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Geothermal Biology and Geochemistry in YNP [TBI Text!], 2005      What is Minimum Impact Research?
John R. Spear
Geothermal Biology and Geochemistry in YNP [TBI Text!], 2005

For 40 years outdoor education has taught recreational wilderness users the philosophies of "minimum impact" and "leave no trace." While these techniques have become widespread among hikers and campers in our nation’s fields and forests, it’s not clear if others in those ecosystems are as knowledgeable about such philosophies. Visible impacts such as social and secondary trails, waste, and discarded equipment are impacting our national parks and other research locations. This chapter encourages research scientists and their entourages to think about their impacts on the places they do research, by learning about, and adhering to, the seven principles of Leave No Trace—a program managed by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, in Boulder, CO—as well as an eighth principle that I’ve added. Many field researchers work diligently to complete their research in a positive, low-impact, high-yield way, but we can, we MUST, do better. If we fulfill this mission, the environment will benefit and will yield greater knowledge to us by continuing to exist.

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