Ethics

The Wilderness Guides Council believes that wilderness has great healing and inspirational qualities. We embrace this vision by promoting the health of wilderness ecosystems and their spiritual values as places where modern rites of passage can take place. 

WE RECOGNIZE THAT EACH WILDERNESS AREA IS UNIQUE AND FRAGILE.

Rocks, waterways, plants, animals, and all other facets of an ecosystem have a long and complex relationship with its place. This conviction impels us to protect and preserve these places as we immerse ourselves in their stories, their beauty and mystery.

WE BELIEVE THAT RELATIONS BETWEEN HUMANS AND NATURE CAN BE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.

We introduce participants in our groups to the healing, aesthetic, and spiritual qualities of the natural world. In turn, we move with care and mindfulness in the places we visit, learning from the plant, animal and mineral beings we discover, while leaving them undisturbed. To the best of our ability, we restore the land we have spent time on.

WE FOLLOW THE ACCEPTED PRACTICES OF LEAVE-NO-TRACE-CAMPING.

Because we respect the inviolability of each complex ecosystem, as well as the rights of other humans to enjoy these places, we follow the accepted practices of Leave-No-Trace camping, as they have been defined for each bioregion.

WE ABIDE BY THE REGULATIONS OF LAND STEWARDS AND MANAGERS.

We familiarize ourselves with and abide by the regulations of land stewards and managers in specific areas, in regards to: building fires, stream and spring setbacks, elimination of waste, disposal of garbage and trash, making trails, vehicle use, protection of wildlife, care of historical and sacred sites, restoration of campsites, and other regulations.  

WE DISMANTLE ANY CEREMONIAL MARKINGS WE MADE IN THE WILDERNESS.

As guides of spiritually-oriented activities, we instruct our participants to dismantle any ceremonial modifications they may have made to the wilderness to restore and maintain the land in its original condition. In particular, this includes prayer ties, stone piles, rock circles, altars, and other temporary human-made disturbances of the land.

WE PLEDGE COOPERATION WITH OTHER GUIDES AND ABSTAIN FROM OVERUSE OF ANY ONE AREA.

Acknowledging that no one owns the Earth, we realize that certain beautiful and sacred places may be sought out by more than one group, and we handle such potential encounters with compassion. We allow ample time for a particular base camp to renew itself completely before taking another group there.

WE ARE COMMITTED TO UPHOLD ETHICAL RELATIONSHIPS ON ALL LEVELS.

We maintain an ethical relationship with our clients, with the land management agencies, owners and stewards of the lands we visit, and with one another. We honestly represent ourselves in the ways we market our programs.  Our intention is to work with the land managers and indigenous people to provide input and support them in their stewardship of the public and private lands where we take our groups.

WE INSTILL IN PARTICIPANTS BOTH A SPIRITUAL AND PRACTICAL REGARD FOR NATURE.

We educate our participants in the principles set forth in these Ethics Guidelines, and in the benefits of developing an ongoing personal relationship with the Earth.