Wilderness ethics agrees from the establishment of a two-way relationship between the human and the living earth. We believe that Nature, in all its forms, is our wisest teacher, the mirror of the soul. Our attitude of reverence and appreciation for nature is the basis for these principles, which guide the programs we lead.
We recognize that each wilderness area is unique and fragile, and that the rocks, waterways, plants, animals and every other facet of an ecosystem has a long and complex relationship with its place. This conviction impels us to protect and preserve these places as we immerse ourselves in their beauty and mystery.
We believe that relations between humans and nature can be mutually beneficial. We introduce participants in our groups to the healing, aesthetic, and spiritual qualities of the natural world. In turn, we move with care and mindfulness in the places we visit, learning from the plant, animal and mineral beings we discover, while leaving them undisturbed. To the best of our ability, we restore the land we have spent time on.
We believe that our programs, which further an individual’s harmonious relationship with the Earth, are compatible with the multipurpose goals of public lands. We attain permission from the managers of the public and private lands where we take our groups, and we maintain communication with them to provide input, and support them in their stewardship of these sacred lands.
Because we respect the inviolability of each complex ecosystem, as well as the rights of other people to enjoy these places, we follow the accepted practices of Leave No Trace camping, as they have been defined for each bioregion.
We abide by the regulations of land managers in specific areas in regards to: building fires, stream and spring setbacks, elimination of waste, disposal of garbage and trash, making trails, vehicle use, protection of wildlife, care of historical sites, restoration of campsites, and other regulations.
As stewards of the earth, we pay particular attention to the impact on wilderness associated with ceremonial practices, such as prayer ties, buddies’ stone piles, dance circles, medicine wheels, purpose circles, altars, and other temporary disturbances of the land. We dismantle any modifications we’ve made and restore the land to its original condition.
We practice care for the land by allowing ample time for a particular base camp to renew itself completely before reuse.
We maintain an ethical relationship with our clients, with the land management agencies and owners of the lands we visit, and with one another: We honestly represent ourselves in the ways we market our programs.
Acknowledging that no one owns the Earth, we realize that more than one group may seek out certain beautiful and sacred places, and we handle such encounters or potential encounters with compassion.
We instill in participants both a spiritual and a practical regard for Nature. We educate them in the practices of traceless camping, in the principles set forth in this Ethics Statement, and in the benefits of developing an ongoing personal relationship with the Earth.
Taken from the Wilderness Guides Council Ethics Statement