Alice Neal, White Tank Mountains Conservancy
Feet, regardless of size, were made for enjoying walking, hiking and biking in our parks, mountains, forests and other public lands.
But just as feet can sustain blisters and injuries as we use them to take us where we want to go, those same feet can inflict damage on the surfaces we choose to walk on.
Hikers and bikers enjoying the mystery and magic of the desert often don’t realize that when they move off trail, they may be damaging biological crusts that have taken decades to form.
These crusts, composed of blue-green algae, lichens and mosses, are formed by nature for a purpose. These cryptobiotic crusts are there to help retain soil moisture during dry spells, to slow evaporation rates and to propagate new seeds. According to the National Park Service, “These living crusts are extremely fragile and one footprint can set back development for decades.” (https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/nature/bio-soil.htm)
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles) are the guidelines that all good stewards of our public lands can live by. Watch Roland, a Leave No Trace© traveling trainer, explain the importance of “Don’t Bust the Crust,” a short video on Principle 2, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. (https://vimeo.com/105509878)
The White Tank Mountains Conservancy shares a passion for the outdoors and a commitment to ensure that our natural and cultural resources as we know them today are still around to support recreation and well-being for future generations.
If you want to be a part of West Valley conservation efforts, check us out at WTMConservancy.org!