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Get Your Wild Card

Be one with the wild.

Many more people are answering the call of the wild and we couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, more people can mean more garbage, more trail damage and more stress on wildlife.

With the support of  the Calgary Foundation, AWA launched the Wild Card program – the basics everyone needs to know to protect the wild. To belong in our wild spaces, learn and follow the 7 principles of Leave No Trace.

1) PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass and eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

More details and information

2) TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 70 meters from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
  • In popular areas:
    • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
    • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
    • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
  • In pristine areas:
    • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
    • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

More details and information

3) DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 15 to 20 centimeters deep at least 70 meters from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 70 meters away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

More details and information

4) LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND

  • 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.

More details and information

5) MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

More details and information

6) RESPECT WILDLIFE

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviours, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

More details and information

7) BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises

More details and information

Follow these principles and you’re ready for your wild life.

More places to build your wild skills.

There are a number of excellent websites brimming with everything you need to be one with the wild.

Leave No Trace Stay Safe in the Wild Bear Awareness
Defending Alberta’s Wilderness Campfire Safety Gear Up the Kids
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