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You're in a great position to help conserve Nepal's unique heritage. Here's how to "tread lightly" in this fragile area and make your visit a positively memorable one for all.

Be self-sufficient in your fuel supply and provide for the needs of your support staff. You can purchase kerosene and rent stoves at Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary.

Give preference to lodges and trekking companies that use kerosene and encourage their efforts to consere the environment.

Don't use scarce local firewood for heating purposes when putting on another sweater would suffice.

Campfires and hot showers are truly a luxury, especially when local villagers are only using twigs and dried cattle dung for their personal needs. In view of the present fuelwood crisis, please use these services sparingly.

Coordinate menus and mealtimes with other trekkers so that cooking fires can best be utilized.

Use washing and toilet facilities provided or, if none are available, make sure you are at least 30meters from any water source. Bury excreta and toilet paper and use biodegradable toiletries.

Limit your use of non-biodegradable items and dispose of all trash properly: burn, bury or pack it out.

This region has many of Nepal's rare and endangered plants and animals. Please do not damage,disturb or remove any of them. Stay on trails and camp in designated areas, especially at high altitudes where the envionment is extremely fragile.

Respect religious shrines and artifacts.

Begging is a negative interaction discouraging independence and pride in the local youth. Please don't give money, sweets or other things to begging children.

Taking photographs is a privilege, not a right. Ask permission and respect people's desire not to be photographed.

Unless you are trained medical personnel and can provide followup care, do not give any medicines. Instead encourage the use of local health posts or other traditional facilities. Emphasize the importance of cleanliness.

Many times the cost that it takes to accommodate a trekker is more than the lodgeowner is making. Be sure and pay a fair price for goods and services provided by the villagers. Haggling over one or two rupees usually results in an unfair return and generates ill-feelings as well.

Lodgeowner committees in several villages have set up standard rates for bed and food charges. Please observe them.

Respect the customs and values of Nepali people in your dress and behaviour. Dress modestly, in line with local custom and avoid outward displays of physical affection.

When interacting with villagers, guides and porters, help dispel their misconceptions about the West's infinite wealth and leisure. Create a realistic picture of your country and encourage pride in their own culture.

Above all, remember that you are a representative of an outside culture and your impact lingers long after your return home. By assisting in these small ways you will help the land and people of Nepal enormously.

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