In many wilderness areas of the Northeast and West, misuse and overuse of the outdoors by campers and backpackers have led to stringent official limitation on activities. Mandatory permit systems, regulations, quotas, curfews and reservation schemes have proliferated - even to the extent of complete closure of some parks and forests until Mother Nature can rejuvenate her mangled and littered homeland. The trend has upset the moguls of the booming backpacking and camping industry. Turned-off or turned-away outdoors people stop buying gear. One firm, the Quabaug Rubber Company, whose Vibram Brand soles are found on many a backpacker's feet, has just published a beautiful and informative 50-page booklet which it hopes will be part of the solution. Called Stepping into Wilderness, the booklet tells campers in no uncertain terms how to stop messing up the forest. First-time campers will find it an excellent reference manual, and experienced outdoorsmen will learn about controversial new wilderness management proposals such as "hardened" campsites where backpackers would be required to stay in lodges with meal service, toilets, and all the trimmings - not exactly the backpacker's dream of escaping urban madness.

Stepping into Wilderness. Send $1 to Quabaug Rubber Company, Box 276, NorthBrookfield, Mass. 01535.