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Old 04-01-2010, 01:01 PM
David_Senesac David_Senesac is offline
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Default ethics in wildflower field hiking

This board is still as sleepy as the last time I visited a few years ago. I hope to see this change. What brings me here now is that I would like to hear some comments on what some of you would consider ethical when hiking in areas wiith wildflowers. Although some will preach simplistic ethics in a one shoe fits all mentality, my own sense of ethics doing so sees many different environments and situations each of which ought to be intelligently considered before walking into and impacting each area.

There are places such as many of our desert areas where one can hike into areas of wildflowers where density of plants is low enough that it is easy to avoid stepping on plants while there are other areas like say the Antelope Valley goldfield and poppy areas where flowers grow so densely that every square inch is covered in flowers over vast areas. And there are some places where one may hike for distances without stepping on plants but in the period of hours not always be so perfect in tread. To simply state walking on plants is unacceptable would imply one cannot even enter such areas.

There are annuals that grow where ever seeds end up and perrenials as live-for-ever that stake ought niche environments. One stepping on the former may crush the life individual plants that are here today and will end life in a few weeks once summer heat arrives. Seeds from adjacent plants will likely filll all available soil locations including the ones a person steps on. And one stepping on the latter will not only kill the plant but eliminate it from existing at that location.

There are private lands the public has no right to enter unless given permision and there are public areas with various levels of public access. There are public places for viewing wildflowers in our parks with paved roads and trails, sometimes fenced and signed warning against traveling off routes like say at Point Lobos. And there are many remote open areas where one may be the only person to look upon at landscape in many years if ever as at some BLM and NF areas. There are areas with species in limited numbers some in just a few patches. And there are areas where some species cover areas in vast numbers. Some species are robust and able to take considerable abuse by the feet of animals as deer or people while others are likely to be crushed to death by a single errant step. There are more categories of course as nature has an enormous amount of variation on our planet.

Some visitors to wildflower areas may only have lived in areas where wildflower areas are few and each one precious natural gardens for local communities. In other places people may have abundant wildflowers in a wide range of environments like we have here in California. Some people may come from fragile alpine environments where each square foot of surface contains a complex community of plants and life that has taken decades to centuries to form and where a single errant step can destroy it all. Even in locations as here in California, some only visit wildflower areas by viewing such through car windows or at roadside scenic stops, while others hike along trails, and others venture into publicly open often lightly used areas. Each person brings personal experiences framing their own personal ethics into what is and is not appropriate however they ought to consider that per above there are a wide range of situations and one shoe does not fit all.

David Senesac

Last edited by David_Senesac; 04-01-2010 at 01:14 PM.
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