Leave no Trace
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel And Camp On Durable Surfaces
- Dispose Of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impact
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate Of Others
These are the seven principles behind Leave No Trace which all persons engaging in outdoor activities should follow to ensure that the wilderness remains wild and enjoyable for all who desire to visit.
Plan ahead and prepare
Know where you will be hiking carry spare layers in nice weather and dress in layers in the cold. A compass map or hiking app can get you out of potential trouble. Carry a light weight tent even if you plan on using a shelter they fill up quickly during high use times. Entering bear country? Carry a bear safe container whether rented or purchased. The advantages to you and the bears outweigh the bulkiness of most canisters. These are just a few examples but by being prepared for the back country you can save yourself hassle and a potentially ruined outing. By being ready for the unknown you are better equipped to cope with natures curve balls.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Keep to the center of a trail as much as possible, when hiking in muddy areas it’s wise to wear waterproof hikers and march through the middle of the muddy area to minimize soil erosion. Avoid going around mud as this quickly leads to a side path that others will continue to follow.
Do not cut switchbacks this leads to run off erosion and in many cases the switch back is less steep than it would be by trying a shortcut. Camp in approved areas use care when setting tents to not remove rocks from an area rather work around them. NO trenches around the tent and use care to set tents away from fragile vegetation, if you must stealth camp choose a durable area off the trail with limited ground cover to minimize your impact on the area.
Dispose of waste properly
This should go without saying but learn proper cat hole techniques dig six to eight inches deep use a stick to mix in a handful of dirt and stir before covering. Paper can be buried as well place on top of waste and cover thoroughly with dirt or fold up neatly bag and double bag for carryout purposes.
Food wrappers packaging and other trash should be condensed for carry out, pack it in pack it out. When finished eating or cooking utensils and cookware should be properly cleaned and tiny bits of food particles caught in a strainer for bagging and packing out.(important in bear country)
Leave what you find
Oh how beautiful but if you take it and others continue the same it won’t stay beautiful for long. When you must take something away from nature make it a photograph or a video leave the area undisturbed as you found it so others can enjoy it in its original form.
Minimize campfire impact
Only burn in approved fire pits or use minimal fire tactics like a small fire tray. Not only to keep the area pristine but also to prevent possible forest fires. By containing camp fires properly you give back to nature, no cutting live branches from trees for firewood more than enough dead stuff can be scavenged to sustain a small fire with zero impact to an area.
Don’t feed critters use care to not trample vegetation critters are very adaptable they can over time become dependent on hand outs which is not beneficial for the critters or the humans which visit later. The goal is enjoyment whether it’s an up close encounter or a distant sighting enjoy the encounter. Use care when around larger animals depending on the situation a chance meeting could go badly if the animal spooks or feels threatened.
Be considerate of others
Try to adhere to trail manners like no loud music, yielding the way to uphill hikers when you are descending and maintaining quiet this will help others to enjoy the outdoors and may make your experience more enjoyable.
That’s the seven principles behind the leave no trace philosophy put in place so that many can enjoy the wonders of earths natural beauty for years to come. Practices we should all try to follow so every ones experience is pleasant and pristine the way it should be.
When visiting the back country adhere to leave no trace practices as an ambassador of good will.