowed to use bushcraft principles.

That is law, not guidelines. So, it's not contradictory just following the rules.

10:16 a.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Rocklion said:

And as far as public land, I'm sure f_clock mentioned it because on most public lands you are not allowed to use bushcraft principles.

 

Rocklion, I have to disagree with you on this.  Although it may be different in different parts of the country.

Here in the PNW (Western Washington) we have 3 main types of public lands; The National Parks, The wilderness ares, and the National Forest.  Their are of course State lands and county and city lands too.  But by far the largest is the National Forest, which is for the use of the public.  Everything from Logging, to firewood cutting, to Mushroom harvesting, to Christmas tree cutting.  Most if not all of these activities require some form of permit of permission, but none the less they are allowed and even encouraged.

The use of Bush Craft, or other survival skills is allowed in most of the National Forest, (Not including wilderness areas) I know that people Practice LNT and I agree strongly with the general principles.  But that said, I also feel that some areas are to be used "By the People for the people" :).  Although we have very little BLM land around here, when I lived in Colorado, I would often camp on BLM land and the same, if not more, uses apply to those lands.  

So to me I think it has a lot to do with where you are (Type of Land) and what the approved uses of those lands are. 

Wolfman

3:16 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Explorer Robby said:

Bushcraft is a dying skill and is important to preserve. LNT is good, but when it is treated like a religion it is terrible. Bushcrafters are NOT the ones I see doing damage on my trips, the casual day hike/tourist is. And there are alot more casual day hikers than bushcrafters. Bushcrafters respect the forest, just like LNT devotees. The two many have different ideas as to exactly what respect means, so thank God we live in a free country. I assure you real bushcrafters are not the ones that are leaving water bottles along side the trail, food wrappers and cigarette butts in the fire rings.

 Here's my rant on the subject.

Bushcraft forums are generally about constructing primitive "hooches", and as such do a fair amount of damage.  See the below fotogs:


TRIP-116-475.jpg

NOVEMBER 2010

I was on a trip several months ago when I discovered this bushcraft hooch made by an unknown group of cretins.  I was camping on the South Fork of the Citico, by the way.


TRIP-125-208.jpg

AUGUST 2011

Here's the thing:  On my last trip a couple weeks ago I went back to the South Fork Citico and checked out the wannabe hobbyist's shelter site, and here is what I found---a collapsed mess.

FROM THE JOURNAL: 

WANNABE LEAN TO
     "It looks like the 12 year olds have been busy beavers(and destructive ones, too)here on the South Fork as 100 feet from  my camp I see a remote firepit by the creek and then my eyes focus on a large rhodo covered lean-to next to a big firepit.  I grab the camera and immediately investigate and find a wannabe survivorman---dual survivor make-believe hooch carved out of the woods with the heavy hand of an arm loaded bowsaw.  All around the site I see fresh stumps and the rhodo looked to be recently cut so this is a last weekend fantasy of apparently young teenagers with too many TV Man vs Wild shows in their jumbled up heads.

     Why do I say this?  Well . . . . .
**  Despite the enormous amounts of cut rhodo leaves, the shelter would not keep you dry in a rain or a snow.
**  It would not keep you warm since it wasn't stuffed with dead leaves.
**  The giant firepit containing litter shows rank beginner--car camping types thinking a huge bonfire is the best way to stay warm when placed anywhere and when placed especially next to a lean to.

     It all looks like a weekend wetdream to emulate TV idiots who go out into the wild with back up crews and themselves build primitive shelters.  When a couch potato sees such crap he immediately grabs a saw and cordage and gets into a building frenzy---damn all the living trees he has to cut down.  "I'm surviving, damnit!", he thinks but he ain't, he's just joyriding with a can of potted meat and a knife.  Had he been serious he would've put a tarp under the rhodo leaves and he would've stuffed the thing full of leaves.  Nope, these guys were out for a fashion show moment, a picnic without function, a show and tell to impress their own couch-inflamed butts, but in the end serving no function except as an ego notch to take back home.  

     What's left?  40 dead tree saplings and come August a rotten dried up dead laurel mess.  My advice would be to be men and carry a tent but ya can't tell this to the wannabe Tom Brown self appointed debris hut experts who have no concept of leave no trace.  Oh well, it gives me a place to explore and investigate on a long day waiting for rain.  By the way, they left three new cans of, you guess it, potted meat.  My first thought was to take a big dump right on the floor inside but that would put me right at their level, so I refrained.  Any turtlehead of mine will be buried properly, thank you.  Oh well, it makes for a few good fotogs to send to the folks back home.  

     
 ADVICE TO THE SURVIVOR TYPES IN BUSHCRAFT MODE:
    Wear nothing, wear green, wear tiedye, wear orange, it doesn't matter.  The siren song of the lone survivalist sounds great at first but it's a passing phase in the evolution of the nature boy.  We all have a bit of John Muir in us, and he had a bit of Daniel Boone in him, and so the bag night dance continues.  But don't ever think that by camping in the woods for a year or two of five or forty will cause you to bristle up like a Navy SEAL porcupine with a snarl like a pitbull----such imaginings go nowhere but into self-delusion.  It's enough to be outdoors with a good heart and a healthy respect for the woman of the wind and the green.  Let her be the mountain man jungle warrior, all you have to do is hold on for the ride.  The toughest man is the one who never quits.

WHITE ROCK UPDATE
     On Trip 116 I discovered a debris hut made from dozens of living trees cut down by inbred Leave Nasty Trace campers who don't think twice about destroying a small portion of my forest for their hobby--jollies.  Well, now the hooch is collapsed and destroyed---the fitting end to all human endeavors----and is nothing but a big pile of dead brown rhodo leaves.  An orgasmic spurt of survivoritis coursed thru their brains and got them into a fit of Davy Crockett "what a crock" wannabe dementia whereby they felt he-manish to lash together a one night stand of impact proportions and lean-to exhaltation accompanied by potted meat induced retardation.

WHAT A CROCKETT
     The forest bears their mark while they flee and are long gone to text on the Interstate and google up images of Lady Gaga.  Such are the modern woodsmen we have today, backyard Tom Browns and solid state chipboard sycophants replaying bad episodes of Dual Survivor while sleepwalking thru a two day trip into the Citico with Jimmy Dean in one hand and a bowsaw in the other.  When they get back to their forums they'll post about living close to the earth and building a primitive survival hooch, as if knowing a Ranger allows me to wear the Ranger tab.  They read about it or see it on TV and think they're experts.

     Generations of television has so diluted us that we think just by seeing something we've experienced it and have become qualified to say we've done something we have not.  "Yeah, Stalingrad was bad cuz I saw it on the History channel."  We know next to nothing except for what we actively do in the long term, long term here means a life time.  END O SCREED."

So ends my little take on the matter.




4:18 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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It is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE to go into a remote, untouched wilderness area, such as much of northern BC and the Canadian Territories and practice this TV nonsense known as "bushcrafting". The ONLY acceptable form of behaviour in these regions is LNT, except where a genuine survival situation, such as an air crash, is involved.

I use LNT practices even in commercially modified forests and this is the legal requirement here in BC, however, the creatures known as "good old boys" and "bubbas" exist here as, it seems, everywhere else. So, one  should restrict fires and so forth to areas where logging, mining and so on have already modified the area and forego behaviour that will scar pristine wilderness, even slightly.

I grew up "bushcrafting" for real and can still build a bough shelter, or snow shelter or rock windwall very quickly, but, we did this on municipal or  private lands and I have not left a mark on a wilderness area in over 40 years. Fires are fine, BUT, either do it LNT style or do without and cutting living trees is absolutely a "no no".

Funny, I have found more debris and litter from "backpackers" in some of our most beautiful parks here than any of my hunting buddies and I would ever leave. I usually even pack out all paper products instead of burning them when I am in sub-alpine areas and wish everyone else would as well.

11:48 a.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Well, I don't have a television, so I was unaware of Walter's and Dewey's definition of "bushcraft". Obviously, building a "shelter" like that in the photos is the work of children and great fun in one's backyard at age ten. It lacks only a sign "No Girls Allowed" or "Stay away, Mikey!" : )

However, if either of you thinks a small twig cooking fire built where the stone was rolled aside - and the stone returned after use - incompatible with really leaving no trace; tell me why. The same goes for a lean-to made from a tarp and "found wood" and then scattered after use, or any of the other instances of simple common sense that I cited.

1:04 p.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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1,200 forum posts

My gripe comes from hatchet or bowsaw use in the cutting down of living trees (when not done for clearing trail or trail maintenance), especially when done for a brief Daniel Boone Moment.  Overmywaders brings up another pet peeve:  People who come to an established campsite with a firering and MUST set up another firepit ten or twenty feet away from the first.  I just can't understand these types.

Anyway, fires are way overrated but many "campers" consider having a fire a top priority when out and about.  Sure, they may be great in a social setting when backpacking with friends, but who has friends to go backpacking with, anyway?  Ha ha ha.  I prefer to not expend the energy or contemplate the tiny possibility of an out-of-control fire in this day and age of tinder-dry conditions---and when backpacking solo I am fully responsible for any fire I may start and for leaving a firepit totally out.  This is best done with ample water, but who has the surplus water to douse a fire every morning before shoving off?

4:03 p.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

but who has friends to go backpacking with, anyway?  Ha ha ha.  

 I don't either although I have been told they can be bought in the parking lot of any beer distributor. Hmmmmm....

I am with ya on the whole chopping things to pieces just because one wants to play "Survivorman" and the fire ring 20ft from another fire ring. Pretty stupid if ya ask me. 

4:20 p.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
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2,149 forum posts

I wouldn't call what is displayed in those photos bushcraft, more like morons building a really pathetic fort.

Real bushcraft only utilizes what is needed, whereas that stupidity above serves absolutely no purpose.

 

November 21, 2014
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