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The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace9/1/2020

Leave No Trace is an environmental framework based on minimally impacting the outdoors, and better understanding how our actions affect the environment, plants, animals, and people.1 Following the ethics of Leave No Trace empowers us to make a positive impact on our environment, sustaining our wild spaces for future generations.

The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace2

  1. Planning Ahead and Preparing
  • Helps ensure your safety
  • Prepares you to Leave No Trace, minimizing damage to resources
  • Evaluate expected elements (conditions of being outdoors, including the weather, terrain, restrictions or regulations)
  1. Traveling and Camping on the Right Surfaces
  • Trail use is highly recommended when doing outdoor exploring
  • When exploring off-trail, ensure the land remains in a stable condition
  • Always camp on a durable surface and somewhere where there is low likelihood for wildlife disturbance
  • Durable surfaces include rock, sand, and gravel
  1. Disposing of Waste Properly
  • You have the responsibility to clean up recreational lands and outdoor spaces you visit, including picking up all of your trash
  • Trash that does not get disposed of it not only ugly, but can be deadly to the animals that live there
  • When washing yourself or dishes, wash at least 200 feet away from the water sources to ensure soap and other pollutants don’t get in it
  • Dirty dishwater should be strained before dumped out
  • Properly disposing of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water, avoid someone else finding it, and minimize the possibility of spreading disease (learn how to dispose of human waste properly)
  1. Leaving What You Find
  • Minimize alterations to the area by leaving it the way you found it
  • Don’t hammer nails, saw, or carve initials into live trees or plants
  • Take a photo of the beautiful flowers instead of picking them
  1. Minimizing Campfire Impacts
  • The use of a stove or fire pan vs. a campfire eliminates the use of fire wood and leaves no trace
  • If you have to build a campfire camp somewhere that has an abundance of wood or in an existing fire ring
  • Allow the wood to burn completely to ash and put out fires with water, not dirt as it ensures the fire is out
  • A campfire Leaves No Trace if there is no evidence of it ever being constructed
  1. Respecting Wildlife
  • Do not disturb wildlife or plants to get a better view
  • Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals
  • Don’t try to touch, feed, pick up, or get close to wild animals
  • Considerate visitors will observe wildlife from afar as you are in their home
  1. Being Considerate of Other Visitors
  • Maintain kindness and courtesy towards other human visitors, ensuring everyone enjoys their outdoor experience

Next time you’re hiking, biking, riding, walking, or camping, implement the principles of Leave No Trace, with the goal of protecting and preserving our wild spaces. For more information about Leave No Trace visit lnt.org.

References:

  1. https://www.nps.gov/articles/leave-no-trace-seven-principles.htm
  2. https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/

 



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