Had the opportunity for a scenic hike recently. The trail was near an aboriginal sacred site. The trail head had a sign that reminded hikers that Eagle’s Nest is an Algonquin sacred site. To preserve the integrity of the area and the environment hikers were asked to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
Hiking in the early spring means seeing many early spring flowers. They are visible because the undergrowth has not filled in the way it does later in the summer. What was also visible was garbage along the trail. By the time I had covered the 1.5 km I had collected three dollars worth of empty beverage container.
When the cans and bottles were tossed into the bush they might have been out of sight. But early spring, after the snow has melted all is revealed.
The short hike included an interesting side excursion. Some one or more likely several people over the years had decided to leave their mark. Out in the tundra these could have been life-saving direction markers. Here it was interesting to see the different creations made by earlier hikers.
The summit was truly worth the hike. At only 1.5 km I would have gladly hiked 15 km given the view that met our eyes. Not a cell tower on the horizon. Not a single hydro tower. No guard rails. No reminder signs to stay back from the edge. No motorized noises. Simply the wind sighing through the trees.
On a warm day one could sit here and enjoy the sounds of nature and the panoramic view for hours.
The hike back was downhill and went very quickly. We were back at the car before we realized it.
Unfortunately the dog walkers seem to not understand what it means to …leave just foot prints. They could have taken their dog off the trail a few paces and buried the business when their pet had relieved themselves. It’s possible that many dog owners were doing that. There was clear evidence that there are plenty of dog walkers that thought ‘poop ‘n scoop’ was the responsible way to conduct themselves. That would be fine except for the fact that their trail etiquette left something to be desire.
Actually they left something others did not desire. All I could think of is, “Your mother is not here to pick up after you.” Not sure who they thought would clean up.
I don’t think extra signage would have made a difference. City parks have a clean up crew, the wilderness does not.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
Eagle’s Nest Sacred Site signage:
In HONOUR of ALL People, past, present and future, and ALL that Exists: please see that Eagle’s Nest Sacred Site remains forever a True Place of PEACE. Thank you! Miigwetch!
The sign at the Sacred Site gives some explicit instructions:
PLEASE: Listen to your HEART and RESPECT the NATURE of this site. No garbage or bottles – All you bring in, please bring out. Signed: Tchi Miigwetch Kichi Manitou, Mother Earth and ALL Relations Everywhere.
It’s not just wilderness areas. All land should be regarded as sacred. All land should be used in a manner that promotes peace and friendship.
We need to treat all land as sacred ground. How would that change the way we use the land? Finding beneficial uses without exploiting the land. Caring for it so it will benefit future generations. Using land in a way the promotes peace and harmony.
What do you do with the land you live on? How do you use the land to affirm that it is sacred land?