Backcountry Camping Impact, White Mountains

Poor leave no trace ethics - Environmental impact from poor camping ethics on the summit of Mount Flume in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. Healthy trees (see image) were cut to build this make shift tent platform on the uneven surface. The visible brush acts as padding and the cut tree trunks were placed underneath acting as a floor.
Mount Flume Summit – Healthy Trees Cut For Tent Platform or Shelter
 

Backcountry Camping Impact, White Mountains – A growing issue in the New Hampshire White Mountains is man made impact caused from camping. Some areas are being littered with trash and showing surface erosion from heavy usage. And campers are cutting young healthy trees (above) down to build tent platforms. And in other locations campers abandon their gear leaving the forest a mess.

Poor leave no trace ethics - Abandoned campsite along Fire road 511 off of the Kancamagus Highway (route 112) in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Abandoned Campsite – Everything Left Behind
 

For future conservation to be successful in the New Hampshire White Mountains, human impact has to be controlled. A little common sense and low impact camping practices will benefit the White Mountains. Yes, backcountry camping impact has been an ongoing problem, but it is getting much worse.

Abandoned campsite along a tributary of the Wild Ammonoosuc River, on the side of Mt. Blue, in Kinsman Notch of the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Abandoned Campsite – Mount Blue, Kinsman Notch
 

Do we blame the camping impact in the backcountry on government cuts? Could the lack of roaming rangers be the reason why heavy camping impact is increasing in the New Hampshire White Mountains? There was a time when you would see rangers roaming the wilderness designated areas, but they seem almost non-existent now. I think it is a combination of more campers in the White Mountains, government cuts, and the lack of roaming rangers. Campers can help with this issue by cleaning up when they leave their campsite.

A few links on backcountry camping:
Backcountry camping regulations
Dispersed Camping in the White Mountain National Forest

Happy image making..


 

All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more images of camping impact here.

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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