“Like all parents,” Mono County Tourism tells us, “Mother Nature Loves good manners! Everyone knows the Golden Rule “Take only photos; leave only footprints” but here are a few other Mountain Manners etiquette tips to help protect the Eastern Sierra (and for that matter, all wild places):
MANNER #1: Follow the Beaten Path Straying from designated paths can cause harmful erosion, and damage fragile plants, so we ask you to take the road most traveled. (with apologies to Robert Frost).
MANNER #2: Scoop the Poop Your #2 is becoming our #1 issue. If it’s your pet’s, please bag it and take it out to a trash can! If it’s your own, bury it in a cat-hole at least 6-8 inches deep or better yet, pack it out.
MANNER #3: Gather up Garbage Even if it’s not yours, please pack out litter! Nothing makes Mother Nature happier. Remember, food scraps are litter, too. Even if food is considered “biodegradable,” no one wants to see your orange peels lying around – and human food is unhealthy for wildlife.
MANNER #4: Don’t Feed The Bears Or deer, birds, chipmunks, etc. Please keep yourself – and your food – out of the reach of wildlife. Store all food in bear boxes or bear-proof containers, NOT in your vehicle.
MANNER #5: Remove Fishing Line and Hooks Fishing hooks and tangled line are dangerous to wild animals, birds, fish, pets and kids. Please remove this litter from water and shoreline and pack it out.
MANNER #6: Keep Invasive Species Out Take all steps to keep invasive species from spreading and destroying out lakes, streams, rivers and meadows.
MANNER #7: Don’t Pick The Flowers! It’s no easy task to blossom and survive in challenging alpine conditions – wildflowers work hard to grow! Please don’t disturb or remove plants, rocks or artifacts. Their home is right where you found them. Always stay on trail and never destroy or walk on vegetation.
MANNER #8: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts Keep wild places wild and don’t geo-tag your Instagram Photo! Special places can be destroyed by Insta-fame. Remember that people may want to get the same photo as you – be sure your pics are taken from a safe place and do not show a dangerous activity or one that could disturb wildlife or fragile landscapes. Selfie accidents are a thing – watch your footing!
Mountain Manners was provided to us by Mono County Tourism. We would add:
To Manner #2, TP should always be carried out, never buried.
To Manner #3, taking garbage with you is important not just in the backcountry, but the front country, as well. Never leave bagged trash beside a trash can, as wild animals will soon spread it throughout the neighborhood, creating an unsightly mess and resentment among locals toward visitors to their area.
To Manner #4, feeding wild animals, on purpose or inadvertently, teaches them to see people as food sources, which can lead to the animals being euthanized.
To Manner #6: Clean the soles of footwear before heading back to the wild. This lessens the transfer of invasive seeds or diseases. Clean, drain and dry boats fully before launching elsewhere.