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Being Responsible During Your Backpacking Hike

Aug 18, 2007
Finding historic artifacts during your backpacking hike can be a fun and interesting addition to any backpacking trip. With trail backpacking, you can explore lesser-known areas that may have been used hundreds of years ago for survival.

Other backpacking trails you encounter might be ancient burial grounds or places of other historical significance. Depending on the region where you plan to enjoy your backpacking hike, you can find artifacts and other pieces of history that you can take pictures of to impress your friends.

Before you pick up that interesting arrowhead or piece of bone as a souvenir from your backpacking hike, take a moment to think about what you're doing. Your find could be a very important part of a much larger archeological discovery. Your trail backpacking could have led you to an ancient burial ground. Or, the piece might be nothing at all. Unless you're an archeologist, you have no way of knowing.

The best advice is to take a picture and leave the object where it is. By definition, the National Parks Service says that any object over fifty years old is considered an artifact. Removing that object from where you found it or from the park itself could cost you in many ways.

The Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGRA) has strict rules and regulations in place to protect Native American artifacts. People backpacking, hiking or riding along recreational trails are a threat to preserving artifacts and gravesites of ancient cultures.

While most people have good intentions, there are people out there who poach these sites for profit. If caught as a poacher, you could be faced with fines ranging from as little as $250 to a thousand dollars or more.

If you encounter an ancient artifact during your trail backpacking trip, leave it alone. Don't do anything to disturb the surroundings because the artifact's location may provide researchers with a great deal of information. Report your findings to the proper officials and take solace in the fact that you may have discovered something that nobody knew about before.

The next thing to do is put up a discreet marker some distance away from the find. You don't want to put a huge sign pointing towards the artifact that might draw less scrupulous people who may be looking for the same thing.

After you have taken note of the location, contact a park Ranger or someone in the local authorities and let them know what you found. They will contact the proper specialists to conduct the research and investigation of the area.

Proper guests leave a place the same way it was when they got there. This rule is no different when you go on a backpacking hike. The surrounding environment has a long history that you are only visiting. As such, do not mess anything up or move anything from its place.

You never know when you could encounter a precious artifact that will give researchers an entirely new perspective on the specific area.
About the Author
Learn to love the journey of backpacking hike from Mike Selvon's backpacking portal, and leave a comment at our backpacking blog.
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