(April 24, 2020; Arizona USA) The Yukon 2020™ team is excited to have outlined their plan to Leave No Trace on their expedition. They are expected to have a plan in place to demonstrate their commitment to conducting a comprehensive and professional expedition with regards to the environment. In these times of COVID-19, this is more important than ever.
Leave No Trace means that participants leave only their foot prints; in other words, minimal impact. This international program consists of seven principles: plan ahead and prepare; camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly; take nothing; minimize campfire impact; respect wildlife; and be considerate of others. Art “Karts” Huseonica and Lauren “Lolo” Sherwood will remind each other to stay focused on the principles throughout their entire expedition.
This outline of Leave No Trace principles is part of the team’s planning and preparation process. Due to the length of the expedition in terms of time and distance, preparation is an all-consuming process. Leave No Trace is an important part of that process.
Considerable time will be allotted to finding suitable campsites each night that are durable for tents, cooking, and general camp life that will not leave a permanent reminder that they were there. This includes their fire pit areas. If they’re fortunate enough to find an old fire pit area, they will build their camp around that so as to avoid creating another fire pit area. Only drift wood will be burned; no trees will be cut down. If driftwood is not available, they will revert to using their small mountain stove.
Trash will be burned when feasible. Otherwise, it be packed up for proper disposal in villages if residents are agreeable to doing that. Having trash containers and room in their canoe is part of the planning and preparation step. Prior to the expedition’s start on June 4, Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will eliminate as much plastic from their supplies as possible. They will never use any single-use plastics. The team expects to find trash along their 2,020-mile/3,250km journey and will pick up as much as they can manage and properly dispose of, especially near their camp sites.
Human waste will be disposed of in cat holes, at least six inches deep and located 200 feet/60 meters from camp or water sources. Toilet paper will be burned in the cat hole. When this is not feasible, the team will be carrying a supply of blue bags to store solid waste in and properly dispose of where appropriate.
Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will take nothing from the environment such as archaeological or historical remains, rocks, or vegetation. They will not build cairns (small piles of rocks) as a reminder they’d passed through an area. Only their foot prints will be left behind.
Being respectful of wildlife means not feeding animals, killing them except for food as permitted and licensed, or harassing them in any way. The team will have to fish throughout their expedition in order to have sufficient food and get the protein necessary to keep them healthy and strong.
Meeting people on the river will be rare. When the opportunity presents itself, interacting with others will be a unique opportunity to learn about local residents and to share with them stories and information about the team’s expedition. Mr. Huseonica and Ms. Sherwood will avoid interactions if either one is feeling ill, or if they suspect others are sick. When they visit isolated river towns it will be impossible to avoid people. The team will carry a supply of face masks with them at all times.
At small, remote villages, the team will be an interesting distraction to residents, and most likely bring attention to themselves. The team will provide to the Canadian government their plan for interacting with First Nations peoples in the Yukon Territory. A similar plan will be provided to the US State Department for interactions with Alaska Natives. This plan will include how and when the team will contact village leaders prior to their arrival to discuss visitation and health protocols.
For more Yukon 2020™ expedition information, sponsorship opportunities, or to donate to the resupply costs, please visit the official Website.