Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is built on seven core principles that are used to communicate the best available minimum impact guidance for enjoying the outdoors responsibly. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace were developed to help educate and guide recreationists in sustainable minimum impact practices that mitigate or avoid recreation-related impacts. These Principles are the most robust and widely utilized minimum impact outdoor practices. Although Leave No Trace has its roots in backcountry and wilderness, the practices have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere - from the backcountry, to local parks, to your backyard - and for any recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.

Courtesy of LNT.org
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare.
    • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
    • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
    • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
    • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
    • Repackage food to minimize waste.
    • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces.
    • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
    • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
    • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
    • Pack it in, pack it out.
    • Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods.
    • Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
    • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
    • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
    • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap.
    • Scatter strained dishwater.
  4. Leave what you find.
    • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
    • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
    • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
    • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts.
    • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
    • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
    • Keep fires small.
    • Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
    • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
  6. Respect wildlife.
    • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets at all times, or leave them at home. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors.
    • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
    • Be courteous.
    • Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
    • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
    • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

Visit LNT.org for more information and find out how you can make a difference.

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