Leave No Trace

As outdoor enthusiasts, we want to be able to connect to nature when we head outside, and doing so requires respecting natural habitats while visiting. To reduce negative impacts, we would like to suggest Leave No Trace Principles as well as promote ideas that improve our diverse experiences outdoors.

Have you heard of “Leave No Trace” or “LNT”? LNT refers to a set of guidelines to follow that allow humans to engage with nature in a safe way. In no way are we shaming folx who haven’t heard about these principles, we’re all learners here and our goal is to raise awareness. By leaving minimal-to-no-trace of our presence on a trail or in a park, we allow the wilderness in that place to continue their balanced existence so others can enjoy it too. We support LNT principles as a way to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources, not as a system to oppress or exclude others.

The 7 Principles by LNT.org

  1. Plan ahead and prepare: Know where you’re going, what the weather will be like, what to pack, what to wear, what trails are accessible, how long it will take, elevation levels, necessary amounts of food and water...etc

  2. Walk and camp on durable ground: Stay on designated trails and camping areas. Walking off designated paths harms the land and camping outside of designated areas increases dangerous encounters with wildlife. When you must leave the trails, try to leave the least amount of impact as possible.

  3. Dispose of waste properly: Whatever you bring with you into nature, take out with you too (“pack out what you pack in”). Leaving items and trash behind causes pollution that harms animals and the natural life cycle in the wilderness. We suggest traveling with a “GO anywhere toilet kit” AKA a Wag Bag when possible. If you don’t have a waste bag but must release bodily fluids and waste, you can dig a hole away from trails, water sources, and campsites, bury your waste and take your tissue with you (you can also place this in a trash bag for travel). Don’t forget your hand sanitizer! Please keep in mind that each wilderness site has its own set of guidelines for what is permitted.

  4. Leave what you found: Avoid creating new structures of any kind (with sticks or rocks), avoid breaking off tree pieces, or carving on trees. Leave flowers, leaves, and other natural objects alone. Nature Journal what you see instead!

5. Minimize campfire impacts: Stoves are the least impactful way to cook. If you must have a fire, use existing fire rings, keep it low, and put it out completely with water using these same techniques from Smokey Bear. Important note: only buy firewood where you plan to burn it

6. Respect wildlife: Move slowly and quietly. Always observe animals from a distance. Do not scare animals or force them to flee.