Tracks are corridors for pathogen and weed invasion. The proliferation of tracks leads to fragmentation of ecosystems. If there is a trail through an area, use it rather than creating a new one. Follow tracks through their rough and muddy sections, rather than widening the path. Avoid walking on the trail edges or creating a new path around a problem. Do not cut corners, particularly on zig-zag sections in steep country, as this increases erosion and visual scarring. Do not collect flora or fauna—it increases impact, and is illegal in virtually all conservation parks. Make sure you and your boots are not carriers of weeds or disease. Wash your boots to remove soil, particularly if you have been into an area affected by soil-borne diseases such as phytopthera cinnamonii. In open and untracked country, spread out and disperse the impact. Plants are more likely to survive being walked on by individuals rather than whole parties. Stay on rocks and hard ground wherever possible and avoid sensitive vegetation and bogs that are easily destroyed by trampling. Do not mark trails, blaze trees or build cairns. These only concentrate the passage of later groups and leads to the rapid development of new tracks. Match your footwear to the terrain, and use lightweight boots or runners where conditions are less demanding. If at all possible, avoid particularly sensitive, vulnerable areas such as:
- Sand dunes and dune vegetation.
- Pockets of vegetation in otherwise rocky areas.
- Sphagnum and other bogs.
- Soils and vegetation near waterholes and springs.
- Ground nesting sites or colonies and nesting sites on rock or cliff faces.
- Beach-nesting birds (usually on open sand between high-water level and vegetated areas) are very vulnerable, and the hooded plover, fairy tern and little tern all have recovery programs underway.
- Bluffs and rock faces may be nesting sites for peregrine falcons and other birds easily disturbed by climbers.