Seven Principles of Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is an international
program designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about
how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run,
bike, hunt, paddle, ride horses, fish, ski or climb. The program strives
to educate all those who enjoy the outdoors about the nature of their
recreational impacts as well as techniques to prevent and minimize such
impacts. Leave No Trace is best understood as an educational and ethical
program, not as a set of rules and regulations.
Leave No Trace information is
rooted in scientific studies and common sense. The information is framed
under the Seven Leave No Trace Principles.
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
- Use a map and compass to
eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable
- 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.
In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing
trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the
middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus
activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the
creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts
are just beginning.
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
- 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.
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.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting
impacts to the backcountry. 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.
- 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.
Be Considerate of Other
- 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