Most campsites can recover completely from a limited amount of use. However, a threshold is eventually reached where the ability of vegetation to regenerate cannot keep pace with the amount of trampling it receives. Once this threshold is reached, continued use will cause the site to deteriorate rapidly. This will result in the development of an established campsite with discernible bare ground, or “barren core.”
Avoid lightly impacted trails and campsites to allow impacts to recover over time. Campsites and trails that show evidence of slight use, such as crushed or flattened vegetation, are best left alone to regenerate. If they receive no further use, lightly used campsites and trails below timberline may revert back to their natural state. With care, all wildlands will eventually contain only the minimum number of essential campsites and trails.