Are you ready for a wilderness experience? - Be prepared! Perhaps the most important part of your wilderness trip will be the time spent at home planning, provisioning, and practicing. Know when hunting seasons are open. Stay and Play in GA!
The Wilderness is a primitive environment where you will be faced with the challenge of being entirely self-sufficient. There will be no shelters, campgrounds, drinking fountains, or restrooms. Only foot travel is permitted. Horses and pack stock are allowed only on selected trails. You will meet nature on its own terms away from the comforts of civilization. Before you enter the wilderness, ask yourself if you truly want a wilderness experience.
Path finding is an integral part of the wilderness experience. To ensure this opportunity, wilderness trails are kept primitive, rugged, and often steep with few to no signs or blazes. Routes may not be obvious in places. Know how to read a topographic map and use a compass. Wilderness travel is a skill that must be learned and practiced.
Plan your travel route carefully and leave your itinerary with someone at home, in case someone has to search for you. Come to the wilderness equipped with the necessary gear, knowledge, and survival skills to meet any condition of terrain, climate, or exertion. It could save your life. The wilderness offers a rewarding experience to those who go fully prepared.
Bear Proofing Your Campsite
The black bears are one of the natural inhabitants of the North Georgia Mountains. Bears tend to avoid humans but occasionally are seen on the trail or near a campsite. Bears become a problem because of the carelessness of people, especially regarding food. Please help prevent BEAR-HUMAN problems by following these precautions:
Never feed bears or leave food for them.
Keep tents and sleeping bags free of food odors; don’t store food in them.
Do not leave food in packs around camp overnight. Place food as well as trash in a pack, plastic bag, or some other type of bag and hang out of reach 10 feet above the ground and at least 4 feet away from the tree(s).
Consider cooking and eating away from tent/sleeping areas.
In order to help with the monitoring of bear movement please report any sighting or incident to one of our local offices.
Leave No Trace
In years past, we spoke of wilderness survival as the ability of people to survive the land. Now we speak of wilderness survival as the land’s capability of surviving humankind. The increasing use of our wildernesses, combined with improper travel and camping techniques, is creating major human impact problems. If we are to retain the high quality of our back country experiences and keep our wilderness truly wild, each of us must accept responsibility to minimize the impact of his or her visit. Practicing a “Leave No Trace” ethic is very simple: make it hard for others to see or hear you and “Leave No Trace” of your visit. With your help, the wilderness resource can be managed to ensure that its unique character and values remain intact.
Leave No Trace Principles - Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the back country. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises
General Equipment List to Consider When Planning a Trip to Any Wilderness
The following is a general list of the types of equipment recommended for backcountry travel. You will want to modify this list accordingly for the climate in which you will be traveling. For example, if you are traveling in cold, high-mountain country you will may want to pack additional cold-weather clothing or mountaineering gear. Additionally, if you plan hunt, fish, canoe etc. in wilderness, you will want to pack additional gear needed for such activities.
Tent Sleeping bag with stuff sack Backpack Clothing Hiking boots (broken in and waterproofed) Socks (wool and liner) Jacket/sweater Rain gear Hat and/or stocking cap
Shirts (long- and short-sleeve), pants, shorts (pack according to the climate you will be travelling in) Cook stove with extra fuel bottle Cook pans Waterproof matches or lighter
Bear canister (if travelling in bear country) Rope (long enough to hang food, if necessary)
Cup, bowl, spoon, fork, knife (sharpened) Water bottles or canteens Water filter or water treatment kit Garbage bags, ziplock-type bags (for packing out waste and repackaging food)
Sun glasses Mosquito repellent, chapstick, sun screen Toilet paper (in plastic bag with additional plastic bag for packing out used paper) Flashlight or headlamp (with extra batteries and bulb), candle lantern Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, personal medications etc.)
First-aid kit, emergency survival blanket Repair kits for your stove, tent, backpack, hiking boots etc. Camera, binoculars Maps, compass, field guide, guidebook