MABRC Zero Trace Policy

It is the goal of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center to establish a Zero Trace policy for it's researchers while in the field. The goal of this policy is to leave the wilderness areas that MABRC Researchers go to in search of Bigfoot in as natural and pristine condition as it was when they entered the area.

As the term suggests, the goal is for researchers to have as little impact as possible on the location he/she is researching. One of the mottos for Zero Trace is "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints." It's simplest and most fundamental rule is: "You pack it in, you pack it out".

UnderstandA good way to protect the backcountry is to remember that while you are there, you are a visitor. When you visit a friend you are always careful to leave that person's home just as you found it. You would never think of dropping litter on the carpet, chopping down trees in the yard, putting soap in the drinking water, or marking your name on the living room wall. When you visit the backcountry, the same courtesies apply. Leave everything just as you found it.

Here is the recommended Zero Trace Procedures from the MABRC:

Plan ahead to avoid impact.
* Limit Group size (6 or fewer optimum, however in large expeditions, this number will increase)
* Repackage food to reduce containers
* Take along trash bags to carry out all refuse
* Carry a stove and use foods requiring little cooking.

Travel to avoid impact
* Never discard cigarette butts, candy or gum wrappers or any other litter.
* Walk softly. Don't kick up dirt and stones or trample vegetation.

Make Zero Trace Camps and Campsites
* Select a site invisible from the trail and any other camping parties.
* Camp at least 25 feet from natural water sources and away from "beauty spots".
* Avoid using existing campsites that are obviously over-camped.
* Never cut standing trees and vegetation or pull up plants.
* Never dig hip-holes or trenches.
* Wear lightweight, soft-soled shoes around camp.
* Avoid building campfires or make only small fires in safe places, if possible, dig small hole that can be covered up after the fire is out. Make sure to keep the sod so it can be placed back on the top. Drown campfire and erase all evidence of it.
* Never wash dirty dishes, clothes, or yourself directly in stream or spring.
* Use biodegradable soap and dispose of waste water at least 200 feet away from water supply.
* Bury human waste six inches deep at least 200 feet from water, trails and campsites, bury your used toilet paper or pack it out. Do not leave it on top of the ground.
* Stay as quiet as possible.
* Leave your pets at home.
* Pick up every trace of litter.
* Replace and scatter twigs and leaves cleared for a sleeping area.
* Pack out all garbage.
* Check for any evidence of your stay, it is your duty to leave zero trace.

Camp and Travel 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.

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. Always choose the most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow. 

These guidelines apply to most alpine settings and may be different for other areas, such as deserts. Learn the Zero Trace techniques for your crew's specific activity or destination. Check with land managers to be sure of the proper technique.

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.

Minimize Campfire Use

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 Zero Trace fires are small. Use dead and downed wood no larger than an adult's wrist. 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.

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. Help keep wildlife wild. 

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