What is Considered Backcountry?

Every area has those huge tracts of land that are left undeveloped, specifically to allow for those looking for places to hunt, fish, or just enjoy nature. While there is some population, it is sparse at best. These areas are the backcountry; the big spaces left to remind us of what nature can look like and allowing us to rejuvenate in the spirit of nature. These are areas that are constantly under attack by developers yet seem to remain relatively unscathed; they are a necessary part of who we are and without which we would be diminished as a species.

What Does Backcountry Mean?

For some it appears as if there are some specific details that define the “backcountry”; the reality is that any undeveloped rural area counts. While there is some population to be found, those who live out there usually only develop a fraction of their land, usually enough for subsistence farming, and ply the land for any additional foods, usually gained through hunting, trapping, and fishing. The area itself is usually devoid of any real development, with fences, dams, and the occasional outpost standing in for the only signs of civilization for miles around them.

It should be noted that there are no specific geologic or climactic details that define the backcountry of an area. The only features that matter are the undeveloped land, the limited population, and the limited number of man-made structures. A large section of deciduous forest, badlands of natural rock formations, and even large areas of tundra all qualify as “backcountry”; all of these feature large tracts of undeveloped land with very few people populating the area, very little development of the land in preference for the natural state, and few if any man-made structures cluttering the skyline.

Why is Backcountry Allowed?

People require some time in nature; despite our pretensions of civilization, even the most urbanized person loves to spend some time surrounded by nature, or at least the idea of nature. In that regard, we need to know that there are wild areas out there, places that we have yet to tame, and that can provide us with a chance to return to nature at any point. As humans, we need to know that there is some nature still out there that we can escape to, a tether to our wilder sides where we do not need to worry about civilization and its arbitrary rules.

While some of us are comfortable with just the idea of nature existing, some of us need to exult in it, returning to nature’s embrace every so often in order to rejuvenate our very souls. We need to actually experience nature. Some of us define who we are by our very conflict nature, by even the smallest victory of man over nature, and how we ultimately live with nature in the most basic of compromises. For all of those people, we need the backcountry as a place that we can go to and enjoy as our ancestors did.

When Technology Finds Nature

Of course, this does not prevent us from finding ways of combining our technology with nature; the backcountry is still considered “rural”, after all, and not completely wild. At the most basic level, this means that you can see boats and ATVs throughout the backcountry, following established trails to see where we can catch the biggest fish and jump the tallest hills. This lacing of nature with technology helps to define the backcountry as well, as the land may be tamed but it can still be wild; just go off a trail sometime.

Humans are also into homesteading, where they take small segments of land and develop them while leaving as much of the surrounding area alone as possible. Some people just want to live well off the grid and live as close to nature as possible. While they bring some technology with them, it is usually relatively rudimentary compared to some of the technology available, and that fits the needs of the homesteaders well; they want to live with nature while bringing in only the most basic of technologies. Thus, you may find generators and solar panels, but the concepts would be familiar to farmers a century ago, even if the materials may look strange.

Others may bring in technology as a way of safeguarding the area and determining what is really going on in the area. This is where you start seeing trail cameras popping up on various trees, drones flying over some areas, and outposts springing up. All of these are used to track the wildlife in the area in order to determine the base populations and then use those populations to determine how healthy the local area is. Outposts serve a number of extra duties, as they are the first to see potential problems like flooding and fires, as well as serving as places where those who are lost can find their way to and find succor.

But Are They Truly Wild?

The backcountry should not be seen as a totally wild area. As noted, steps have been taken to tame them somewhat, and they are considered “rural areas”, not “wild areas”. While there are plenty of animals in the area, and few are looking out for the welfare of the invading humans, the larger animals are rarely found in the areas and only in the proper seasons. These areas have been tamed, through the introduction of technology, homesteading, and even the outposts themselves. As such, they may be wild but there has been some taming.

Nonetheless, for those looking to reconnect with nature, the backcountry more than suffices. You should still prepare for the worst, and make sure that you have brought plenty of food as there are no ways to tell how much you will find in the area. Make sure that you are ready for anything as the backcountry is still plenty wild, and that makes it perfect for humans looking to remember their animal halves.

I hope this article on what is considered backcountry helped you.