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veronika
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 7:53 pm 
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Does it violate LNT?

Just curious.  confused.gif

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texasbb
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 8:10 pm 
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No.
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uww
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 9:41 pm 
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I'll also vote no to violating the principle.

It certainly is a trace, but a lot closer to a footprint than a bag of dog poo.
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melc
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 12:20 pm 
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Animals bushwack and make their own trails. And most don't burry or packout their output.
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joker
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 12:40 pm 
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See: travel and camp on durable surfaces (from LNT.org) where they have a section on off-trail travel:

Quote:
Travel Off-trail
All travel that does not utilize a designed trail such as travel to remote areas, searches for bathroom privacy, and explorations near and around campsites is defined as off-trail. Two primary factors increase how off-trail travel affects the land: durability of surfaces and vegetation, and frequency of travel (or group size).
Durability refers to the ability of surfaces or vegetation to withstand wear or remain in a stable condition.
Frequency of use and large group size increase the likelihood that a large area will be trampled, or that a small area will be trampled multiple times.
Surface Durability
The concept of durability is an important one for all backcountry travelers to understand. The natural surfaces described below respond differently to backcountry travel.
Rock, sand and gravel: These surfaces are highly durable and can tolerate repeated trampling and scuffing. (However, lichens that grow on rocks are vulnerable to repeated scuffing).

Ice and snow: The effect of travel across these surfaces is temporary, making them good choices for travel assuming good safety precautions are followed and the snow layer is of sufficient depth to prevent vegetation damage.
Vegetation: The resistance of vegetation to trampling varies. Careful decisions must be made when traveling across vegetation. Select areas of durable vegetation, or sparse vegetation that is easily avoided. Dry grasses tend to be resistant to trampling. Wet meadows and other fragile vegetation quickly show the effects of trampling. Trampling ensures new travelers to take the same route and leads to undesirable trail derailment. As a general rule, travelers who must venture off-trail should spread out to avoid creating paths that encourage others to follow. Avoid vegetation whenever possible, especially on steep slopes where the effects of off-trail travel are magnified.
Living soil: Sometimes referred to as ͞cryptobiotic crust,͟ or ͞crypto,͟ living soil is often found in desert environments, and is extremely vulnerable to foot traffic. Living soil consists of tiny communities of organisms that appear as a blackish and irregular raised crust upon the sand. This crust retains moisture in desert climates and provides a protective layer, preventing erosion. One footstep can destroy this fragile soil. It is important to use developed trails in these areas. Travel across living soil should only be done when absolutely necessary. Walk on rocks or other durable surfaces if you must travel off-trail. In broad areas of living soil where damage is unavoidable it is best to follow in one anotherís footsteps so the smallest area of crust is affected, exactly the opposite rule from travel through vegetation. Living soil is also extremely vulnerable to mountain bicycle travel.
Desert puddles and mud holes: Water is a preciously scarce resource for all living things in the desert. Donít walk through desert puddles, mud holes or disturb surface water in any way. Potholes are also home to tiny desert animals.

SO there's one relevant organization's take
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MtnGoat
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 1:00 pm 
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Of course it's a violation, since you cannot avoid leaving traces.

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mosey
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 12:24 am 
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MtnGoat wrote:
Of course it's a violation, since you cannot avoid leaving traces.

I believe it's still "leave nothing but footprints",but maybe it's been slowly changing like Smokey's motto
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 8:51 am 
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I love bushwhacks, a large percentage of my trips are off trail from the start and the rest all feature at least some cross country. But some impact beyond prints is inevitable, shifted rocks, shrubberies/branches broken, etc.

Leave minimal trace is  more realistic

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RandyHiker
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 1:03 pm 
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In my mind brushwacking in the Cascades typically involves trashing through brush at lower elevations where vegetation growth is so vigorous that the miners trails from the late 19th and early 20th century have been obliterated by fast growing brush.   Unless you are clearing a path with a saw -- I think this is NBFD.

Where LNT practices need to be attended to when traveling off trail is is near and above timberline where vegetation growth is less rapid and more easily damaged. 

In particular when travelling on meadows -- following existing trails -- even if this requires a longer route -- is preferred.   

E.G. Back in the '60s the meadows around Paradise were devolving into a dust a mud bowl because of all the "social trails" and short cutting.   Volunteers and NPS employees invested years of effort to harden and fence established trails, replant eroded areas.   Even today the NPS deploys numerous "meadow rovers" to patrol the trails around Paradise and Sunrise and  educate folks about the importance of staying on the established trails.    These tremendous efforts have worked and the meadows around Paradise and Sunrise again produce outstanding floral displays.
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rossb
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 6:53 pm 
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Good reference by Joker. In general, if you find a climber's trail (which means walking on dirt) go ahead and use it. If not, avoid making a new trail. This means spreading out if you are in a group, and walking on land that is the most durable. Snow is ideal, and rocks are second. At the other extreme is swamp land, where a footprint can sit there for years. Woody little plants like blueberries and heather don't bend, they break. Grasses are in the middle. When stepping on them (or flowers) walk like a martial artist -- gently roll your feet (don't stomp). Do your best, and try to stay on route. When you get off route and are in trouble, then you stop caring about the plants and just want to survive. Safety first.

As mentioned, the lower you are, the less you have to worry. This is especially true on the west side, where you could take a machete to a spot and it wouldn't be noticed in five years. In general it is the higher elevations that get the most thrashed (for example, Granite Mountain in the Cascades and Townsend Mountain in the Olympics). And those are trails.
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Pysht
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 7:38 pm 
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It depends on what you mean by "bushwacking" exactly and why you're doing it. For example, if you're doing it because of bad planning (e.g., didn't familiarize yourself with the area, don't have maps), or because you're running away from the forest fire you just started, or the bear you just harassed, then it violates LNT principles  biggrin.gif
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texasbb
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 8:09 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
...when travelling on meadows -- following existing trails -- even if this requires a longer route -- is preferred.

Usually an existing trail in an off-trail meadow is an animal trail, which means it's probably the most efficacious route anyway.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 8:14 pm 
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To me, if there isn't notable brush (ankle deep ground cover does not count), you ain't bushwhacking.  Tromping around in delicate alpine areas is something different.
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RandyHiker
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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 11:06 pm 
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texasbb wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
...when travelling on meadows -- following existing trails -- even if this requires a longer route -- is preferred.

Usually an existing trail in an off-trail meadow is an animal trail, which means it's probably the most efficacious route anyway.

Not necessarily -- humans often hike to places with a view -- e.g. the top of a mountain, something that is of no interest to deer and goats.
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Sky Hiker
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PostWed Jun 26, 2019 5:42 am 
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Goats will often go to places with a view, rock out cropping, etc. They are most vulnerable from above thus like to bed/feed in area's where the are less vulnerable
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