The ideal is to walk into an area, see it as it is, encamp for a period of time, Be as lightly on the land as possible, and when you pack up and leave the area, you look back and it looks as close to natural as is possible...the term "encamp or encampment' is used to denote an "assembly for expression" is "substantively" different (a reference to First Amendment activity) than one of merely camping - similar to a pew in a church and/or a seat at a political convention. Note: walking into an area is a way to re-assemble, remember, connect with an ancient relationship of people and natural Earth.
First, get to know the place.. identify areas or lifeforms that need protection or pose dangers... think about where, how to encamp with the least impact:
Walk into an area, look around, see, hear, feel for what is already there: ...Like, where are the trees, bushes, small plants, flowers, water,..?
Do you hear any birds, see any nests, how about holes in the ground that maybe groundhog or snake holes, homes for small animals etc.. Do you see archeological artifacts (pre-1935)? or any historical structures that need to be preserved and protected? ...(encamp elsewhere).
Look completely all around, check for human neighbors... walk the area in every direction for a short ways.. see if a shitter is nearby, or a water source.
Having looked around, select an encamping site... for tent, tipi or temporary structure, take into consideration the idea of doing the least destruction of an area as possible.
Finding an area, if you are spiritually inclined, I suggest offering a prayer, each in their own way, for whatever life is taken, accidently or on purpose, including any plants or bushes you must cut or remove, in order for you to successfully set-up your area for living.
For the secular, I suggest a simple thank you, for the other life you may interrupt or destroy during the process of setting up your living area.
For those who do not understand this 'giving thanks' concept; it works out as a simple action of respect, respect for all other aspects of life, and self-respect, because 'giving respect' to life, nature, some spiritual belief, or other humans, engenders a measure of 'giving respect' to yourself.
There are many things to learn about encamping with many other people.
...in other words clean-up daily. Once someone has come to the last few days of encamping in an area... the process of clean-up, restoration and recovery intensifies...once an area is "naturalized - natural eyes" one of the last tasks is the scattering of the seeds.
Beginning with a generalized clean-up of the area where your encampment is located as well as the nearby area, including around local shitters, water sources, or other installations set-up for use of assemblees. Pickup all trash! - don't forget the little stuff like cigarette filters, candy wrappers, etc... (compost orange peels).
Next, sort re-cycling at campsite, recover all re-cyclable materials: Aluminum with aluminum, tin with tin, steel with steel, glass with glass (brown with brown, green with green, clear with clear etc.), plastics (pop bottles, milk jugs, misc.), other materials - check with regional recycling centers for full list.
Burnable materials - paper, cardboard, unpainted lumber, and other burnable materials are burned for preparation of food, wood ash (nature lime) to place - cold - in shitters, compost pits... this helps to break down compost, also acts to de-contaminate waste.
Also, wood or lumber, without nails or paint, is useful to throw in on top of compost pits and shitters, which are then covered over with dirt on top,... This makes a barrier to help keep animals from digging up the compost and shitters. Also, at the last, when compost pits are full - within foot to top of hole, iff'n folks will shit and piss in the compost pits, then throw lumber and wood, or rocks if possible, on top of compost, etc.,... then cover the entire pit with dirt, to ground level... then scatter branches, leaves etc... to further disappear... few animals dig up shitters; however, bugs, insects, worms, love shitters and love compost.
Next, all the trash and recycling has to be hauled out, in successive trips if necessary, to your transportation... suggestion: haul some fully re-cycled trash with every load-out of your other gear. Also, during the event, when one or more of your group, heads 'out', encourage each person to haul some fully re-cycled trash out with them...this makes the task, when you are actually pulling up stakes and "booking", much easier, because you have kept up right along during the event.
First, your oven... break up the rock and mud.. iff'n you have used a barrel, remove barrel "out"...dig beneath where oven located and dig in dirt, check for root fires, or any signs of burning..make sure ground around and beneath oven is dead-out.
Scatter rocks and mud...blackened rocks roll so blackened side is down to ground... cover with dirt, slightly and/or branches, leaves..scatter tocks in all directions and/or replace iffn you removed these rocks from a specific centered area...scatter if you found scattered, replace some place, iffn you found rocks in some place...knock down oven to ground level...remove all significant traces of oven... throw dirt, branches, leaves over area where oven has been.
Now that you are leaving, you want to burn all your burnables.. then cool-down all wood ash... remove when cold, and dump in shitter or compost pit...
If you have built a shelter, of dead wood and twine etc.. remove all twine and/or nails (etc) from wood, if possible... if nailed and unable to remove.. cut off end with nail in it, burn wood-end in fire, collect nails and re-cycle...
Knock down shelter... scatter branches or wood used for construction... lay on any bare areas.. then cover with smaller branches, and cover then with leaves and duff... if poles have been worked or cut, turn so cut part is towards the ground or disappeared in brush...
Next, the fireplace, and/or campfire area is dealt with in a similar way. When you built this fireplace, campfire and/or ovens, you dug out a large hole, at least a foot beyond where your constructed fireplace stops... and at least a couple feet deep, removed all roots, duff, and burnable materials, lined hole with rocks all along in bottom of hole, then constructed from rocks, dirt and/or mud... a suitable campfire or fireplace..where you can cook or get warm or both...with suitable draft..
Next, move all the stones in bottom of hole and check beneath the stones, in and all around your pit, or fireplace hole... Check to make sure no burning roots, or any other material is still burning or too hot to touch.. When everything is cool, dissappear the hole/pit/rocks... fill in and cover to ground level with dirt... then cover over with scattered branches and leaves.. so the area where your fireplace was, is now 'naturalized'...When scattering rocks from campfire or fireplace.. make sure they are turned over so burned side is down toward ground...
Any holes you have dug should be filled and disappeared... rocks scattered or buried... then throw small branches on top and gather duff, leaves, etc., from nearby woods and throw this down on top of any barren areas.
The reason for this is two-fold.. first, duff and leaves hold moisture and acts as protection for insects or ants to move into the area in search of food.. also shade for insects, spiders etc...and any shade cools the ground.. worms tend to move to cooler areas, with shade... also the moisture helps vegetation recover... roots are often healthy, waiting just below the surface even when it looks hard and dry, ...moist duff helps soften the suface and rejuvenates latent roots of groundcover plants....
And secondarily, when folks come through to scatter seeds.. any ground cover helps the seeds remain behind, so they are not blown in the wind.. and the small branches, and leaves act as protection for the seeds.. moisture gathers in shady areas.. and seeds remain behind branches etc.. where wind then blows dirt etc.. and this dirt, moisture etc.. is trapped next to the branches and leaves.. so the seeds are protected and tend to sprout more easily...
Any cut branches and poles should be disappeared... try to throw cut branches deeper in the woods... or arrange so cut ends are hidden in brush...or for the dedicated, make a little mud, place on open wounds or cuts on trees - this helps protect the injured area and/or makes cuts look old, so the next person who visits the area sees little impact and any visible impact seems like it was already there, for a long time... other inspired techniques are used, this is basic restoration.
Breaking up the ground. Heavily impacted areas such as camps, kitchens, main trails, info sites, etc, are helped if the compacted surface soil is broken up somewhat... and/or breaking up nearby trails is an essential thing to do.. helps the seeding, helps little places to form where moisture and other dirt falls into the tiny holes... breaking only needs to be an inch or two.. just enuf to break the surface... also break up the surface of trails, where hard pack happens when people walk.. and break up hard-pack area around the encampment..
Water barring.. is needed for trails on steep or gentle slopes or hills ... these need to be placed every 8 to 12 feet apart... the steeper, the closer.... cut a diagonal slice (usually with pick or pulaski), an inch or two deep, sometime four inches deep, with the diagonal running in the direction of the slope... so that water coming down the trail will sluice off to the right or left of the trail, rather than continuing in a straight line down the trail... this prevents erosion.... With water bars every so often on any trails, with branches laid on the downside of the diagonal cut, with a little dirt burm to keep the branch in place (and/or stakes).. so you have many little dams that catch runoff water and sluice it off to the side of the trail before gullies can form... Any branches, leaves, rocks, etc that one can dump on the trail, or any hard-pack areas is a very good thing to do.... all of this helps slow down potential run-off.
Slash trails and cleared areas. Throwing down large limbs, branches or rocks into a trail helps to break up the trail so animals, cows, deer, elk etc.. will not walk on such a trail... cows particularily do not like to walk over ground broken up by branches and objects in their way.. they will return to their original trails, where the going is easy. Wild animals will walk their own selected trails. Also, if duff and dead leaves are thrown on trails, this helps retain moisture so grasses and other vegetation will recover ... it also helps disappear the trail visually, ...the trail unscene is less likely to be retravelled... If at all possible, if time permits and there is available enough energy.. it is good to completely branch and duff all trails...this will naturalize it even more... and humans will not walk on these trails... Areas that have been cleared for camps and living scenes should also be scattered with branches and duff... as with trails, this helps the ground retain moisture, keeps the big mammals from treading there, and 'disappears' the visual impact....
Roads. Knocking out a road requires bigger limbs... a lot of bigger limbs..plus many smaller branches.. other people traveling into the area usually will not get out of their rigs and clear an area.. if they can drive around a few large limbs, they will do so, but if there is many smaller branches, which might get caught under their wheels and/or scratch the paint etc.. they will not drive on such a road.. if available throw rocks etc.. many things.. the more obstacles the better.. particularily on a road.. because either the people will find another place to drive and/or they will avoid going down that road.. either way.. with a road's hard-pack broken up.. branches, limbs... logs..leaves/duff and seed.. few people, if any, will drive on such a road....
First frost of fall will break up anything else that has not already been broken up...
When you walk away from your encamp site... :
~ shitters have been closed and disappeared, the area naturalized...
~ composts pits have been closed and disappeared, the area naturalized
~ camping spots, including any constructions, are taken down, broken up, disappeared and the area naturalized with branches, leaves, etc.. if you are also the person doing the scattering of the seeds then you will seed as you leave...
~ ovens and fireplaces are all dismantled and disappeared... burned rocks are concealed or turned over... the impact area is disappeared with scattered branches, leaves, duff, etc..
~ All hard-packed areas, trails, shitters, firesites etc. are broken up, covered with leaves/duff etc, scattered with large and small branches.. water bars have been put in along hill trails...
~ Any and all trash has been re-cycled... sorted and hauled away.. (not a filter left on site! -- filters fibers injure birds)
Give thanks and praise, ask for blessing and healing: And at the last, when you walk away;
...for spiritual people... give thanks and praise for such a place to be, and offer a blessing on the place for healing...
...For the secular... look at the spot where you encamped, give thanks for such a spot to be, and/or give thanks to yourself for respecting nature enuf to clean-up and restore.
...And for those who don't understand, it is always better to clean-up after your self, not leave a mess, on public lands, and anywhere else you encamp.
If done correctly and humans leave an area naturalized, humanity will be better off for it...
how to make a natural sitter-shitter!